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Don't Worry, Beer Happy: Incredibly Interesting Facts About Beer

Interesting Facts About Beer
Although beer is one of the most popular drinks in the world, there are certain fascinating facts about it that most people are not aware of. Tastessence presents such facts along with a brief history and benefits of beer.
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Did You Know?
The expression 'rule of thumb' actually came from brewers, who used to insert their thumbs into the mixture, during brewing, to check whether the temperature was right for the addition of yeast.
Since time immemorial, beer has always fascinated mankind. It is likely that beer was invented thousands of years ago through accident at first, and eventually through improved techniques and recipes. It is difficult to say who invented beer. 'When it was invented' is also an unanswered question. No particular culture or time period can be credited with the invention of beer. According to some experts, it was invented by the tribes living in ancient Mesopotamia, the region of southwest Asia (currently occupied by Iraq). The words 'ale' and 'beer' are found in ancient English literature. Perhaps, at that time, what we call 'cider' was known as 'beer'.

Only a few centuries ago, people started using the word 'beer' for 'hopped malt beverages.' It is a fact that any food that contains sugars gets fermented due to the yeast present in the air. So, it is possible that various beer-like beverages were discovered by various cultures across the world at different times. A number of experiments and trial and error methods must have eventually helped produce the beverage that we call 'beer.'
Interesting Facts About the Invention of Beer
➺ About 10,000 years ago, people used to wander in search of food. As the need for a consistent and a reliable food source arose, the hunting tribes started settling down in areas where there was ample water. They started cultivating grains. It is believed that people discovered beer when grains that were unknowingly left in a bucket outside the house, got fermented into a beer-like beverage when the bucket got accidentally filled with rainwater. Archaeological evidence suggests that beer is the most ancient beverage known to mankind.
Glass of Beer
➺ The first barley beer was most likely made in the Middle East. Archaeologists have found a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet which shows people from Mesopotamia drinking a beverage through reed straws from a communal bowl. This is believed to be the oldest evidence of beer. The archaeologists have obtained ceramic vessels from 3,400 BCE. They were sticky due to beer residue.
➺ The Sumerian 'Hymn to Ninkasi,' from 1,800 BCE, that honors Ninkasi, the goddess of brewing, reveals the oldest beer recipe. The poem describes how beer is made from barley by the grace of the Goddess.
➺ Evidence shows that by 2,000 BCE, the Sumerians had invented sixteen different types of beers, eight were made from barley, and eight from wheat. Some of them were 'strong', some were 'reddish brown', while some were described as 'good dark'. These nutritious beverages soon gained popularity in other regions.
➺ The Egyptians spread beer to the Greeks. Plato wrote, "He was a wise man who invented beer."
➺ The Greeks then educated the Romans to brew. The Romans called their drink 'cerevisia' (Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, and vis, the Latin word for strength).
➺ In the Middle Ages, people preferred drinking beer over water, as the water was highly contaminated with animal waste. Saint Arnold of Met, born in 580 CE, helped end a plague by convincing people to drink beer rather than impure water.
➺ Beer consumption flourished under the Babylonian Empire. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania, has provided information that workers on the pyramids of Egypt were paid about four liters (1 gallon) of beer a day.
Composition of hop and barley
➺ Various herbs and mixtures called 'gruit' were used to make beer in the Middle Ages. The addition of hops to beer for buttering, preservation, and better aroma was an important innovation which eventually led to preparation of modern beer.
➺ The history of beer mentions that hops were cultivated in France as early as the eighth century.
Man adding hops to vat of boiling beer
➺ Beer was a homemade drink in the medieval times. By the 14th and 15th centuries, beer making became a special activity which involved use of skilled labor. It was no longer considered as a family-oriented activity. Pubs and monasteries started brewing their own beer for mass consumption.
Beer glass in restaurant
➺ In 15th century England, the drink prepared without hops was called an ale, while that with hops in it was called beer.
➺ England bought hopped beer from the Netherlands as early as 1400 CE. Englishmen started planting hops by 1428 CE. Initially, the ale makers were not ready to use hops in the drink.
➺ The first documented use of hops in beer is dated 822 CE. As records show that hops were cultivated in 736 CE, they must have been used for brewing even though there are no records to confirm this.
➺ According to some archaeologists, the first product humans made from grain and water, before learning to make bread, was beer. But according to others, a piece of bread that was unknowingly left in water must have got fermented, and must have helped generate an idea of preparing a drink from fermented grains.
➺ A few centuries before, most beers were what are now called ales. Lagers were discovered accidentally in the 16th century, after beer was stored in cool caverns for long periods. Since then, they never had to look back again. Due to increasing popularity, they have largely outpaced ales in terms of volume.
Fascinating Facts About Beer
Friends Enjoying Beer Party
➺ Beer is the third-most popular drink after water and tea. An average American consumes 23 gallons of beer a year.
➺ It is believed that the first professional brewers were women. In many cultures, a woman had to be very beautiful to be a brewer.
➺ The moon has a crater named Beer.
Beer storage
➺ Beer should be stored in a dark cool place, away from sunlight. Brown bottles help keep beer fresh.
➺ Bottled beer should be stored upright. This minimizes oxidation and contamination from the cap.
➺ Germany has the most (1200) breweries in the world.
➺ Hops that are used to produce beer belong to the same family of flowering plants to which marijuana belongs.
➺ They say that the provisions on Noah's Ark included beer.
➺ Before 1850, beer lovers used to carry beer in special buckets from their local tavern. The first beer bottle was sold in 1850.
➺ While regular beer usually has about 5% ABV, Brewmeister's 'Snake Venom' has a 67.5% alcohol content. This stomach-burning beer can be described as the world's strongest beer.
➺ The study of beer and beer-making is known as 'zythology.' The name is derived from the Greek words 'zythos' (beer) and 'logos' (study).
➺ A beer enthusiast is called a 'cerevisaphile.'
➺ The fear of an empty (beer) glass is described as 'cenosillicaphobia.'
➺ The study and practice of yeast fermentation in brewing is called 'Zymurgy'.
➺ Studies show that in the Czech Republic, the per capita beer consumption is almost 40 gallons a year! This is the most beer-drinking country in the world, followed by Germany, Austria, and Ireland.
➺ At some European spas, you can literally bathe in beer as a physical and mental therapeutic treatment.
➺ 'Vielle Bon Secours' is supposed to be the world's most expensive beer. When a restaurant owner found a 12 liter Vieille Bon Secours bottle in the cellar, stored for more than 10 years, he decided to sell the bottle for £700 (around €825, USD 1,075), which at the time probably was one of the world's most expensive beers.
➺ These days, about 400 different types of beer are available across the world. Belgium has the most individual beer brands.
➺ Ethanol, the intoxicant in beer is a very powerful antiseptic.
➺ Study results published in the New England Journal of Medicine say that women who regularly consumed moderate amount of beer had better cognitive function.
➺ A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology states that daily consumption of one bottle of beer can lower your risk of having kidney stones by 40%.
➺ Beer contains almost all essential minerals. It is a nutritious drink. In the Middle Ages, even children drank beer. It contains silicon which promotes accumulation of calcium and other minerals in bone tissue.
➺ Various studies show that regular consumption of beer can reduce the risk of cardiac diseases and cognitive decline. But with excessive consumption (3 or more bottles a day), the cardiovascular benefits of beer are reversed. The pro-oxidants produced by the body, as it metabolizes excess ethanol, reverse the effect.
➺ Don't be surprised if you see a beer pipeline in Germany. Bars in the Veltins-Arena, a football ground in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, are interconnected by a 5-kilometer (3.1mi) long beer pipeline!
➺ In Bruges, Belgium, the town authorities are planning to construct a 2-mile pipeline to pump De Halve Maan's (500-year-old brewery) famous Brugse Zot beer to its bottling plant on the Waggelwater Industrial Estate located at the outskirts of the city. This will help reduce truck traffic on the city streets. It will take 10 to 15 minutes for the beer to reach the bottling plant. People are praying for a pipeline leakage!
➺ According to beer manufacturer Guinness, "to pour a perfect pint, you need to let it rest for exactly 119.5 seconds between the first pour and the top-up, a period called the surge and settle." That's when nitrogen comes out of solution and forms a creamy head.
➺ Barack Obama became the first president to brew his own beer―known as Bro-bama. White House Honey Ale is brewed by his chefs as per his instructions.
➺ The prize at the Wife Carrying World Championships in Finland is beer equivalent to the wife's weight.
Now we can look forward to have pipelines for tasty drinks like tequila, kiwi juice, and chocolate sauce. One fine day, they might flow straight into our homes.
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