While wine and mead may have been discovered around the same time as beer, it's widely understood that the specific creation and storage of beer predates wine, as wine didn't really take off until pottery became properly widespread (beer kept longer than wine did in leather sacks and animal stomachs). And it didn't overtake beer in popularity until the Romans (though the Greeks loved both, the drunken bastards). Though obviously it wasn't solely beer that did all the above (especially once bread actually came along) - but they're exaggerations, not embellishments. There's evidence showing that beer was the primary commodity in most instances - the earliest cuneiform writing tablets are basically receipts and ledgers, and have the symbol for beer most commonly.
Seems to me that wine predates beer, and the Greeks got a lot of this civilisation malarkey sorted out on that alone, albeit only after us Britons were already glugging beer by the barrel, apparently. They'd have got it sorted quicker if they weren't constantly pished on cheap red plonk and dodgy ouzo.
MD: It's, again, an exaggeration, but not really bollocks. Prior to agriculture, hunter/gatherers were nomads who lived almost day to day with regards to food. While they would have hovered around plentiful areas, there was no consistency to any spare time. That's really what farming and whatnot achieved - it was worked out that a farmer could harvest enough grain for a family for a year in just three weeks of harvesting natural crops. When they started to control this it lead to a consistent pattern of work/rest/work/rest, and with the establishment of permanent settlements around where grains were good saw the birth and development of carpentry and architecture as "artful" pursuits rather than just spur of the moment "I need shelter/a tool" things, with aesthetics and artwork a distant second.
It's fascinating stuff, anyway. Reading a couple of books about it at the moment. "Civilisation" effectively began when mankind discovered he could get drunk.