It goes without saying that beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. With its bubbly effervescence and tantalizing flavor, it is easy to see why!
One thing you might not know is that it is also one of the oldest beverages we consume. Evidence suggests that it was consumed as far back as 13,000 years ago.
Generally speaking, beer is any alcoholic beverage made by fermenting grain. That said, the most popular grain base in the world is barley. Some folks use sorghum, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, maize aka corn, and more.
And just like there are lots of ways to brew beer, there are lots of styles and regional types these days. The two main categories or classes of beer: Ales and Lagers. Underneath each of those umbrellas are different styles.
Keeping track of all of them can be a bit dizzying, but here is a sampling:
- IPA (and double and triple IPA)
- Brown Ale
Both of the main classes have similar main ingredients. The difference between the two has to do with the temperatures they are fermented at. Ales are fermented at higher temperatures while lagers are fermented at lower temperatures.
Beer is great in the glass, but it is also a wonderful ingredient to include in your cooking. It can make a soup, stew, or sauce much more dynamic and give it a depth of flavor much like wine can in the kitchen. Some, like Guinness, are great for sweets.
Here are some amazing recipes using beer:
- Beer Buttered Shrimp
- Guinness Chocolate Cake
- Beer Battered Onion Rings
- Beer Can Chicken
- Pub Cheese Dip
Is beer good for your health?
This one is highly contested and I feel like the information changes on it every week. That said, it “may” be good for you. Experts often agree that beer is more of a “food” than a drink. If you have ever heard someone referring to it as “liquid bread,” that is why. They have some good-for-you nutrients in them depending on the type and brand.
On top of this, some studies have shown that it may build stronger bones, boost brain power, maybe just maybe make your heart a little healthier if you have a pint or two a week.
Does beer make you drunk?
This depends on the brand, the person, and how many they are drinking! Each variety and brand varies in the alcohol percentage. Most beer has an average of 4-5% alcohol by volume. There are some that weigh in at 8-10% and less common are those that are 20% or more.
It is always a good idea to check the label for the alcohol by percentage or ABV and to drink in moderation.
Which is healthier for you, beer or wine?
From a strictly nutritional standpoint, beer has more nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants than wine or other spirits.
How is beer made?
This is a lengthy process and there are too many variables to go into the specifics of it here, but I can give you the general gist of how it happens.
The basic mix is barley (or another grain,) water, hops, and yeast. It really isn’t about mixing these four things together. It is more about a series of reactions that happen during the fermenting process.
This series of events takes the grain and converts it into fermentable sugars. Those sugars feed the yeast and let it multiply and thrive. While it is doing that, it then converts the sugar into alcohol.