Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beer Facts and Trivia



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The London Beer Flood happened on 16 October 1814 in the parish of St Giles, London, England. At the Meux and Company Brewerty on Tottenham Court Road a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610,000 L) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to succumb in a domino effect. As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470,000 L) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, trapping teenage employee Eleanor Cooper under the rubble. Within minutes neighbouring George Street and New Street were swamped with alcohol, killing a mother and daughter who were taking tea, and surging through a room of people gathered for a wake. In total, 9 people died in the beer tsunami. 


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It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month", or what we know today as the "honeymoon". 


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According to a diary entry from a passenger on the Mayflower, the pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth Rock, rather than continue their destination to Virginia, due to lack of beer. 


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The ancient Babylonians were the first to brew. In fact they took their beer so seriously, if you brewed a bad batch your punishment was to drown in it 

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After consuming a bucket or two of vibrant brew they called aul, or ale, the Vikings would head fearlessly into battle, often without armor or even shirts. In fact, "berserk" means "bare shirt" in Norse, and eventually took on the meaning of their wild battles. 

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In 1963, Jim Whitaker became the first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. A can of Seattle's own Rainier Beer made the ascent with him. 


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The word "bridal" comes from 19th century Englishmen, who took out their mates for a final "Bride Ale" the day before their wedding. 


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The term 'toddlers' originated in England. There were impurities in the drinking water that disallowed the water to be used for drinking. A common alternative drink was beer (it was cheap, plentiful and the water used to make it was treated during the initial boiling during brewing). Toddlers, just weaning off of mothers milk were unaccustomed to the effects of beer. This coupled with the fact that they were just learning how to walk really made them toddle, meaning "to run or walk with short, unsteady steps," c.1600, Scottish and northern British, 

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The first consumer protection law ever written was enacted over beer by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in 1516. It was a purity law limiting the ingredients of beer to barley, hops and water. 

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Monks brewing beer in the Middle Ages were allowed to drink five quarts of beer a day. 


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Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was elected in 1932 because of his promise to end Prohibition. 


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In the 11th century, Arnold of Soissons, a bishop in the Benedictine St. Medard's Abbey in Soissons, France, began to brew beer. He encouraged the locals to drink beer instead of water for its health benefits (beer was healthier than water mainly because it was boiled and thus sterilised from pathogens).  He has been made a saint with July 18 being St Arnold's Day.  He is the patron saint of brewers.


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The first references to beer dates to as early as 6,000 BC. The very first recipe for beer is found on a 4,000-year-old Sumerian tablet containing the Hymn to Ninkasi, a prayer to the goddess of brewing. 

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Centuries ago in England, pub visitors used a novel innovation that enabled them to get their beer served quickly. They used mugs with a whistle baked into the rim, the whistle being used to summon the barmaid. It has been suggested this practice gave birth to the phrase "wet your whistle." 


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During the European Middle Ages and the Renaissance, beer was often a nutritional necessity and was sometimes used in a medicinal setting. It could be flavored with almost anything, from the bark of fir trees to fresh eggs and thyme. Everyone drank beer, including children. 

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President Theodore Roosevelt took more than 500 gallons of beer with him on an African safari. 


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According to The Code of Hammurabi of ancient Babylonia (c. 1750 B.C.) a merchant could be put to death for diluting beer. 

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In Medieval Europe, brewing and baking went together. Thus women were the first European brewers and were often called ale wives. 


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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. 

In the late 1800s, fresh beer was carried from the local pub to home by a small, galvanized pail which were known as growlers. The term "growler" is rumored to come about when the beer sloshed around the pail, it created a rumbling sound as the CO2 escaped through the lid.

Before World War II, the city kids brought covered buckets of draft beer from a local bar or brewery to workers at lunch time or to their parents at dinner time, a practice called "rushing the growler."


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Beer, as all alcoholic drinks, is made by fermentation caused by bacteria feeding on the yeast cells, and then defecating. This bacterial excrement is called alcohol. 

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All beers are made as ales or lagers; ale and lager are the two main branches (classifications) of the beer family tree and are closely related branches at that. Ales are the older, distinguished, traditional brews of the world, predating lagers by thousands of years, whereas lagers are a relatively modern creation, less than 200 years old.

The branch of the beer family tree — ale or lager — corresponds to the type of yeast used to ferment the beer. Ales are traditionally fermented at warmer temperatures (55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 12 to 21 degrees Celsius), while lagers are typically fermented at cooler temperatures (38 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 to 10 degrees Celsius).  The cooler fermentation and aging temperatures used with lager yeast slow down the yeast activity and require a longer maturation time. The cold environment inhibits the production of fruity aromas (called esters) and other fermentation byproducts common in ales. This process creates the lager’s cleaner taste. Long aging (or lagering) also acts to mellow the beer.

Ales generally include more robust-tasting beers; tend to be fruity and aromatic; include more bitter beers; have a pronounced, complex taste and aroma and are enjoyed warmer (45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, 7 to 12 degrees Celsius).  Lagers generally include lighter-tasting beers; tend to be highly carbonated or crisp;  tend to be smooth and mellow; have a subtle, clean, balanced taste and aroma and are served fairly cool (38 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 to 7 degrees Celsius)


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Modern breathalysers work on a clever electrochemical principle. The subject's breath is passed over a platinum electrode, which causes the alcohol to bind with oxygen, forming acetic acid. In the process it loses two electrons, a process that sets up a current in a wire connected to the electrode. The higher the concentration of alcohol in the breath, the greater the electrical current, which can be read by a simple meter to indicate intoxication levels. 

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In the mid 70's, Australians were the 3rd biggest beer drinker in the world. (behind Germany and Belgium). In the late 90's, they don't even get into the top ten! 


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Beer is the second most popular beverage in the world, coming in behind tea. 

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The oldest known written recipe is for beer. 

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The longest bar in the world is the 684 foot long New Bulldog in Rock Island, IL. 


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In Japan, beer is sold in vending machines, by street vendors and in the train stations. 

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If you collect beer bottles you're a labeorphilist. 

A beer lover or enthusiast is called a cerevisaphile. 

Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass.

The brew master in Latin is a braxator.

Meadophily is the study of beer bottle labels.

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