Beer is the most popular and widely-consumed alcoholic drink and the third-most-popular drink overall, next to water and tea. That’s already one fact about your favorite beverage. Beer is great with everything – burgers, pizza, or a great home-cooked meal – and of course, it’s great for drinking at parties. Being able to sound smart at a party is a life skill anyone must-have. And while you’re drinking beer, it’s fun to throw a “did you know” statement to someone, hoping to break the ice.
Here are some interesting facts about beer that you might not know:
1. Beer is as old as history, and humans were drinking beer 5,000 years ago.
Beer drinking and brewing predate written language. For the Sumerians who lived in Mesopotamia, there was already a beer to drink. None of it included hops, so it probably didn’t taste that good, but according to studies, people had their pick of eight different wheat-based and eight various barley-based beers.
2. Abraham Lincoln taxed beer to help fund the Civil War.
Honest Abe had some budget issues back in the day, especially since fighting in the South isn’t cheap. Also, it turns out that many German and German-American soldiers drank German-style beers from American brewers in between the war. Non-German soldiers also seemed to enjoy the lager and drove the number of breweries in America to peak in the 1870s.
3. Beer cans were invented in 1933.
There was a brewery in Newark, New Jersey, that teamed up with a canning company to package Krueger Special Beer in 1933. It was the first-ever beer to be packaged in a can.
4. Brewmeister’s Armageddon is the strongest beer in the world.
The alcohol content by volume (ABV) of this beer is around 65%. Typically, beers are under 10% ABV, so you can imagine how stomach-burning this Scottish beer is.
5. The most expensive beer was sold for over $5k.
In 2015, a 140-year-old bottle of beer brewed for an Antarctic expedition was sold for $5,131. This beer was called Allsopp’s Arctic Ale, and it isn’t even drinkable. However, it didn’t stop a rich man from the UK from buying this 22-oz. ale.
6. Snow is the world’s best-selling beer.
It’s not real snow – it’s the name of the beer brewed for the Chinese market. Not surprisingly, it’s named as a best-seller because there are over 1 billion people in China, and it’s also the world’s largest beer market by volume.
7. Oktoberfest originally started as a festival celebrating the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria.
Beer lovers are particularly aware of Oktoberfest. It’s a festival of music, food, and of course, beer. It’s held over a two-week period, where millions of people around the world celebrate and enjoy the booze fest. But for your information, this festival originated on October 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The crown prince later became King Louis I.
8. New Hampshire drinks more beer than any state in the US.
If you think about what state drinks the most beer, you may think it’s Nevada, because it houses Las Vegas, which serves so much booze every day. But if the US had a drinking competition, New Hampshire drinks more beer per person than any other state. Residents of the country have a total beer consumption of around 41.8 million gallons of beer annually, with an annual per capita consumption of 40.6 gallons of beer.
9. The average US citizen over 21 drinks 26.9 gallons of beer.
In 2017, the average American consumed 26.9 gallons of beer. However, the United States doesn’t even make the top 10 in terms of overall beer drinking.
10. During the Prohibition, people were prescribed medical beer.
But there’s no such thing as “medical beer.” Brewers, physicians, and imbibers only made it up and used it to try and skirt Prohibition’s laws. It worked, as doctors could prescribe beer as of March 1921. It lasted until November that year when Congress changed its mind and banned it again. Then, no one ever had a beer again in the US.
11. A 15-feet high tidal wave of beer killed eight people in London.
In 1814, there was a terrible disaster called the London Beer Flood when barrels of porter flooded the neighborhood of St. Giles Rookery. The bizarre industrial accident happened when a 22-foot tall wooden vat of fermenting porter burst, and the pressure destroyed another vessel, releasing around 128,000 to 323,000 imperial gallons of beer.
12. Niels Bohr was awarded beer along with his Nobel Prize.
After winning the Nobel Prize, famous physicist Niels Bohr gained more than just fame, money, and medal for his work in 1922 in quantum mechanics. He also received a gift that keeps on giving – a house with a free beer tap. This house provides him unlimited beer because it’s built adjacent to the Carlsberg brewery.
13. The Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids under the influence of alcohol.
We all marvel about how beautifully the pyramids of Giza were built, given that these were constructed pre-technology. But perhaps, the builders had a secret: beer. According to an archeologist from the University of Pennsylvania, the workers at Giza were paid with a daily ration of beer.
14. Alabama and Mississippi only legalized homebrewing in 2013.
Homebrewing is done in most states for years now, and it’s the cornerstone of the craft beer movement in America. Many homebrewers had their success, and some opened up microbreweries – which later become multi-million to billion-dollar companies. But the laws in AL and MS were outdated, and they only legalized homebrewing in 2013.
15. California has the most breweries in the US.
As of 2017, California has the most breweries in the United States, with a total number of 1,106 breweries. It’s no wonder since it’s one of the largest states in the country. Washington is the distant second, with 499 breweries. After that, it’s Pennsylvania and Colorado. If you can’t make it there for a visit, there are newer options like virtual beer tasting that have popped up as of recent.
16. There is a phobia for fear of an empty glass.
The term is cenosillicaphobia. This is a terrifying kind of phobia since it ushers the person into alcoholism and tons of health problems.
17. Craft beer has health benefits.
Yes, that’s right. Craft beer has high levels of silicon, which promotes strong bones. Also, it can prevent kidney stones. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, drinking a bottle of beer each day reduces the risk of developing kidney stones by 40%.
18. Belgium offers the most number of individual brands of beer.
Out of all the countries in the world, you can find the most beer brands in Belgium. Here, you can find around 400 different brands.
19. The term “rule of thumb” is popularized by beer brewers.
This term came to existence because of brewers who used to stick their thumb into the mix to know when the temperature is right for adding yeast.
20. The foam on top of the beer is an indicator of its quality.
Your beer must always produce a foamy head. This foam is formed by a complex carbon-dioxide reaction. If it’s missing, that means the beer is flat and bland-tasting.