10 Mandatory Facts About Beer
Photo: Jack Andersen (Getty Images)
While you could also make a pretty good case for whiskey, in the hierarchy of globally imbibed alcoholic drinks, beer reigns supreme. In the most basic terms: beer is made by brewing and fermenting cereals (usually barley) and is flavored with the additions of hops. While the definition is simple, the drink is very complex. The styles vary so much that a rich, chocolatey porter barely resembles the flavors of a guava sour ale. The best aspect of this wide variation between beers is that there’s a style out there for everyone.
To really get to know this global beverage, we figured the time was right to drop some entertaining, thought-provoking, and downright strange beer-related facts. Grab a pint and check them all out below.
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The Mayflower would have stopped somewhere else if they hadn’t run out of beer.
When the Mayflower left for the new world, they made a logistical mistake and didn’t bring enough beer. Their plan was to find a place where they could farm with temperate weather. Instead, they landed on Plymouth Rock and endured horrible winters and food shortages because they had stopped because of a lack of beer on board.
Beer was mostly illegal in Iceland until 1989.
Like the U.S., Iceland had its own Prohibition that went into effect in 1915. In 1922, wine and various other beverages were legalized. But, for some reason, beer with more than 2.25 percent ABV was still illegal until 1989.
Beer cans were first introduced in New Jersey in 1933.
Back in the early 1930s, Kreuger Brewery in Newark, New Jersey, wanted a way to package its beer without using glass bottles. It paired with a local canning company to make a beer called Krueger Special Beer.
Budweiser isn’t the most popular beer in the world.
It might seem like the “King of Beers” is the most popular beer in the world, but it’s not. In fact, the best-selling beer in the world is a Chinese beer called Snow. The lager is only available in China but seeing as how there is well over 1 billion people in the country, its success isn’t surprising.
Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world.
People have been brewing some form of beer since Mesopotamia in 10,000 BCE. There’s a pretty good chance the Sumerians' beer didn’t taste an awful lot like our modern brews seeing as how the first recorded use of hops in a beer recipe wasn’t until the 9th century.
No state drinks more beer than California.
Sure, the state has beer meccas like San Diego and Los Angeles, but it’s still surprising that the west coast state drinks more beer than any other state. While New Hampshire leads the way in per capita beer binging, Californian drink 727 million gallons of frosty beer per year.
Zythology is the study of beer.
It comes from the Greek words “zythos” which means beer and “logos” which means study. Zythology isn’t just staring at your IPA before you take a sip. It’s the study of the various ingredients, styles, and brewing history.
Oktoberfest Is technically a giant wedding.
Munich’s Oktoberfest might be the largest beer festival in the world, but it started in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Ludwig the Crown Prince of Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
IPA was invented as a way to keep beer fresh.
Back in the 1800s, brewers in England added extra hops to their pale ales so they’d stay fresh on the long journey to India. While the hops were added so the beer wouldn’t spoil, drinkers enjoyed the bitter flavor and still do today.
Not surprisingly, Germany is home to the oldest brewery in the world.
The Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan in Freising, Germany, is the oldest brewery in the world. The Bavarian brewery can trace its genesis to 1040 AD. The best part? You can still buy beer from this award-winning brewery today.
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