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Did Beer Save the World?


International Beer Day

Friday, August 6, 2021


Once a year on the first Friday in August, we celebrate Internationally Beer Day, so gather with friends and enjoy a beer. You might even share a few of these historical points about beer or you might gather and watch “How Beer Saved the World,” a fun ‘historical’ account of beer.



Facts & Myths:

  • Beer is considered the oldest alcoholic beverage.

  • One of the oldest written records of beer is a Sumerian poem which worships the goddess of beer, Ninkasi, along with a brewing recipe by the Sumerians dating back to 1800BC.

  • Cleopatra VII was hated by many of her subjects primarily because she imposed a beer tax.

  • The Chinese made their beer from grapes, honey, and rice instead of the cereal and barley brews found in Mesopotamia.

  • Unlike the beer of today, no hops were used in beer making until the 13th century

  • Almost everyone drank beer in the Middle Ages, from morning breakfast to evening.

  • Beer during the Middle Ages was safer to drink than water throughout Europe.

  • Hops help preserve as well as flavor beer.

  • German brewers in the 13th century discovered the correct proportions of hops to grain to keep the beer stable for six months and not spoil.

  • Westverlen Brewery in Germany is a 182 year-old brewery founded by the Trappist monks of the Abbey of Saint Sixtus. They are still making and selling what is considered the world’s best beer, Westverlen 12.

  • The steam engine industrialized beer brewing in 1765. The invention of the hydrometer and thermometer around the same time improved brewing methods substantially.

  • Prior to Prohibition, there were thousands of breweries in the U.S.

  • Breweries in the U.S that survived Prohibition survived by producing malt extracts such as sugar, soda, and ice cream.

  • The word beer comes from an old Germanic languages ‘bier’.

  • The first permanent structure built by the Pilgrims was a brewery.

  • Congress including a ration of one quart of Spruce Beer or Cider per man per day during the Revolutionary War.

  • In 1876 Louis Pasteur publishes “Studies on Beer,” showing how yeast can be controlled.

  • Near beers were brewed during Prohibition by Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, Stroh and Anheuser-Bush, another way they survived.

  • The first Great American Beer Festival was held in Colorado in 1981, now the oldest and largest beer tasting and competition.

  • In 2001, the US Brewing industry totals $51 billion; 1458 breweries producing 6.2 million barrels of beer.

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