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to The Code of Hammurabi of ancient Babylonia (c. 1750 B.C.) a merchant
could be put to death for diluting beer.
In Germany there is a beer ice
cream in popsicle form. Its alcohol content is lower than that of
In Medieval Europe, brewing and baking went together. Thus women were
the first European brewers and were often called ale wives.
1810: Munich establishes Oktoberfest as an official celebration.
King Frederick the Great once
banned coffee to bolster sagging beer sales.
In Babylon over 4000 years ago, it was customary for
the bride's father to supply his new son-in-law with all the mead he
could drink. As mead is a honey beer and their calendar was lunar based,
this period was called the 'honey month' – or what we know today as the
'honeymoon'. In fact, Babylonians believed if the groom drank mead for
an entire month, it enhanced the chances of his wife bearing a male
In Bavaria, beer is legally
defined as a staple food.
After consuming buckets of aul (or ale), the Vikings
would head fearlessly into battle, often without armour or even shirts.
In fact, "berserk" means "bare shirt" in Norse, and eventually took on
the meaning of their wild battles.
The first US lager was brewed in 1840 by John Wagner, who had a small
brewery in the back of his house on St. John Street in Philadelphia.
Wagner brought the first lager yeast to the United States from a brewery
Historians report that during the Middle Ages, when monks were brewing
their beer in their monasteries, each monk was allowed to drink 5 quarts
of beer a day.
Legend has it that Gambrinus, god of beer, challenged the devil to
produce a “wine without grapes.” The historical origin of the concoction
we know today can be found in 12th-century Belgium, although the
Egyptians had already created fermented-grain beverages well before
The pursuit of beer changed the course of humanity
forever in 5000 BC. Neolithic people abandoned their wandering lives for
farming, to grow grain for brewing beer.
In 1116 BC, Chinese imperial edict stated
that heaven required people to drink beer.
The Egyptian pyramids were built on beer. Stonecutters, slaves and
public officials were paid in a type of beer called 'kash' – which is
where the word 'cash' originated.
In English pubs, unruly
customers were told to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down –
and so began the phrase "mind your P's and Q's". (Another explanation is
customers were being warned about the potency of the beer. At 'freehouses'
where people could make and sell their own beer, there was less control
on the alcohol content.)
The familiar Scandinavian toast sköl derives from scole, the drinking
bowl shaped like the upper half of a human skull. Originally, these
bowls were fashioned from the actual skulls of enemy killed in battle.
Before thermometers were invented, brewers would dip a thumb into the
mix to find the right temperature for adding yeast. Too cold and the
yeast wouldn't grow; too hot and the yeast would die. This ancient
practice is where we get the phrase 'rule of thumb'.
Saint Arnold, a bishop born in 580, is considered the patron saint of
beer. He encouraged people to drink beer instead of water during the
Plague. Indeed, the Plague suddenly disappeared once his word spread
(though some suggest because beer was boiled in the brewing process, it
would have been safer than water, which had previously spread the
infection.) When Saint Arnold died in 640, the citizens of his hometown
carried his body from Remiremont to Metz for reburial in their church.
On this journey, another miracle occurred – when the weary porters
stopped to share their only mug of beer, they discovered the mug never
The most expensive beer in the world? It’s
called “Tutankhamen” and is prepared according to the recipe recovered
by a group of University of Cambridge archaeologists in Queen
Nefertiti’s Temple of the Sun in Egypt. It costs US $52 a bottle, and is
produced in limited and numbered edition.
The pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer.
Although they planned to continue down the east coast, the Mayflower's
log explains the passengers "were hasted ashore and made to drink water
that the seamen might have the more beer". On their arrival, the
pilgrims immediately built a common house, which included a brewery.
In ancient times, monks who
fasted or abstained from solid food subsisted on beer.
The music for "The Star Spangled
Banner" was derived from a British drinking song called "Anacreon".
Carlos V: This emperor was the first beer importer, and one of its most
illustrious drinkers and aficionados. It’s said that even in his
retirement in Yuste, he kept a Flemish brewer in his reduced entourage.
Assyrian tablets from 2000 BC stated that Noah was carrying beer aboard
The United States two-dollar bill features three brewers: George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams. In fact, George
Washington installed a brewhouse on his grounds at Mount Vernon.
Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the
rim of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the
whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired
by this practice.
Beer wasn't sold in bottles until 1850. Beer lovers would visit their
local tavern with a special bucket, have it filled and then begin the
merry journey home.
Ale was brewed for centuries without hops. Before the 1400s, ale was
flavoured with herbs such as rosemary and thyme. Yet the antiseptic
quality of hops helped to preserve ale from spoiling and later became a
vital part of its flavour.
In the Czech Republic, beer is
cheaper than Coke. A half litre at the local pub costs just 30 cents
(10.50 CZK) while a half litre of Coke costs 85 cents (30 CZK). Beer is
a little more expensive than club soda (which costs 29 cents, or 10 CZK,
for a half litre).
A labeorphilist is a
collector of beer bottles.
Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass
A tegestologist is a
collector of beer mats.
A flood of beer swept
through the streets of St. Giles, England, on 17 October 1814. Caused by
a rupture in a brewery tank containing 3500 barrels of beer, the tidal
wave killed nine people and demolished two houses.
Universities in Europe and America from the 1300s through the 1700s had
in-house breweries to provide beer to the students. Harvard had its own
brew house in 1674 and five beer halls, each burned down by rioting
The first six-pack of beer was produced by the Pabst Brewery in the
1940s. The brewery conducted numerous studies, which found six cans were
the ideal weight for the average housewife to carry home from the store.
Ancient Egyptians brewed beer in just three days, due to the hot
climate. Served as a still fermenting cereal mash, they would drink it
through straws from a communal bowl.
eleventh-century England, a bride would distribute ale to her wedding
guests in exchange for donations to the newlyweds. This brew, known as
Bride Ale, is the origin of the word 'bridal'.
method of checking a beer’s quality is the way in which the foam adheres
to the side of the glass after each sip. Beer connoisseurs call this
3000 BC, the Egyptians were brewing at least six different types of
1888: Citizens of Munich took to the streets and rioted after a beer
price increase was announced.
1740, Admiral Vernon of the British fleet decided to water down the
navy's rum. The unhappy sailors nicknamed the Admiral 'Old Grog', after
his wool grogram coats. The term 'grog' soon began to mean the watered
down drink itself.
Czechs drink the most beer in the world per capita – an average of 160
litres a year per person.
olde England, town inns paid a government tax known as a 'scot' for
serving beer. Beer lovers who left town to drink at rural pubs were said
to be drinking 'scot free'.
Root Beer was origionally called
Root Tea, however the name was changed to Root Beer to get more people
to take interest in it.
Beer recipes have been found on Babylonian clay tablets from over 6000
Guinness sells an average of 7
million glasses a day.
The British Army supplied its men with a cash allowance for beer,
considered a vital nutritional staple on long overseas missions. With
this allowance of one penny, soldiers enjoyed six pints of ale every
1587: The first beer is brewed in the New World at Sir Walter Raleigh's
colony in Virginia, but the colonists send requests to England for
beer a day... Beer was used to treat over 100 illnesses in Egypt, 1600
In the 13th century, King Wenceslas
convinced the Pope to revoke an order banning the brewing of beer in
Czech territories (no wonder he was known as 'Good King Wenceslas).
Egypt, two containers of beer were the minimum wage for a day's labour.
American beer is predominately
made from rice. That is why it tastes so light compared to foriegn
beers. This is purely an American invention to increase profits as they
hoped a lighter beer would also draw women to purchase.
Beer was often served for breakfast in medieval England.
was customary in the 13th century to baptize children with beer.