Virtually everyone loves beer. In fact, it is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Tea and water are its only competition. But, have you ever stopped to consider when/where this delicious (and intoxicating) drink was created?
In truth, it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of beer. But, it’s important to note that, ancient Mesopotamia has the distinction of being the oldest civilization (so far) where this magical brew was made. Archaeologists have found 10,000-year-old ceramic containers that contained the residue.
Cool fact, am I right? And, that’s not the only interesting thing about those delectable ales. Other curious tidbits include:
The Eyes Have It!
Japanese brewers don’t believe that visual impairment should keep you from enjoying your favorite beers. So, to ensure this never happens, many of their sodas and beers are stamped with Braille lettering to announce their contents.
One Man To Rule Them All
The majority of beer labels in the USA are approved by one person in the Tax and Trade Bureau section of the Treasury Department. He goes by the name of Kent “Battle” Martin and his immense power means that he is equally reviled and revered by the brewers who must succumb to his whims.
Why all the scary for one man? It’s simple – Battle’s job is to make sure that every single beer label is appropriate and free from misleading text and/or images. And, since he’s job makes him the only one in charge of this aspect of a multibillion-dollar industry, his word is law.
All this power hasn’t gone to his head, however, Mr. Martin is said to be very detail-oriented and highly dedicated to his job. On the other hand, this also means that he’s a stickler for the rules, no matter how inane they may seem. For instance, he once rejected a beer label because it had the image of a playing card on it. To Mr. Battle, this image implied that the beer in question contained heart healthy benefits and was, therefore, misleading.
Jimmy Carter Was the Home Brewer’s President
Prior to the late seventies, if you brewed wine or beer at home, with an alcohol content over .5%, you would be breaking the law. But, once President Carter repealed this Prohibition-era legislation, home brewers were free to get creative. In fact, because the vast majority of craft brewers started out in their homes, there are some who say he had a hand in shaping the industry.
Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy, was a beer lover in his own right. A brewery even asked him to endorse an up-and-coming selection dubbed Billy Bear. The only problem – Billy Beer was actually quite horrible. The company that made it folded in less than a year after gaining the endorsement.
Beer Can Keep You Hydrated During a Nuclear Disaster
In the late fifties, the United States government conducted an experiment to see which beverages would be safe to drink in the event of a nuclear explosion. To conduct the experiment, experts used a variety of beers and sodas and detonated atomic bombs roughly 1,000 feet away from them.
After testing the beverages, they found that beer was only mildly radioactive albeit having a funny taste. In other words, in the event of an atomic bomb explosion, beer can be considered a practical short-term plan to remain hydrated. It may taste a little weird, but that’s probably the last thing on your mind if you’ve just survived a nuclear blast.
Samuel Adams (not Clark Kent) is Superman’s True Name
Hops, while not essential for creating beer, are that unique element that gives our favorite selections their flavor and depth – especially IPAs. But, did you know that there was a hops shortage back in 2008? This calamity raised prices and caused some companies (especially local craft breweries) to go out of business. As you can imagine, it had the industry scrambling to find an effective solution to the crisis.
In comes the Samuel Adams Brewery to save the day! It seems that the brewery had plenty of hops to spare AND was willing to sell their surplus to struggling brewers. In other words, they essentially saved the craft beer industry.
My President Brews Beer
Thanks to President Obama, the White House is now home to a pretty successful brewery. Back in 2012, he and some of his staff members created the White House Honey Brown ale i.e. the first beer brewed on presidential grounds and with honey from a South Lawn beehive. What’s more? It was delicious! It’s success paved the way for two other ales that were recently added to the roster.
There’s no denying it – beer has a long and storied history. Furthermore, the interesting facts listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. What beer facts do you know? Share your knowledge in the comments section.