There are probably as many early forms of beer as there are people who made them. Every nomadic tribe and early civilization had their own at one point or another. A few of them are even still around today, having changed little, making up an important tradition in pockets of the world. Most use varied and locally available ingredients, rarely hops and are an important part of their heritage.
One of these malt beverages is “Boza,” originally brewed in Babylonia and Egypt 5-6,000-years ago and in Mesopotamia as long ago as 8-9,000-years ago. There is also speculation that our word “booze” comes from this drink. Traditionally, Boza is made with millet but local variations also use maize (Turkey), wheat (Ethiopia), rice meal (Turkmenistan) or flour (Albania). In Bulgaria they use millet, one of the earliest used cereal grains and the one used in the original Bozas. Today, it is wildly popular throughout Eastern Europe and the Ottoman areas. It’s also quite low in alcohol, around 1% abv.
It appears to be fairly easy to make at home, too. There are several links on preparing homemade Boza, such as at Yogurtland, My Bulgaria, and Bulgarian Food.
But a story in Ananova, a news service for mobile phone delivery, is decidely more titillating. Apparently Bulgaria’s recent membership in the EU brings welcome tax relief on customs duties on Boza. Hundreds and thousands of establishments all over Europe are now starting to stock Boza, at least in part because Boza is believed to make women’s breasts grow. I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. According to Ananova, “European men are flocking to Bulgaria to buy ‘breast-boosting beer’ after EU accession led to customs duties on the drink being abolished.”
The article continues:
They are said to be keen for their wives and girlfriends to benefit from its reported ability to make women’s breasts grow.
Constantin Barbu crossed the Danube from Romania to buy Boza in the Bulgarian border town of Ruse.
He said: “I’ve bought a case for my wife to try out. I really hope I see an improvement.”
Given our nation’s obsession with large breasts, I’m surprised it’s not available here. It’s got to be cheaper than silicon implants.