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Let their tongues wag in derision, while you clink your beer mugs louder. In fact go ahead and become a beer connoisseur. From the history of beer, to Belgian brewing secrets, to the unbelievable health benefits of beer, we've got you covered. Read on…
Did you know that beer originated in the Middle East? And there's a woman behind the brew! That's right, beer originated in present-day Iraq, part of the Mesopotamian Empire. Recorded history, backed by excavated Sumerian tablets, credit a woman for beer - the gorgeous princess Ninkasi. Overtime, the beverage gained ground across the World, particularly Western Europe.
While the facts favour the beauty, age-old Flemish myths tell us of a poor lad named Gambrinus. But even in legend, a woman is the inspiration for this liquid gold. While Gambrinus toils as a glass maker's apprentice, he falls madly in love with his master's daughter, Flanderine of Flanders. But the girl breaks his heart. Shattered, he makes a deal with the devil: a recipe for a drink to numb his pain, in exchange for his soul. And that's how the brew was born.
While jargon is aplenty, we'll drill it down to essentials. There are just two types of beer: ales and lagers.
1. Ales are made of a type of yeast that floats at the top AKA top-fermenting yeast. This type of beer is fermented at warmer temperatures for shorter amount of time. In ancient times, when there were no refrigerators, this was what our ancestors downed.
2. Lagers are newer in comparison to ales since they need to be fermented for longer at cooler temperatures. Lagers use yeast that sits at the bottom of the barrel, or, bottom fermenting yeast.
But how will your tongue know the difference?
The lower temperatures for lager means the yeast produces less aroma and fewer flavour compounds resulting in a crisp, clean taste. Ales, on the other hand have a more complex and robust flavour.
Apart from the ales and lagers, you also have hybrids: a mix of ale and lager
So, what's craft beer?
Craft beer essentially refers to any type of beer brewed in small batches. It could be an ale, a lager, or a hybrid.
There's no sin in earning an honest living. And that's exactly what lead to the invention of ‘Trappist Beer’. The trappists are cloistered monastics that follow the order of St. Benedictine. One of their cardinal rules is ‘to live by the work of their hands.’ In the 6th century, when Europe was overrun by Barbarians, these ingenious monks lived by these words, and used their abbeys to brew beer. Today, trappist beer is rare, brewed at just 11 monasteries across the globe: 6 in Belgium, 2 in Netherlands, and 1 each in Austria, Italy and USA. It remains revered for its fantastic flavour, and intriguing past.
Belgium is often referred to as the unofficial ‘beer capital of the World’. That's because she dishes out unique beers. What's her secret? A history of annexations! The Dutch bought over herbs and spices from their colonies; the French brought with them their little tricks - that of using fruits in beer; and the Germans added precision. All of which went to into making the most delicious brews in the World.
To get a taste of them, head to Delirium Cafe in Brussels, which bagged a Guinness Record in 2004, for the most beers offered by a cafe, standing at a whopping 2004!
Research has found that a flavonoid found in hops - the main ingredient of beer - can reduce cholesterol levels, and protect your heart. Not only that some researchers also believe that hops have miraculous fat-busting properties. So much for a beer belly! They are also widely known for their amazing antioxidant properties. So, drink up!
1. Dirty Pint: Everyone pours some of their beer in a communal mug. Flip a coin. The first one to call the correct answer takes a swig.
2. Beer Pong: Take a bunch of glasses and fill them up. Form two teams. Each team takes a shot at trying to shoot a ping-pong ball into the cups. Hit it right, and the losers buy your team a tumbler.
3. Geeks Who Drink: How many beer brands can you name in 60 seconds? The winner gets a pint.
So here was a little something to get you started. If some men think women drinking beer is scandalous, let’s at least give them the scandal of their life!
Images: Giphy, Shutterstock