Here are two words which best describe beer – damn good.
Today is International Beer Day, and since it is smack dab in the middle of summer, the words of Canadian writer Hugh Hood come to mind:
Nothing ever tasted better than a cold beer on a beautiful afternoon with nothing to look forward to than more of the same.
Sometime on this first Friday of August, I suggest we all have a cold one. For me that will be a bottle of Belgium brewed Stella Artois at the Fan Club Sports Bar in Lakewood, Washington.
Some History About Beer
About 13,000 years ago, nomadic hunter-gatherers settled near rivers and began to grow grain. This presented the possibility of fermentation, which in turn led to the creation of the first beer.
The beverage grew in importance, and around 1800 BC a Sumerian writer wrote a “Hymn to Ninkasi,” a rather lengthy poem that includes the oldest recipe for beer known to humans.
The Sumerians were not the only ones to make beer. The Babylonians, Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all created a draught to suit their tastes.
Speaking of the Romans, they came to believe that wine was a gift from the god Bacchus; when that happened they turned their attention to that other stuff made from grapes.
The German tribes north of the Roman Empire thought otherwise; as early as 800 BC they used barley and/or wheat to create a concoction that the Roman historian Tacitus haughtily described as “a brew which has only a very far removed similarity to wine.”
A thousand years later in the 9th century, the Catholic Church became involved in the beer business, and abbeys were vital in refining brewing methods.
By the 1800s, those techniques were furthered by Louis Pasteur’s discovery of yeast’s role in the fermentation process and the invention of pasteurization. Coupled with the beginning of bottling, refrigeration and the rise of railroads, millions of Americans could enjoy a cold one.
Which brings us to today.
In 2007, Jesse Avshalomov, a craft beer enthusiast, and his friends Aaron Araki, Evan Hamilton and Richard Hernande convinced a bar owner in Santa Cruz, California to host a day to honor beer.
“A group of friends and I decided that there needed to be a day in celebration of all things beer, a day in thanks to the people who produce and provide our favorite beverage,” wrote Avshalomov.
His idea immediately went global, and today it is being celebrated in over 1,000 cities and more than 100 countries.
How to Enjoy Beer Day
Enjoy a beer with your friends: Meet at your favorite watering hole for a beer or pick up a case and invite a few folks over.
Try a new beer: Why not? Try something you’ve never had before.
Attend a beer tasting or try a flight: Beer tastings are much like wine tastings; they are fun and educational.
6 Beers to Drink
In considering your celebratory choice of beer, here is a short list of the world’s more popular suds.
1. Corona: This Mexican brewed beer is refreshing, light and very drinkable. It complements most meals, too.
2. Yanjing: China’s number one selling beer, it is a smooth, clean and refreshing rice beer.
3. Heineken: You can’t miss the Dutch brewer’s green bottle with the red star on the label. The company likes to point out that its beer has been made better since 1873.
4. Budweiser: There’s a good reason it’s called the King of Beers. This one’s for you!
5. Skol: Crafted by a combination of British, Canadian, Swedish and Belgian breweries with the goal of creating thee international lager, it is sold almost entirely in Brazil.
6. Snow: Not well known outside of China, it is the top selling beer in the world in terms of volume. Like the bottle says, “Relax, it’s fine.”
And It’s Good for You
There are some benefits to moderate beer consumption to consider.
- Kidney Health: A moderate consumption of beer keeps them healthy! In a 2013 study, beer was found to reduce the risk of kidney stones by 41 percent.
- Lower Cholesterol: The fiber in beer reduces levels of LDL – the bad type – of cholesterol.
- Take Your Vitamins: A bottle of brew is full of vitamin B. One study found that beer drinkers have 30 percent higher levels than non-beer drinkers.
- Healthy Heart: Overall, moderate beer drinkers have a 40 to 60 percent reduced risk of heart attacks.
- Cold Medicine: Got the sniffles? Heat a bottle of beer in a double boiler and then add four small teaspoons of honey. What’s more, this medicine also provides relief from joint pain and boosts immunity.
- Skin Care: A beer every now and again makes skin more smooth and supple.
- Memory Loss: According to some studies, beer drinkers are less likely to experience Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than non-beer drinkers.
On this note, I will open the aforementioned bottle of Stella Artois and join all of you in a toast.
Enjoy Beer Day!