11 Surprising Beer Facts to Impress Your Friends

RealClear Staff


1. Beer dates back to at least 3,000 BCE

Photo Source: AP

The ancient Sumerians used to make beer, which they would call "kas", meaning "what the mouth desires." There are ancient tablets detailing beer recipes, laws, and records. Beer is the inspiration for the written word, according to "How Beer Saved the World".

2. The first professional beer brewers were women

Photo Source: Andreas Praefcke - Own work (own photograph)

In ancient Peru, the only people who were allowed to brew beer were women of nobility. In ancient Egypt, it was against the law for men to brew and sell beer.

3. Beer was important to the Pilgrims

The pilgrims stopped at Plymouth Rock for a very specific reason: liquid refreshment. As described by one passenger in his diary, "We could not now take time for further search or consideration; our victuals being much spent, especially our beere." Everything had more e's back then.

4. Beer has 4 main ingredients: Hops, malt, yeast and water

Photo Source: HomeBrewManual

There are four main ingredients in beer: water, barley (or some kind of starch source, such as Sorghum in India), hops, and yeast. Water is the major ingredient beer, and the water source is a huge determinant of how a beer tastes. As Olympia says, "It's the Water!"

5. The hop flower is a member of the hemp family (Cannabaceae).

Photo Source: Thrillist

Have you ever heard of the "cannabaceae" family? We bet you have. It's the family of plants containing both hops and cannabis. Yes, that cannabis. Beer and marijuana are basically plant cousins. Both cousins have both male and female plants, and the female plants are sought because of the lack of seeds in the flowers.

6. Pilsner is named after the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic

Pilsners created the lager category. Prior to pilsner, you drank ale, and it was likely dark and murky. Pilsner changed the game with its mild character and clear appearance. You probably know pilsner as Amstel or Heineken. This style is named after the city where it was invented, Pilsen in the Czech Republic. Josef Groll created the first batch of Pilsner beer.

7. The White House brews its own beer, and the recipes are on its website!

Photo Source: The White House

The White House brews it's own beer. In fact, there's a recipe for their beer on their website, so you can drink what the president drinks. All of this is legal, but more on that at #11.

8. "Skunky" flavor is caused primarily by light, not heat or temperature

Photo Source: Blogger, Ian Hurley

So what makes your beer go skunky? Well, people usually believe that it's time or temperature change, but it's actually light. Light will oxidize the alpha acids in hops and turn their flavor from refreshing to rancid.

9. Brewing beer starts off with just 2 types: Ales and lagers

Photo Source: The Oatmeal

There are all types of beers, but they can be split into two basic categories: ales and lagers. Ale means that the yeast is fermented at the top. Lager uses yeast that is fermented at the bottom, and a lower temperatures are used in the fermentation and aging process.

10. Beer Color does not correlate with Beer Calories

Calories come from two components of beer - alcohol and starch fragments. Stouts are typically dark and strong. Despite people usually describing them as rich or heavy, they're often fairly low in calories and alcohol content. In fact, twelve ounces of Guinness is just 176 calories. If you're really curious about calories, get ahold of the ABV, Final Gravity, and a good calculator.

11. Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing in 1978 (some joke this was done to keep his brother Billy off his back!)

You probably know that it was FDR who ended Prohibition (21st Amendment!), but it was President Jimmy Carter who legalized homebrewing in 1978. Arguably the greatest achievement of his presidency. Cans of "Billy" are still around, as they were thought to be collector's items, but have little value. They're also too old to drink.

Watch the video below to get the rest of these facts!

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