beer as an alcoholic beverage has no place in this Companion, but it does have three claims for inclusion. One is that the early history of brewing is closely bound up with that of bread-making, as both were early and obvious ways of using cereals. A second is that beer is an ingredient in certain dishes. And a third is that the caloric value of beer should always be taken into account when assessing the nutritional value of past or present diets.
It was in ancient Egypt and the Near East that the beer and bread connection was apparent from early times. But the same connection is found at later times elsewhere, for example in N. Europe. The essential fact, of course, is that beer provided the ale-barm or yeast that was used to raise many loaves.