Today nothing is good for you. Don’t smoke, eat red meat or drink water from a hose. Even heroin is considered “bad.” When did this happen? You know what is good for you? Beer, at least in moderation – it’s a scientific fact (note: maybe not scientific, but studies have been done by guys wearing bow ties for sure). That’s one interesting fact of many about one of life’s simple pleasures: beer.
Some of us enjoy a cold one at a ball game on a hot day while others can’t wait to get home and crack open a tall boy and let the stress of the day drift away. Twenty years ago microbrews blew up the industry and now there are so many options and they are available everywhere. Gone are the days of choosing between Miller, Budweiser and Coors. Now you have craft lagers, India Pale Ales and fruit beers everywhere you look. Have you been to a Walgreen’s lately? At any given time they have at least four I.P.A. beers to choose from.
Beer is such a big part of our culture, yet there is a lot about its history we don’t even know. This list covers some of the more shocking facts. Did you know beer was used for currency during construction of one of the great wonders of the world? How about what really gives beer that “skunky” taste? We’ve got them covered as well as some others that will make you go “hmm.” Before you start, feel free to go to the fridge and grab a cold one. It’s okay, beer is good for you!
15. Beer Prevents Cardiac Disease and Cognitive Decline
Arteries get clogged as we age, alcohol helps keep the blood flowing as a natural thinner, same with red wine. Darker beers are better for this; the flavonoids in darker beer provide antioxidants and help reduce blood clots. Note that a lot of these studies seem to take place at the University of Wisconsin (because, Wisconsin), and that this only applies to one or two beers a day. Sorry “guy who knocks off a case of Blatz every night,” this doesn’t apply to you. Any good you are getting is negated by the negative effect on your liver and probably face (assuming anyone who drinks a case of Blatz a night gets into a lot of fights).
14. Light Makes Beer Go Bad
It’s true, light ruins beer. That is why beer bottles are dark. I know, not all beer bottles are dark. Well, if you have had your fair share of Heineken, Stella and Corona, you have experienced your share of “skunky” beer, and this is why. These beers allow a percentage to go “skunky” because their marketing in these non-dark bottles works for them. It’s true, for whatever reason a Corona coming out of a cooler of ice looks better to me than a bottle of Sam Adams. Obviously I’m quite a consumer and not proud of this. Okay, I’m over it, time for another Corona.
13. George Washington Had His Own Brewhouse
On the grounds of Mount Vernon the first President of the United States had his own brewhouse. This makes total sense if you ask me. These guys didn’t go to the office (or White House) they were involved in wars and who knows what behind-the-scenes beheadings. At night they all needed to kick back with a few pops. Good for them. My question is what were the names of the beers? Was there a Washington Ale? How about an Independence Porter? There probably was a beer called simply Sam Adams, obviously this beer was ahead of its time. I bet the founding fathers of the U.S. all got plastered and started trying on each other’s wigs. That had to happen, right?
12. Beer and Marijuana Are Related
My personal experience is that pot and beer don’t mix very well; one is a depressant and the other is definitely not a depressant. Of course large quantities of beer were part of the equation so it’s quite possible that moderation is a better combination. However, beer hops come from the same flower family as marijuana. Makes me think that at some point someone placed hops in a bong and gave it a whirl only to be incredibly disappointed, so angry he decided to boil water and throw those hops into the water along with grains and sugar. That will show those hops!
11. Egyptian Pyramid Workers Were Paid By Beer
So we’re going to build these things (workers look at triangles drawn in sand) and we are going to pay you in beer. How much beer do you need? How about a gallon a day? Workers immediately sign up. I’m not sure that’s exactly how it went down, but the Egyptian workers that built the pyramids were paid in beer, a gallon a day. Did they even know what they were building? Maybe the pyramids were originally supposed to be squares, but the workers were too drunk to care. One thing’s for sure, the hot desert sun could cure a hangover, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “sweating it out.”
10. During the Middle Ages, Beer Was Consumed More Than Water
This makes sense, because the alcohol killed off any bacteria and it’s not like there was any type of sophisticated plumbing or sewage disposal back then. Of course, anyone that has brewed beer knows it takes time. The brew process for even the simplest beer requires lots of boiling and then waiting for the beer to settle and age. Then again, it’s not like they were standing around checking their phones all day long. Bonus for drinking beer over water had to be the constant buzz. If you are going out day after day to kill for dinner it’s always a good idea to have a couple in you to take the edge off.
9. On Average, at Any Moment, 50 Million People Are Drunk
That’s just Florida! Just kidding, Florida (seriously though, a lot of people are always drunk in Florida). This particular fact applies worldwide and is not only based on beer consumption. Let’s face it, for a lot of people beer is a nightly gateway drink leading to stronger cocktails. The night starts off with “I think I’ll just have a beer” which turns into four beers, two glasses of wine, a vodka Martini, and then some type of Captain or Jack and Coke binge where you lose count after 10. We’re not even counting the tequila shots (Note: never count the tequila shots). What’s interesting is that a lot of these nights will end with “I’ll think I’ll just have one more beer before I go to bed.” Beer: The circle of life.
8. Amsterdam Pays People in Beer to Clean Their Streets
The Netherlands are already known as the “chilliest” country and Amsterdam is the epicenter of doing what makes you feel good. Given this, it’s no surprise that this city has paid their people in beer (5 cans), tobacco and cash (10 Euro or so) to clean their streets. The most shocking part of this is that they didn’t throw in a trip to the red light district for a freebie. Don’t be fooled though, given the amount of tourists, cleaning these streets is a pretty crummy job. Tourists are the worst. Now that I think about it, they should totally throw in a red light district freebie.
7. Russia Didn’t Classify Beer as Alcohol Until Recently
I once ate dinner with a Russian family and couldn’t believe the amount of vodka consumed with their meal. I slowly sipped my glass while refills were being issues all around. It wasn’t to get drunk; this is just part of their socialization. I was jealous and felt very out of place, you could have put a Zima in front of me and I would not have felt any worse. So I can see why beer (which is 3-7 percent alcohol) didn’t even hit the Russian radar until recently. Probably has something to do with the craft beers and their higher alcohol content. Still, don’t bring a six pack to a Russian party, bring vodka and expect to be drunk and not having to care about the smoothness of your pumpkin ale.
6. In Finland, First Prize Is Wife’s Weight in Beer at Wife Carrying Contest
I mean, this is awesome! While most of the world is involved in war, poverty and political strife, the Finnish have it all figured out. Obviously since finding out about this it has been a YouTube favorite. What’s the strategy here? Does the wife go on a diet so you can carry her faster or do you bulk up and ask the wife to put on a couple extra pounds to win more beer? Regardless, it’s a human body and that is a lot of beer! I just hope there isn’t some ritual where they drink the beer out of a bucket or something because that’s a waste of hard earned beer.
5. Beer Can Be Political
In Argentina, you can buy beers represented by the Peronist Party or the Radical Party, both featuring past leaders and figures of their respected parties. Now this is an idea I can get behind. Nothing says “I support your party” more than purchasing beer so you can forget about your problems. Can you imagine a Reagan Ale or Clinton Lager? Yes and yes. This should happen in every country. It would make politics a lot more enjoyable and also create a bench mark for future great leaders. “Sure, he won that war and stopped poverty, but is he worthy of his own beer?”
4. Nigerians Drink More Guinness than the Irish
The Irish are known for liking their pints of Guinness, but you will find more consumption in Nigeria. Imported beer is always more interesting, more exotic. In the States, some think ordering an Amstel Light is “fancy.” Truth is no one in the Netherlands is drinking this stuff. Also, did you know Guinness has fewer calories than most beers? It’s true, so you can drink more and stay fit. Fact: Men who drink lots of Guinness get way more girls. Okay, that is not a fact, actually they probably get less, unless they’re in Nigeria where everyone is throwing down Guinness pints and having wild sex parties. That just doesn’t happen inside the pubs of Ireland.
3. Beer Is Explosive
My first apartment, I shared a one bedroom with a roommate. He had the bedroom and I slept in the living room. We started making our own home brewed beer and would keep the bottled cases in the living room for weeks before they would be ready for consumption. One night I heard a “ting”, and before I knew it over a case of beer was exploding due to too much pressure (turns out I had no idea what I was doing, go figure). In 1814 a giant vat of beer exploded at a brewery in London, sending hundreds of thousands of gallons of beer into the streets. Some died from the “flood” while other flocked to the gutters to drink the beer. Unfortunately my story is not a happy one because I never did get to try my home brew.
2. Monks Are Master Brewers
For many, many years beer has been brewed in Monasteries by monks. They were never allowed to consume the beer, but sold it to make money and run the Monastery. Early on it was offered to travelers and then produced and sold. There are still breweries run by monks today. You can find them in Belgium and the Netherlands among other places. The most famous beer (still available today) is Chimay. If you’ve ever had several of these beers then you can agree with me that it is a somewhat of a religious experience. You praise God while drinking and then pray to God the next day.
1. World’s Longest Hangover Was Due to Beer
Supposedly a Scotsman once drank down 60 pints, resulting in a hangover over three weeks long. Now, obviously this is hard to prove, but let’s assume it happened. Better yet, here are some burning questions: How many times during his binge did his kilt rise up? Were there more than 100 lies told? Did he wear a path to the bathroom or did he just stop getting up to go? During the hangover, how many bottles of Gatorade (or Scottish equivalent during that time) were consumed? Did he wake up and immediately make a pan of bacon? Was he still wearing a kilt the next day when he woke up?
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