Ten Amazing Facts About Beer

When it comes to trivia nights, or a friendly game of Trivial Pursuit, our very own mixologist and sommelier Kim Spence knows something about everything. Game night starts with a fight over who gets Kim on their team because he never lets us down with the fascinating facts he knows about all kinds of stuff. So, for St. Patrick’s Day we asked him to put away the manuals, to not geek out on the science of beer, and to share some of the most eyebrow raising facts he knows about this famous beverage. Presenting (in no particular order)… Ten Amazing Facts About Beer Beer is the oldest known written recipe. A poem called “Hymn to Ninkasi” from around 1800 BC contains the instructions for brewing beer. Beer is the 3rd most consumed beverage. Beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage, and third overall after water and then tea. Lager is the dominant style of beer in the world. Lagers keep better, and are produced in huge quantities by the major US breweries and enjoyed all over the world. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass. We promise we’re not making this up. The world’s strongest beer is “Brewmeister’s Snake Venom.” Most beer is about 5% ABV, this Scottish brew has 67.5% ABV. It’s made with smoked peat malt, and two types of yeast. Beer prevents kidney stones. A study found in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology that beer reduced the risk of kidney stones by 41 percent! World’s most expensive beer is Belgia Vielle Bon Secours. Available at Bierdrome in London, a bottle costs $1,000 USD. It’s described as “a complex taste with citric, caramel and toffee flavours with an undertone of liquorice and aniseed.” Japanese Sake is a type of beer, not wine. The fermentation process uses grains, not fruit, just like beer. The oldest still-running brewery in the world is in Germany. Still in operation today, the Weihenstephan brewery has been making beer since 1040! Pilgrims on the Mayflower stopped at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer. Believe it or not, this one has some truth behind it.…

Craft beer: a guide for beginners

Once there was real ale. It was safe, steady and you knew where you were with it. But now ale has a hip young cousin: craft beer. It even has its own festivals, such as this weekend’s Liverpool Craft Beer Expo. So what’s craft beer all about, beyond fashionable beards and American beers? For novice drinkers, we offer this guide. The next round is on you. Cheers! Craft beer Real ale solely relates to live, cask-conditioned British beer or its bottled equivalent. The craft crew, however, don’t care where beer is from, how it’s made or served, so long as – bit vague, this – it’s been made with love and it tastes great. Rules are very much there to be broken. Hop-forward Unwieldy slang for those big, bold, tropically fruity and aggressively bitter beers, where the hops are less flavouring than high explosives. Also known as “hop bombs”. West coast of … America, that is, not Ireland. UK craft brewers are in awe of the US micros and their punchy, Californian double IPAs. A very healthy internationalism is central to craft beer, with Scandinavia and even Italy embraced as fellow craft hotbeds. This does lead, however, to … Pricey halves/painfully expensive pints Costly raw ingredients; smallscale production; export/import duties; the exploitation of gullible hipsters: there are many factors which have come together to make many craft beers bloody expensive. Bring your credit card – £3 halves and £6 pints are now common – or make sure you mix up those hop-forward speciality beers with some cheap, reliable, old-fashioned real ale. Black IPA From barrel-ageing, wild yeasts and smoked malts to spirit-laced ‘speers’, via stouts and porters made with oysters and passion fruit, brambles and coffee grounds (possibly all at the same time), experimentation, innovation and constant change are the hallmarks of craft beer. As are stylistic hybrids. If you want to pass as a confident craft drinker, order a black IPA. It’s black beer with a big hop payload and a residual stout character. Craft keg The primary bone of contention between the craft rebels and Camra traditionalists. This is good beer, but served colder and fizzier from long-life kegs, just like big brand lagers. IBU or international bitterness units (yes, it really is a thing!) Basically, the higher the better. The ultimate craft beer would be almost unbearably bitter, like sucking on a handful of rusty nails and paracetamol that still taste of beer. Cans The perfect medium or marketing chicanery? Novices probably don’t want to get embroiled in that debate. The key thing to note is that, suddenly, cans are cool and bottles are history. If you want to look the part/easily led, grab a tinnie. Sours Trendy, confrontationally tart beers inspired by farmhouse/saison Belgian brewing styles and usually made – drop this in for instant credibility – with Brettanomyces (or Brett) yeasts. Single hopping Faddish concentration on using a single hop variety in a beer, not a blend, so that you can learn about and appreciate its true character, in that slightly knobby way more commonly associated with wine drinkers. It’s fine if the hop, say citra (praise its lychee, grapefruit and gooseberry notes), can carry the beer, but often it leads to meek, one-dimensional beers. Stout Forget Guinness. Serious craft drinker have to be across stout’s many milk, imperial, baltic, export and chocolate stylistic variations. Or at least pretend to be. Drinking good stout is a rite of passage, a sign that the craft drinker has graduated from the nursery slopes of sunny pale ales and frivolous IPAs. Drinking is good, just know your limits so won’t end up spilling in your comfy mattress. Experimental & collaborative beers Breweries creating limited-edition beers, often in collaboration with other breweries, is one of the craft scene’s defining characteristics. It’s a boon for the blagger, as there are far too many to keep up with. “Have you tried that Kernel/Marble oak-smoked barley wine? Or the Thornbridge/Magic Rock mint chocolate stout?” you can ask, confident that, if that beer doesn’t exist now, it soon will do. Boring brown bitter The ‘classic’, nondescript English bitter that your dad drinks. Brewed by a big regional brewery. It’s everything that craft beer drinkers hate, basically. Although, complicating matters, several micros, such as Marble, Grain and Liverpool Organic, now brew their own excellent best bitters. Tasting sticks No, not a stick you lick, but three third-pints on a handy carrying device, so you can taste several beers in small quantities and pretend you’re a connoisseur, not a beer monster. Name-dropping If you want to impress craft nerds, you need to name-drop creatively. You can’t just big up Brewdog because you’ve seen its beers in Tesco. Mikkeller, a roving Danish brewery possibly imagined into life by Franz Ferdinand and David Shrigley, is the last word in indie cool, but for that very reason you’re probably best avoiding it. It’s a bit obvious. Instead, drop in a few lesser-known foreign brewers (fellow Danes Evil Twin, America’s Left Hand, Italians del Borgo) or a niche British barnstormer (Red Willow, Summer Wine). You like Brooklyn lager? Fine, but best keep it to yourself. It’s 2013, not 2009. After drinking we always end up in our beds. Knowing our limits is a must cause it will be a waste if you end up throwing up in one of your favorite mattress. Drinking beer can cause weight gain of any type — including belly fat. Keep in mind that the more you drink, the higher your risk of weight gain is. So if you’re a drinker then don’t forget to exercise, if you’re not into it try do  waist training using corsets. It will not be as tedious as doing sessions of exercises.…