Wednesday, 24 September 2014

10 Interesting Facts About Beer

I thought it prudent, for no particular reason, to present 10 interesting facts about the beverage that we all adore so much, and the very thing that may have heralded in civilisation as we know it….

1.       Depending on the style, there could be as many as 100 hop “cones” used to flavour a single pint of beer (this is especially true of India pale ales)
2.       Artificial colourings and flavourings as well as filtering agents are often found in large commercial brews – high fructose corn syrup is particularly common for colour and flavour, while isinglass (fish bladder extract) and beef collagen are sometimes used for clarification – all the more reason to drink craft beer
3.       There is a resounding difference between stout and porter: one features dark malted barley, the other features roasted barley – some two hundred years ago “porter” beer was most commonly consumed in the UK however a tax was levied on malted barley, so instead it was roasted to create a similarly dark beer
4.       During the Second World War, Lloyd George outlawed the production of roasted barley so as to conserve energy required for the production of the Vickers-Maxim gun (later to be known simply as the Vickers gun) – not wanting to upset the rebellious Irish, the law was not extended to Ireland, hence stout porter became less and less popular in the UK and more so in Ireland
5.       To date, the beer with the greatest ABV is / BrewDog’s “Sink the Bismarck!”, an imperial IPA that weighs in at a whopping 41% alcohol-by-volume - BrewDog also hold a slew of beer records besides
6.       “Lambic” beers are different in that they are produced by spontaneous fermentation: the wild yeasts and bacteria of the Zenne Valley, Belgium are utilised in lieu of typical brewers yeasts thus giving the beer its distinctive character
7.       Lagern, the original German word for lager, only refers to “cold storage”, a practice undertaken by many breweries – whether they are producing an ale or a Pilsner
8.       The fundamental difference between ales and Pilsners / lagers is the way in which the yeasts contained within are fermented: “top fermented” beers are typically ales: stored for only a matter of a few days or weeks, typically at warmer temperatures – “bottom fermented” beer: typically lager/Pilsner, stored for longer and at for longer periods of time with as minimal contact with air as is possible
9.       Evidence suggests that beer predates bread and it is said that the discovery of beer conceived civilisation as it is known
10.    If it exists, a special place is reserved for the brewers, the barwomen and barmen who serve us beer to enjoy and while away the drudgery of everyday life

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