I saw a post recently titled ‘9 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Ears’, and being very unfamiliar with my own ears, I decided to read it. Well, guess what? Of the 9 things I didn’t know about my ears, actually I knew 8 of those things. I did not know that the human eardrum is only three cell-layers thick. Did you?
So, being the hipster beer ‘writer’ that I am, I decided to be super creative, and change the word ‘Ears’ to ‘Beer’! How cool is that? Plus, it sort of makes this whole post relevant now, doesn’t it? (And you thought you were wasting your time here!)
Even cooler, we reached out to other beer geeks and asked them to share what they thought was the most interesting thing about beer.
Beer Tidbit #1 and #2 from Mike Reinheardt of Wilderness Brewing Co and Thank Heaven for Beer
What I have so say about beer is perhaps not obscure but I still find it unusual:
The ingredients that have made their way into beer have always fascinated me. Of course, many people already know that hops were not first used in beer until some time around the 11th century. Before that people used myrtle, bog mosses, dandelion, burdock root, marigolds, horehound, heather, mugwort, sweet gale, ground ivy, juniper, aniseed, caraway, ginger…dozens and dozens more could be listed. Some of these were blended into a gruit which bittered beer.
I also think it strange so think about what we still used in and to process our beer even today.
Diatomaceous earth (sometimes called kieselgur) is a good example. It is made up, among other things, of fossilized algae. Many brewers filter through it to clear out their pools. I personally find it strange that something used for pools, cat litter, dynamite, body fluid and toxic clean up, and several other things is something that we use to clean up our beer even today.
Another example of something we still use in beer to this day that is weird has to be isinglass. Often used in British cask ales for clarity, it is made from dried tropical fish swim bladders. There seems to be some fishy stuff going on here (bad pun, I know).
Factoid #3 from Leigh Norwood of Favourite Beers
‘The world’s oldest known written recipe is for Beer’.
Beer Oddity #4 from Adrian Tierney Jones, Secretary of the British Guild of Beer Writers.
…that there was a Bavarian Pale Stout advertised for sale in 1843, brewed by Beamish!
Weird Beer Facts # 5 and #6 from Peter of Simply Beer
I always liked that the original version of Reinheistgebot was missing yeast. It was only added in the 1900’s!
There are more calories in Bud then in Guinness. (actually this is a favorite of mine)
Lucky #7 adds to #2 and is from Rob Walster – landlord of the Prince of Wales (a fine Real Ale pub)
“How did anyone discover that if you dried the swim bladder of south American fish and then rehydrated it , it would make yeast drop out of suspension therefore making the beer clear. What’s more strange no one knows the real reason why it does this, they know it is to do with electrolysis but that’s all.”
Beer Trivia #8 is from Alex Barlow, author of the All Beer Experience
“Worldwide, beer outsells wine everywhere except France, Italy and Bulgaria.”
(and we’re working on France & Italy!)
At #9, Nate of Bieradventures.com and The Brew Club offers this bit of interesting beer information.
In Bavaria, Beer is considered a food and not an alcohol, due to it’s nutritional value and that back in the medieval days beer had a longer shelf life than bread. Thus it is taxed nationally in Germany as a food and avoids alcohol tariffs and it remains cheap as chips.
#10 ‘most interesting thing about beer’ was submitted by our own Lee Salawich.
The one fact about beer that is most interesting to me is the wide range of styles, flavors, and varieties. There are lagers, stouts, porters, ales, saisons, etc; beers that are gold and amber and brown and black and red, fruity beer, bitter beer, and all flavors in between and everyone of these multitudes is classified under the wide umbrella of “beer.” And everyone begins with the same basic ingredients, water, malt, hops, and yeast.
From our own Bob the Brit, we offer our #11 most interesting thing about beer.
“On January 1st 1876, after a loyal employee had waited overnight outside the registrar’s office, the Bass Red Triangle was the first trademark to be registered under the UK’s new Trade Mark Registration Act; registered trade mark number 1. In 1882 the French impressionist painter Manet immortalised the brand when he featured the bottles in his painting “Bar at the Folies-Bergère”
My own two cents, and #12 interesting beer fact… (Scott)
I was recently reading an interview with Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery fame. He was talking about how the quality of beer has really improved over the years – and how some very interesting ingredients used to be found in beer that certainly surprised me!
Here’s a couple of examples – and I quote directly from the link above…
…”in the mid-1800s, porter—which was the great beer style of its day, especially in England—was in fact pumped full of drugs. So the same way that you had Coca Cola in the United States with cocaine in it, well, in England, porter was full of a drug called Cocculus indicus, which has a toxin in it that rendered people senseless.”
and one more…
“There are classic old tricks that most people haven’t heard of, but I already had. For example, you would take a beer that’s 3% and tell somebody it was 10%, and the way you would trick them is to put in a little bit of chili pepper. You would get this sort of warming sensation in your chest and you’d say, “Woah, that stuff is really strong!” and the guy would get paid for this very strong, special beer when in fact, he had been served something quite light.”
Pretty neat, huh? What do you think is the most interesting thing about beer? Why not share the love and add you own to the comments below?