Sate your thirst for knowledge with these facts about beer‘s ancient origins, health benefits and surprising chemistry.
1. The oldest known recipe is for a 4,000-year-old beer made by the Sumerians.
2. In the 1980s, Anchor Brewing re-created these ancient Fertile Crescent suds.
3. Sumeria’s neighbors, the Egyptians, built the pyramids under the influence. Workers at Giza received about four liters of beer a day, according to Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
4. Beer (in part because it contains antimicrobial ethanol) was a healthier drink than polluted Nile river water.
5. Ethanol, the intoxicant in beer, is a powerful antiseptic, but not a good cold remedy. The optimal blood alcohol content to kill germs would be more than 60 percent. Alas, that’d kill you, too. (Fatal alcohol poisoning occurs between 0.40 and 0.50 percent.)
6. Salud! Researchers at the University of Western Ontario found that micronutrients called polyphenols in one 12-ounce (0.35-liter) bottle of beer create protective levels of plasma antioxidants that can prevent heart disease.
7. But at three bottles a day, the cardiovascular benefits of beer are reversed by the pro-oxidants your body creates as it metabolizes excess ethanol.
8. Another side effect, beer farts, might earn you an offer for a bung — the large cork that seals a cask’s bunghole to allow beer to ferment properly.
9. In Great Britain alone, 93,000 liters of beer are rumored to be lost each year in facial hair.
10. You might have known that fact if you were a beer expert, or cerevisaphile — a word derived from the Latin name of the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres, and vis, meaning strength.