Beer – what is worth knowing about it?

Beer – what is worth knowing about it?
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Beer, an alcoholic beverage that was the predecessor of beer, appeared in human history much earlier than the wheel, cuneiform or the alphabet. Nowadays, beer is the most popular alcoholic drink and many people, especially men, are passionate about its taste, are interested in the way it is made and sometimes dream about brewing their own beer. What should we know about it?

Beer in history

It turns out that an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain was drunk as early as in Neolithic times when people began to lead a sedentary lifestyle. However, it is believed that beer may have been consumed as early as in the Palaeolithic era

What was the first beer?

We do not know much about the absolute beginnings. In Sumer around 3500 BC it was probably prepared in such a way that spelt bread was poured over water in clay pots. Such a drink was obviously cloudy. Over time, more different types of beer were made – including dark and red beers. In ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, beer was much thicker than modern beverages and contained relatively little alcohol. For this reason, it was an important part of the diet

Beer in Poland

The true renaissance of beer was connected with the activity of monasteries which brewed the dark and thick beverage – not too strong and perfectly suited to supplement a diet. In the 12th and 13th centuries, court and city breweries became increasingly popular. Beer was to be so important in the menu of the Piast dynasty that in the 13th century Prince Leszek the White refused to take part in the Crusade on the grounds that there was no beer in Palestine, so it was impossible to live there

What characteristics must beer have?

Beer is defined as a beverage created by fermenting alcoholic wort through the action of yeast. The fermentation process and the use of yeast are the most essential and characteristic for the creation of beer. What are its basic ingredients?

  • Water – accounts for as much as 90% of beer. Its quality translates into the qualities of the beverage, such as harmonious taste. The parameters of the water used also determine the extent to which we will feel the characteristic bitterness;
  • malt – grains of grain that are sprouted and dried or otherwise prepared, give beer its flavor and determine its color. The amount of sugar and alcohol also depend on the malt used;
  • yeast – top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting yeast is used. They saturate the beverage with alcohol and influence the type of beer;
  • hops: Hops are used to add bitterness and a variety of flavours to beer.

Is beer made from hops?

A popular belief that beer is brewed from hops is in fact not true. It is only an additive which, however, has a huge impact on the flavour and aroma of the resulting beverage

How much alcohol can beer have?

On average, it is about 5% alcohol content. Non-alcoholic beers have less than 0.5%. What is the upper limit? The Scottish beer Snake Venom has 67.5%.

Types of beers by type of fermentation

Bottom-fermented beers

They ferment for a long time, at temperatures between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius. These include:

  • classic lager,
  • koźlak,
  • pilsner,
  • march beer.

Top-fermented beers

They ferment at a temperature that is significantly higher. It ranges from 16 to 30 degrees Celsius. This type of beers can include:

  • wheat beer,
  • ale,
  • porter,
  • stout.

Spontaneous fermentation beers

Fermentation takes place thanks to wild yeasts and bacteria. An example of such a beverage would be lambic, for example

The most expensive beers in the world

How much should a beer cost? Everyone is able to spend a different amount on this beverage, but there are people who are able to appreciate it very much. Nail Brewing’s Antarctic Nail Ale is a beer that was brewed using water from Antarctica. It was created by members of an organization fighting to save whales – the proceeds from the sale of 30 bottles of this uncommon beverage went to that very cause. How much did you have to pay for a bottle of 0.5 l? Prices ranged from $800 to $1815.

Main photo: Sonja Maric/

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