Interesting facts about beer

Posted on 21 September, 2018

Beer, in its many versions, is one of the most popular drinks together with tea and coffee. Its characteristic bitter taste accompanies all sorts of moments everywhere in the world. Have you tried all the different styles?

Interesting facts about beer

Beer was invented in Iran about 7,500 years ago. To be precise, traces have been found in the ceramics excavated at Godin Tepe. It is thought that its inventors were the farmers of Egypt and Mesopotamia (now the Middle East). It seems that the construction of the pyramids was paid for with beer; hard work that in this way was done with a little more good humour.

Beer has the same composition as bread: fermented cereal flour mixed with water, along with some other ingredients. The amount of water is what determines the final result and this is why beer was once dubbed liquid bread. Hops are another key ingredient in beer-brewing because they provide the bitter flavour. Curiously enough, this plant comes from the Cannabinaceae family, which also includes cannabis.

Originally craft made, industrial production took over with the passing of time. Nonetheless, trends in alcoholic beverages are currently showing a return to the roots. So the goal is now craft production and new fruity flavours. It is worth mentioning that in Babylon a failed brew could be punished by death.

Thanks to its long life beer has been present in various armed conflicts, since it could be stored for a long time without going off. Although traditionally it is associated with men, originally women were the experts who made it. Nowadays, it is part of both men and women’s lives, with important social connotations.

Why do we like beer so much?

It seems that the reason why beer is the favourite alcoholic beverage in the whole world is dopamine. Studies have shown that drinking beer, or even just smelling it, activates the production of this neurotransmitter in the brain. The result? A pleasant feeling of wellbeing that we do not want to miss.

Just a sip of beer is enough to trigger the release of dopamine, which by means of a chain reaction reaches the so-called ventral striatum, an area of the brain that controls impulsivity. Consequently, the first beer is usually followed by more.

Types of beer around the world

Beer is divided into two groups depending on whether the fermentation temperature is high or low. Those in the high temperature group, known as ales, are made with barley. With a bitter taste and a somewhat higher alcohol content, they are served at room temperature or even warm. They are the favourites in Ireland, England, Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Some of the best known are the stouts (dark in colour), the porters, and the abbey brews – which have a smoother, fruitier flavour.

Low fermentation beers, generally known as lagers, usually have a lighter, yellowish colour and are served very cold. They are smoother, both in terms of flavour and aroma. This type of beer is preferred in the Czech Republic (the country with the highest beer consumption per capita in the world), Denmark, Spain and Germany.

There is a very wide variety of beers around the world, with China, for example, even influencing the beers made in Germany, because the tastes and preferences of the Chinese market have prompted the brewers to adapt their products to the demands of the Chinese public in order to obtain higher profits. A whole world of flavours and aromas waiting to be discovered and enjoyed, and above all they make us feel good.

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