Press Release

February 24, 2016Science

For Immediate Release

February 23, 2016

PR Contact



Field Museum Releases New Beer Inspired by Ancient Recipe

Wari Ale Brewed Using Peruvian Purple Corn, Molle Berries

Inspired by the brewing customs of the Wari people, The Field Museum will launch a new limited edition beer this March, made using traditional ingredients—purple corn and molle berries. The beer’s creation was prompted by research conducted at Cerro Baúl in southern Peru, where a team of Field Museum researchers and collaborators uncovered the relics of a bygone Wari brewery that existed between 600 and 1050 AD.

Ceramics excavated at Cerro Baúl show residues of maize and molle berries, which suggests that the Wari people combined the two to make a more potent, flavorful brew than standard chicha, a traditional corn beer. The research also concludes that the brewery would have been able to produce 1,500–2,000 liters of beer in a single batch. Yet despite this particular style of beer going bad after about seven days, these vast quantities of alcohol did not go undrunk.

“The Wari people at Cerro Baúl held festivals in large feast halls,” said Ryan Williams, Associate Curator of Anthropology at The Field Museum and one of the lead researchers on the recent Cerro Baúl excavations. “As part of the relationship building with local authority figures, nearby lords were fed and feasted in reward for their loyalty and tribute to the Wari state.”

With this research as inspiration, The Field Museum partnered with Off Color Brewing to create a version of this ancient recipe. The brewing team met with Ryan for information about Wari brewing customs and then developed various recipes until the final one was chosen. Made using ingredients indigenous to Perú, this pink beer is light and delicate.

The Field Museum will hold a public release of Wari Ale on March 3 at its Hop To It event from 6–9pm. The event will be open to the public, ages 21 and older. Tickets are $35 for Field Museum members, and $40 for non-members. For more information, visit The Field Museum website. The beer will be available on tap and in bottles at the Museum’s Field Bistro, as well as in bottles at select retailers, as early as March 7.