Beer

Schlenkerla Rauchbier, a traditional smoked beer, being poured from a cask

Beer is one of the oldest[1][2][3] and most widely consumed[4] alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea.[5] Beer is brewed from cereal grains—most commonly from malted barley, though wheat, maize (corn), and rice are also used. During the brewing process, fermentation of the starch sugars in the wort produces ethanol and carbonation in the resulting beer.[6] Most modern beer is brewed with hops, which add bitterness and other flavours and act as a natural preservative and stabilizing agent. Other flavouring agents such as gruit, herbs, or fruits may be included or used instead of hops. In commercial brewing, the natural carbonation effect is often removed during processing and replaced with forced carbonation.[7]

Some of humanity's earliest known writings refer to the production and distribution of beer: the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours,[8] and "The Hymn to Ninkasi", a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, served as both a prayer and as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.[9][10]

Beer is distributed in bottles and cans and is also commonly available on draught, particularly in pubs and bars. The brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. The strength of modern beer is usually around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (ABV), although it may vary between 0.5% and 20%, with some breweries creating examples of 40% ABV and above.[11]

Beer forms part of the culture of many nations and is associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling and pub games.

  1. ^ Richard Rudgley (1993). The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in Society. London: British Museum Press. ISBN 978-0714117362.
  2. ^ John P Arnold (2005). Origin and History of Beer and Brewing: From Prehistoric Times to the Beginning of Brewing Science and Technology. Cleveland, Ohio: Reprint Edition by BeerBooks. ISBN 978-0-9662084-1-2.
  3. ^ Ben McFarland (2009). World's Best Beers: One Thousand Craft Brews from Cask to Glass. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-4027-6694-7.
  4. ^ "Volume of World Beer Production". European Beer Guide. Retrieved 17 October 2006.
  5. ^ Max Nelson (2005). The Barbarian's Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe. Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-415-31121-2.
  6. ^ Barth, Roger. The Chemistry of Beer: The Science in the Suds, Wiley 2013: ISBN 978-1-118-67497-0.
  7. ^ "How Beer Is Carbonated and Why Is Beer Fizzy?". Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Beer Before Bread". Alaska Science Forum #1039, Carla Helfferich. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Nin-kasi: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer". Matrifocus 2006, Johanna Stuckey. Retrieved 13 May 2008.
  10. ^ Black, Jeremy A.; Cunningham, Graham; Robson, Eleanor (2004). The literature of ancient Sumer. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-926311-0.
  11. ^ "World's strongest beer reclaimed". BBC News. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2015.