10 Quick Facts about Beer

10 Quick Facts about Beer

Because we all enjoy a cold one

1. It is ancient.

Photo: Jim Kuhn via Flickr

This 5,000-year old tablet records the allocation of beer. Photo: Jim Kuhn via Flickr

Numerous civilizations have a written history of preparing drinks similar to beer. It did not originate with the Romans as is commonly believed. The Chinese mention a drink known as “kui” going as far back as 7,000 BCE. The first concrete evidence of a drink made out of barley which would, most likely, taste similar to our modern beer comes from 3500 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. It is likely that primitive versions of beer existed even further than that, dating all the way back to the Neolithic period.

2. Babylonians took it seriously.

Perhaps no other ancient civilization enjoyed beer more than the Babylonians. In the Code of Hammurabi, there are three laws pertaining to beer. One of them (Law 108) specifies that a (female) tavern keeper must accept corn as payment for drink and that the penalty for cheating customers was death by drowning.

3. During the Middle Ages, people drank more beer than water because it was safer…maybe.

Monk_sneaking_a_drink

Water carried many diseases as there were little to no purification methods. The process for making beer, however, eliminated many harmful microorganisms. That’s, at least, the theory behind this idea. Now it’s looking like this might be an oft-repeated myth that we believe because it sounds very plausible.

4. It creates a phobia (not really).

There is this fact going around the web that cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass. It’s not actually recognized as a real phobia, but it’s ok if you pretend that it exists so you can order another round.

5. The Czech Republic drinks the most beer with 143 liters annually per person.

Photo Credit: Tim Dobson via Wiki Commons

Photo Credit: Tim Dobson via Wiki Commons

It is followed by Germany, Austria, Estonia and Poland with 110, 108, 104 and 100 liters per capita, respectively. The United States is 14th with 77 liters per capita.

6. It can get pretty strong.

A Scottish brewery named Brewmeister holds the record for making the strongest beer in the world. It’s called Snake Venom and it has a 67.5% alcoholic content. Before it existed, the previous record was held by Armageddon, a “meager” 65% ABV beer made by the same brewery.

7. Oktoberfest doesn’t celebrate the harvest.

Photo Credit: Leigh Wolf via Flickr

Photo Credit: Leigh Wolf via Flickr

Nowadays, Oktoberfest is used as a great excuse to have a festival with lots of beer. Some might claim that it is actually a celebration of the harvest, but it didn’t start out like that. It was actually to celebrate the marriage of Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810.

8. Have you ever drank Oktoberfest Beer?

Speaking of the festival, it also has its own special beer which is actually a registered trademark. Not just anyone can make Oktoberfest Beer. It needs to have a minimum Stammwürze of 13.5%. If you’re wondering what Stammwürze is, it’s a brewing measurement that reflects the amount of extract in a pitched wort. Furthermore, the beer must be brewed within the city limits of Munich since that is where the original festival is held. By those criteria, only six breweries can actually make Oktoberfest Beer: Paulaner, Lowenbrau, Hacker-Pschorr-Brau, Augustiner-Brau, Spatenbrau and Staatliches Hofbrau-Munchen.

9. There are two craters named Beer.

Beer crater NASA

One is on the Moon and one is on Mars. Both are actually named after German astronomer Wilhelm Beer and have nothing to do with the drink.

10. Beer lovers occasionally get political.

There is a Beer-Lovers Party officially registered in several countries. It started in Poland in 1990 as a satirical political party but it quickly gained steam and registered officially. It even garnered nearly 3% of the votes during the 1991 Parliamentary elections. Afterwards several other countries formed their own Beer-Lovers Parties including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.