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Thursday, November 10, 2016


Ruins of Machu Picchu, the symbol of the vast Inca Empire that flourished until New World invaders conquered them in 1533.
For the Inca, drinking Chicha, their golden corn beer, was a reflection of the heavenly order.  The supreme leader of all the Inca, Sapa Inca, descended from the Sun God and drank chichi from a solid gold kero (a very expensive chalice).

To keep order in the Inca universe, Coya, the queen of the Inca, descended from the moon and therefore sipped from a kero made of silver.

Other more earthly, Inca drank from beautifully carved wood keros that were inlayed with colored lacquer.

The powerful Inca came to control the largest empire in the Ancient Americas.  Today many Inca roads and cities still exist.  Sadly, their success was shortlived.  Euro Conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured Atahualpa, the last Inca ruler, and after receiving eight tons of gold in ransom, the invaders had him strangled in 1533.

Perhaps, had things turned out less brutal, we’d all be drinking Chicha.

Incans drank Chicha, a maize based
beer in a Kero, a cup carved from
wood or in the case of King Atahualpa
from solid gold.
To learn more about the roots of beer in the ancient world, San Diego Museum of Man’s current “Beerology” exhibit offers other intriguing beer centric stories, including ancient artifacts that reveal the links between beer and culture, such as the aforementioned solid gold beer cup of an Inca king.

Craft beer has roots.  It reflects the foundations of civilization.

“Beerology,” The Exhibit is linked with occasional live beer pairings at the venerable Balboa Park museum (under the California Tower).   For info and beer tasting dates check in at

“Beerology” at the San Diego Museum of Man closes in February, 2017.

How to brew Chicha at home:

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