In the beginning, there was nothing. Then, somewhere between the fourth and fifth millennia BCE, people began fermenting barley to create what would become the world’s oldest beer: alcoholic concoctions with prehistoric origins.

Today, as global awareness of craft beer brands continues to rise, more and more craft beer makers around the world are turning to their historical roots to develop recipes with a distinctly traditional flavor. One of those brewers is Los Angeles’ Craftsman Brewing Company and their modern-day adaptation of the world’s oldest beer: cocid.

What is Cocid?

Cocid is an ancient beer made of malted barley and other grains, fermented with wild yeasts and then enhanced with various herbs, spices, and fruits. It is one of the oldest beer styles in the world and is thought to be the same beer consumed by ancient civilizations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Today, modern craft brewers like Craftsman Brewing Company are bringing this ancient beer back to life. Craftsman Brewing Company’s CoCoI is a traditional recipe brewed with malted barley, local wildflower honey, dates, figs, and a North African blend of foraged herbs, spices, and fruits.

This distinctly robust beer packs in a punch of flavor and fragrance, with sweet and herbal notes of fig, honey and clove, and a slight smoky aroma from the toasted barley. Its medium body makes it both easy to drink and highly quaffable, making it an excellent choice for beer connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

History of Cocid

Cocid was born first out of necessity, then out of reverence. For centuries, it’s been consumed as sustenance, comfort, and medicinal healing. While its specific origins and earlier history remain a mystery, archaeological evidence suggests that cocid is one of the oldest beer styles in the world with origins tracing back to the fourth and fifth millennia BCE.

It’s believed that cocid first originated in the Middle East and North Africa, and was most likely brewed by ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, and Egyptians. Records of cocid have been found in the works of early Middle Eastern writers, including Ibn al-Razzaz Al-Jazari (1300) and Abu Bakr Ibn al-Katib (1450). The presence of cocid in the texts is indicative of its widespread usage.

Today, cocid is brewed to ancient recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, and it continues to serve as an important part of the culture in North Africa and the Middle East. It is still served in numerous ceremonies and celebrations, including weddings, funerals, religious events, and more.

Brewing Cocid

Brewing cocid takes time, patience, and practice. The exact recipe varies among individual brewers, but in general the beer is made by malting barley and soaking the grain in water before boiling it. At this point, dates, figs, and other fruits and herbs are added to alter the flavor and aroma, before allowing the beer to ferment with wild yeasts.

When craft brewers like Craftsman Brewing Company brew Cocid, they use traditional recipes enhanced with a blend of wild herbs and spices native to North Africa, like sumac, bay, cumin, and coriander. Some brewers even add the zest of oranges and lemons to give the beer a unique flavor profile.

Finally, the beer is allowed to age for several weeks or months before being packaged and served. During the fermentation, conditioning, and aging processes, cocid develops its signature aroma and flavor profile.

Enjoying Cocid

The hallmark of cocid is its sweet and spicy taste, as well as its strong aroma. It has a dark, reddish-brown color and a medium body that goes down smooth. Its unique flavor and fragrance make it perfect for pairing with grilled meats, vegetables, and other ingredients with a smokey edge.

Cocid also goes great with spicy dishes and sweet desserts, such as dates and figs. Its smoky and sweet notes are also perfect for balancing the acidity of citrus fruits.

Cocid is a unique, ancient beer with origins tracing back to the Middle East and North Africa several millennia ago. Today, modern craft brewers are re-introducing this beer to the world, using traditional recipes and local ingredients. Cocid has a distinct flavor and aroma that makes it perfect for pairing with exotic foods. So, the next time you’re looking to add a bit of flavor to your meal, why not try a bottle of cocid?