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Sunday, 3 June 2012



Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks. One theory is that it was discovered in Mesopotamia in about 8000BC. After some barley bread crumbs fell into water and started fermenting, someone tasted it, enjoyed it. They then began experimenting with different brews, made with different combinations of barley grains and water often with inebriating consequences!

The ancients considered the origin of beer divine, and was thought to be the spirit of the grain. In some places the brewing of the beverage was so sacred, that male brewers were kept isolated from their womenfolk. Otherwise, it was believed, the magic change of grain into spirit would not take place. Beer was not only drunk but a sacrificial ceremony was performed whereby it was poured into the ground to appease the gods so that they would bless the growing of the crops.

There was a hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer; the hymn not only praised her, it provided directions for brewing beer.

The Sumerians of Mesopotamian made types of bread specifically for fermentation. Around 20 different types of a fermented drink were made from barley, wheat and honey. The resulting beer was drunk warm and because of the thick sediment it was drunk through reed straws from a communal bowl. Brewing was a privilege set aside for kings and because of its sacred nature takes part in temples.

Then oldest evidence of beer-drinking is a picture on a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet. It contains the following advertising slogan, “Drink Ebla – the beer with the heart of a lion."

By 3000 BC there were at least six different types of beer in Egypt.

An ancient Egyptian document lists 17 distinct types of beer, with names like "joy-bringer" and "heavenly."

The ancient Egyptians brewed beer from wheat and barley, which they grew on the fertile flood plain of the River Nile. Their beer was made from old barley bread mixed with plenty of water, men standing inside a vat trampled the bread and water mixture with their feet.  After mixing, date juice flavored with ginger, honey and myrtle was added. The fermenting beer was stored in uncovered jars in the sunshine and the final beverage looked like muddy soup. Then it was strained and left to stand in clean jars made from clay.

The picture below shows a funerary model of a bakery and brewery, from the Eleventh dynasty of Egypt, c2009–1998 BC.

By Keith Schengili-Roberts - Wikipedia Commons

The rich Egyptians drunk mainly beer, as it was safer than water from the Nile since the alcohol it contained acted as a mild disinfectant. Peasants and workers were allocated a daily allowance of two jugs of weak beer. If they required anything else to drink they had to make do with river water.

The ancient Egyptians believed that mixing half an onion with the foam from beer gave you eternal life.

Egypt was the first country to have a beer tax, imposed by Cleopatra in the first century BC to discourage public drunkenness.

A 3,900-year-old poem honoring the Babylonian goddess Ninkasi contains an ancient beer recipe, which happens to be the oldest known written recipe.

According to the Code of Hammurabi of Babylon a tavern-keeper or merchant who diluted or overchargd for beer should be put to death.

One ancient Chinese commentator wrote “People will not do without beer. To prohibit and secure total abstinence from it is beyond the power even of sages. Hence, therefore, we have warnings on the abuse of it.”

Around 250BC, many years before the Romans came to Britain, beer was being brewed by the Picts in Scotland. The beverage was made from heather and had hallucinogenic properties.

The word “beer” comes from the Latin word “bibere,” which means “to drink.”

The beer that the first Anglo-Saxons drank was a brew of water and honeycomb in a clay pot, with the addition of herbs for flavoring.

The Vikings believed that a giant goat named Heiðrún, whose udders provided an endless supply of beer, awaited them in Valhalla upon their death.

“Church ales” became popular in thirteenth century Britain. These were an early type of church fair where men and women would sell and drink ale either in the churchyard or the church itself, to raise funds for the fabric or for some other good intention.

The phrase “small beer” meaning something of little importance was originally applied in the 15th century to inferior or low-alcohol beer.

Henry VIII gave his ladies in waiting a daily allowance of a gallon of ale each day for breakfast. The English king attempted to ban the brewing of continental style beer, as he preferred the stronger "hop-less" English ale. However despite his attempts, beer made from hops rather than traditional English ale became the preferred drink for royalty and commoners alike at every meal.

Bavarian Beer was originally hallucinogenic, containing Henbane, until adding Henbane to beer was banned in 1516.

The Reinheitsgebot, instituted in Bavaria in 1516, is a beer “purity law” that remains today in revised form. The original laws permitted beer to be made only with barley, hops and water, later acknowledging yeast and permitting wheat.

Beer was ranked alongside bread as the most important staple in 16th century Ireland, and some workers were granted a daily allowance of 14 pints.

The first beer brewed in the New World was made in 1587 at Sir Walter Raleigh's colony in Virginia. However the colonists were not happy with the brew and sent requests to England for better beer.

The Pilgrims planned on heading further south to a warmer climate than Plymouth Rock, but because they ran out of beer, they headed for the closest land.

The ‘Yard of Ale’, which originated in 17th-century England, is made up of twoand-a-half pints of beer or 1.42 litres.

In 1814 the rupture of a beer vat in London caused a wave of 323,000 gallons of beer which demolished several streets and killed eight people.

Most beers couldn’t withstand the six month trip from Great Britain to the British colonies in India, where the climate was too hot to brew. In response, a brewer heavily hopped and aged their beers, making them pale, and able to survive the journey. The first known use of the expression "India pale ale" to describe these beers was in an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on August 27, 1829.

Fuller's India pale ale Wikipedia

Louis Pasteur developed pasteurisation for beer more than 20 years before he did it for milk.

Newcastle Brown was launched in 1927 by the North East England brewer Jim Porter. His father was a master brewer and, after leaving the army, Porter went to work at the Newcastle Breweries where, three years previously, he had set about creating a brand new bottled ale. The result, a strong, malty brown ale, scored an immediate success with the judges of the International Brewing Championships where it won the prize for best bottled beer.

By 1935, technology had advanced to a stage where drinks could be put in cans and on January 24, 1935, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company of New Jersey introduced the first canned beer, Krueger Cream Ale. The new, three-piece steel and tin cans containing this drink had no pull tab; they were opened by a special kind of tool called a church key.

This new method of packaging beer was an instant success and other breweries quickly followed as they noted that the new cans were more cost effective, easier to handle and took up less space than bottles.

The Felinfoel Brewery in Wales was the first brewery outside the US to sell beer in cans.

Samuel Adams is the brand name for beers produced by the Boston Beer Company, which was founded in 1984 by Jim Koch and Rhonda Kallman in Boston. The brand name of Samuel Adams was chosen in honor of Founding Father Samuel Adams, an American revolutionary patriot. Paul Revere, not Samuel Adams, is featured on each bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, allegedly due to Samuel Adams' bad looks.

At the age of 27 Indian born entrepreneur Karan Bilimoria founded Cobra Beer in a little flat in Fulham, London. While a student at Cambridge, Bilmoria had noticed regular lager was too gassy and ale too bitter to go with curry in the city’s Indian restaurants. He came up with a concept in 1989 for a beer designed to accompany food – in particular, Indian food and curry.

As of November 2014, Cobra currently has a market share of over 98% of all licensed Indian restaurants within the United Kingdom.

By Misiokk -  Wikipedia Commons

The ‘beerbrella’, comprising a small umbrella designed to shield a glass of beer from the sun, was patented in the US in 2003.


Legendary pro wrestler and Princess Bride star, Andre the Giant, set the world record for number of beers consumed in a single sitting by drinking 119 12oz beers in six hours in 1976. It was one of the few times Andre got drunk enough to pass out, which he did in a hallway at his hotel.

Steven Petrosino of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania downed 1 liter of beer or 33 ounces in just 1.3 seconds in 1977 which makes him the World Beer Speed Drinking Champion, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke was the one-time world record holder for the fastest drinking of a yard of beer.

The most expensive beer in the world costs $52 a bottle. It is called Tutankhamen. It’s prepared with the recipe and directions that was found in Queen Nefertiti’s Temple of the Sun in Egypt by University of Cambridge archaeologists. This is made in limited and a numbered edition.

The most expensive beer in the U.S. is Samuel Adams' Utopia. It costs $150 per 700ML, is released every two years and is banned in 13 states.

Armageddon, is a 65 per cent proof Scottish-made brew launched in 2012. A 330ml bottle costs £80 ($115) and is as potent as ten pints of normal lager. It's ingredients include crystal malt, wheat, flaked oats and Scottish spring water. When it was launched it was marketed as the world's strongest beer.

John Evans of Britain managed to balance an incredible 275 glasses of beer on his head at the Haifa Beer Festival in Israel on August 15, 2013.

At 68 per cent proof, Brewmeister’s Snake Venom beer was named as the world’s strongest in 2014.

The world's largest beer festival is Oktoberfest. Held annually in Munich, Germany, it runs  from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event annually


Stouts were created to be known as strong beer—not just dark. Its name in the 14th century meant “proud” or “brave.”

Carlsberg created Special Brew in honor of Winston Churchill.

In 1956 the US government placed beer near a nuclear explosion to see whether it would still be drinkable after a nuclear fallout, it was.

In 1999, the world’s first beer academy opened in Herk-de-Stad, in the Belgian province of Limburg.

The world record for downing a yard of ale is 4.9 seconds by Peter Dowdeswell, of Northampton, England - he also set the record of 55.6 seconds for drinking eight pints of beer upside down.

Australian microbrewery Nail Brewing produced the most expensive beer in the world, using water melted from a block of Antarctic ice.

The number one beer drinking state in the US in 2012 was North Dakota, with 45.8 gallons per year per adult.

Beer was a soft drink in Russia until 2013. In 2011, president Dmitry Medvedev signed a law that made beer an alcoholic beverage, allowing the government to control its sale and consumption. The law came into effect on January 1, 2013.

Coming in behind tea, beer is the second most popular beverage in the world. In England and Ireland, beer is the most popular beverage, its number one in these two countries.

The number one beer in the world based on market share is Snow beer. Not heard of it? That's because hardly any of its 18 billion pints a year are sold outside China.

Gambrinous means 'being full of beer'.

The foam on a beer is called 'barm.'

Zythology is the study of beer and the process of making beer.

In Great Britain alone, 93,000 litres of beer are said to be lost each year in facial hair.

The Scottish brewery Brewmeister put a warning label on its Snake Venom beer, advising consumers to drink only one bottle per sitting.

In Nebraska, It is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.

Every year, Bavarians and their guests drink 1.2 million gallons of beer during Oktoberfest.

People in the Czech Republic drink more beer per capita than any other country, an average of 262 pints a year. Austria is second on 190 pints.

The world’s most expensive beer is Belgium’s La Vieille Bon Secours ale which costs $975 (£700) a bottle.

According to U.S. laws, a beer commercial can never show a person actually drinking beer.

The word Cenosillicaphobia means the fear of seeing an empty beer mug.

Beer has a bitter taste and slightly pungent aroma because of lupulin, a substance found in hops.

April 7th is National Beer Day because this is the date in 1933 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the law that lifted Prohibition.

Americans spend approximately $25 billion each year on beer.

An American Pint of beer is smaller than a British pint; 473mil compared to 568mil.

In Japan, there is braille on beer cans.

If you could stack all the beer cans consumed in the U.S. each year, it would reach the moon 20 times.

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