Beer has been around since before cheese, sugar, mustard, coffee, and Spam.* While there is some discrepancy of exactly when beer was first discovered, there is no doubt that it was a very long time ago. An article in Scientific American (Sept 2013) claims 7000 BC. The oldest recipe in the world is said to be for beer (on clay tablets) dating back to 3500 BC.
Traditionally, brewers were women. Brewing was a domestic chore (a very important one to be sure). Since beer was originally made with the absence of hops as a preservative and it would turn sour rather quickly, beer making was a constant practice. Some historians believe that beer preceded bread as a diet staple while others believe that beer was a happy accident that occurred in bread making.
Regardless, it wasn’t until brewing was commercialized around 1200 AD that beer became a largely male-dominated past time.
* An accurate order of these foods having been introduced in the human diet.