20 Interesting things you probably didn’t know about beer
Beer is probably the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world and it has been brewed for centuries and is now available in a mind boggling number of different varieties. Benjamin Franklin once said that beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. And even Plato was pretty much impressed with the wonderful qualities of beer when he said “He was a wise man who invented beer.” So, endorsed by the famous and enjoyed by the masses, here are twenty facts about beer that you probably didn’t know:
1. The pyramids were built by beer swilling builders
Workers working on the pyramids of Giza were paid, in part, in beer. They were given beer with their meals three times a day, because the beer was safer to drink than the bacteria riddled water from the Nile River.
2. Beer used to be given as a gift to wedding guests
In old England, it was traditional for the bride to distribute beer as a gift to the guests at her wedding. The beer was known as the Bride Ale, hence today’s term, bridal.
3. President Roosevelt took five hundred gallons of beer with him on safari
When the US president, Theodore Roosevelt, once went on an African safari, he took five hundred gallons of beer with him on the trip.
4. Drinking beer is good for your heart
Researchers at the Western Ontario University found that beer contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that can help to prevent heart disease.
5. The word ‘honeymoon’ originates form beer drinking
In ancient Babylon, the father of the bride would provide his new son-in-law with all the beer that he could drink for a month after the wedding. The beer in question was mead, which is made from honey and this is where the word, honeymoon, comes from and this period it was known then as the ‘honey month’.
6. Beer and Marijuana are related
The hops in beer, which are what give beer its flavour, belong to the same plant family as Marijuana. Both plants belong to the Cannabaceae family.
7. Ants can get drunk
18th century naturalist, John Lubbock, experimented on ants by feeding them beer and found that they can get drunk. He also observed that the drunken ants were taken by their comrades back to the nest to sleep it off. That sounds familiar?!
8. Beer bubbles go down, as well as up
If you look closely at a glass of beer you will see that not all the bubbles are rising. Some of the bubbles go up in the centre, where there is no friction from the sides of the glass, and then they return down again, close to the sides of the glass.
9. Monks liked to drink beer
You might not think of monks as being typical beer drinkers, but in the middle ages, monks were allowed to drink up to five quarts of beer a day!
10. If the head of your beer sticks to the glass, then the beer is a good one
When you tilt your beer glass, if the foam on the top of the beer adheres to the side of the glass, then this is known as ‘Belgian or Brussels lace’. Seasoned beer drinkers will tell you that this is the sign of a good quality beer.
11. For a good beer, you need good water
You might think water is just water, but, for brewers, the type of water used to make beer is very important. All through history, the location of breweries has been dictated by the purity of the local water, which is vital for a good tasting beer.
12. There is a Peruvian beer made with human saliva
There is a Peruvian beer called Chicha, for which part of the brewing process is chewing on corn before it is added to the ingredients. Bacteria and enzymes that are found in human saliva can actually replace the malting process that is usually used to make beer.
13. Vikings believed an endless supply of beer awaited them in heaven
The Vikings believed that, when they got to Valhalla, they would find a goat with and endless supply of beer coming from its udders waiting for them.
14. The phrase ‘rule of thumb’, originates from brewing beer
If you have ever wondered what the phrase ‘rule of thumb’ actually means, it comes from the brewing industry. Beer brewers of old used to stick their thumbs into the beer mix to make sure that it was at the right temperature to add the yeast.
15. The biggest beer drinkers in the world are the Czechs
If you love your beer then you would love living in the Czech Republic. The average amount of beer drunk per person in the Czech Republic works out as over 200 large bottles of beer a year and, that’s an average, so it takes into account those Czechs who drink none at all.
16. The world speed beer drinking record was once held by a prime minister
Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, once held the world beer speed drinking record. He drank two and half pints of beer in just eleven seconds.
17. Minding your P’s and Q’s refer to beer drinking
Minding your P’s and Q’s originally had nothing at all with kids being told to mind their manners. It actually comes from when the barman would shout out ‘mind your pints and quarts’ when trouble broke out in a bar.
18. The pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they had run out of beer
The pilgrims were sailing toward the Hudson River, but they landed at Plymouth Rock, because they had run out of beer. This was more of a serious situation than you might think though. They used to drink beer on the ships because it lasted longer than the fresh water.
19. The world oldest, drinkable beer was found in 2010
The oldest drinkable beer was a 19th century beer found on a shipwreck bear Finland. The beer had been preserved in the cold waters off the coast and it was said to taste old, but perfectly drinkable.
20. The first known beer drinkers were the Ancient Babylonians
The first people known to drink beer were the Ancient Babylonians and they took their beer seriously too! If a brewer brewed a bad batch of beer, then he could be condemned to death by drowning in his own beer!
Do you know some other interesting facts about beer?