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A History of Six Glasses (Glass One- Beer)

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Beer was not invented but...
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Beer became socially and ritually important to hunter-gathers so in order to ensure the availability of grain, hunter-gathers switched to farming. Beer helped to make up for the decline in food quality as people took up farming, provided a safe form of liquid nourishment, and gave groups of beer-drinking farmers a comparative nutritional advantage over non-beer drinkers.
What it tells us really are essentially two things: first, that somehow ancient civilizations understood in some form or manner that the water was not "safe" to drink in some regions. Second, it tells us they learned in some other manner that by boiling the water and then making a "spirit" that was likely unknown to them at the time (at least at the first few attempts) that it was in fact "safer" to drink and was therefore able to quench a necessary component in sustaining life.