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Calorie Count Blog

The Fascinating History of Beer


By Mary_RD on Jul 07, 2009 12:00 AM in Tips & Updates
Edited By +Rachel Berman

July 4th is the biggest beer selling holiday in the United States.  More beer is sold than on the Super Bowl!  But did you know that beer has a fundamental role in the history of civilization?  Man needs air, drink and food (in that order), and when the water is contaminated, beer saves the day.  Practically forever, everyman was nourished primarily by bread and beer.  

Even if beer will not help you lose weight, it has a fascinating history and is a part of so many people's lives that we wanted to give you a quick overview of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The History of Beer, Condensed

  • Around the world, prehistoric man discovers fermentation by chance occurrence as decaying fruit mixes with yeast, molds and bacteria in the air to produce alcohol.
  • 12,000 BC:  Nomadic hunters and gatherers settle down to farm grain (presumably to make beer because bread-baking is unknown)
  • 7,000 BC:  Brewing (i.e. intentionally making beer from grain or bread) is practiced in Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Israel, China, and South America.
  • 500 BC - 500 CE:  Wine takes over as the preferred drink in the Western world.  Beer is for peasants.
  • 500 CE - 1000 CE:  Beer is brewed in monasteries for the monks, pilgrims and the community.  Beer leads Nomads into village life.  Workers are paid in beer.
  • 1000 CE:  The Flemish add hops as a preservative.
  • 1500 CE:  The Germans establish standards for brewers.
  • 1620 CE:  The first commercial brewery opens in New Amsterdam (New York City).  The Pilgrims bail out at Plymouth Rock because they are running out of beer.
  • 1776 CE:  Revolutionary War soldiers receive a ration of one quart of beer per day.
  • 1840 CE:  The Germans perfect larger beer.  Before that, beer was actually ale.
  • 1865 CE:  Pasteur kills the bacteria in beer.
  • 1880 CE:  The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union villainizes beer.
  • 1919 - 1933 CE:  Beer goes underground during Prohibition.
  • 2009 CE:  Beer continues to be central to the economy. The beer industry pays over $41 billion in yearly taxes and benefits the agriculture, manufacturing and transportation industries.  

Beer Nutrition    

The first frothy, cloudy, bitter, highly nutritious, unfiltered beer is a far cry from today’s processed version.  Still, beer supplies glucose, B-vitamins and a host of trace minerals.  Fermentation improves the nutritional status of grain.  Early beer had less alcohol than beer has today.

Alcohol and Dieting

Drinking too much alcohol can raise your risk for motor vehicle accidents, falls and other injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, inflammation of the liver, violence, suicide, and certain types of cancer. Be sure to consume a balanced diet before you make room for alcohol.

For the definitive book about beer, read A History of Beer and Brewing by Ian Hornsey.


Your thoughts....

Somewhere in the world, it's "Beer-o'clock".  Do you drink beer?



Comments


That was interesting.

 



Comment Removed

I thinned my homemade cheese sauce with about a quarter can of beer that was sitting on the counter and it was FANTASTIC!

P.S.:  I have noticed that if I nurse a bottle or two of beer in the afternoon or early evening while preparing supper, I do NOT taste-test nearly as much or eat as much at meal time!



It's not the beer, but your genes, that cause that 'not so loved' 'beer belly', according to British scientists.

Read more over here 




I grew up in a beer-drinking family/neighborhood. Fifty years later, I still live in the same neighborhood--not much has changed.

My whole family, my friends, and the neighbors love to drink, which makes me wonder if it's like that everywhere. Unfortunately, I love beer---many different kinds. I switched to light beer to save on calories.



I have found my perfect MicroBrewery at Granite City, they charge only five dollars for a two liter bottle (growler). That is enough for me to have a glass a day for the week and then get it refilled again :) 



Most of the beer drinkers I know prefer larger beers - the Germans prefer lager Smile



What does the CE mean after the year?  Should it be AD?



Re : the question of CE. No, it should not mean AD.  CE is Christian era or common era.  AD means the year of the master or the lord who as far as I am aware is just a myth.



Summer,

 

You are correct in that it should be AD. Anno Domini. It has been commonly replaced by CE by the political correctness folks so as not to offend our new age sensibilities. I still use AD. I have no new age sensibilities. As to beer....I brew my own. It is delicious, healthy and yes, I don't get to drink it as much anymore since the whole diabetes thing.



I love beer, beer loves me!  Still have the top to my 16th b-day party beer keg (Pabst Blue Ribbon, 40 years ago).  This spring I gave Miller 64 a try in effort to cut calories.  Tastes like draft to me and more flavorful than the usual watered-down domestic light beers I am used to.



Deaconconnell - Are you saying the Lord is a myth? I beleive AD represents the current measure of time since the death of Jesus Christ, who by the way, lived, died, and rose again - that is a historical fact that is more verifyable than any other historical fact you rely on. How could this be a myth? Just for the record, I prefer ale to beer.



Sorry that last post should have been addressed to alanhealth not Deacondonnell.



Wow lots of info and the ce ad thing wow


As someone who teaches about beer at the university level, I am glad to see more emphasis placed on it.

I am working on an article about beers health benefits and invite anyone who is interested to go visit my site Ask The Beer Guy. I already have an article on using spent grains in cooking and recipes. For homebrewers there is a section as well.



"The first frothy, cloudy, bitter, highly nutritious, unfiltered beer is a far cry from today’s processed version.  Still, beer supplies glucose, B-vitamins and a host of trace minerals."

 

Brew your own!  It is fun, easy and cheap.  And if you can't, go to restaurants that brew their own or local breweries. 

You know it is unfiltered when it has a little sediment in the bottom of the bottle.  Swirl the bottle around and drink it with your last sip of beer and you have that dose of vitamine B for the day!



I'm offended by the notion that using CE in place of AD is so called "political correctness".  I am not christian and this is not AD for me;  CE is inclusive, not exclusive.  I mean why not call it 5768 (Hebrew) or say -2 since 12/2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar? You either believe the particular mythology of a religion, in which case everything you see validates your faith.  Or you don't, the applicable definition of faith being "belief that is not based on proof".  But, this really is not an appropriate forum for religious arguments.  I like Belgian Ales.



CE stands for "Common Era." It is a relatively old term that is experiencing rapidly increased usage in recent years. It is expected to eventually replace AD. The latter is an abbreviation for "Anno Domini" in Latin or "the year of the Lord" in English. The latter refers to the approximate birth year of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ). CE and AD have the same and value. 2004 CE = 2004 AD. The word "common" simply means that it is based on the most frequently used calendar system: the Gregorian Calendar. .

BCE stands for "Before the common era." It is expected to eventually replace BC, which means "Before Christ," or "Before the Messiah." Years in the BC and BCE notation are also identical in value. Most theologians and religious historians believe that the approximate birth date of Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus) was in the fall of a year, sometime between 7 and 4 BCE. However, we have seen estimates as late as 4 CE and as early as the second century BCE.

 

source:http://www.religioustolerance.org/ce.htm



On the whole AD/CE thing.  I too agree that Jesus died and rose again.  However, I can see why people who don't share my faith could get worked up about it.  But... even if you believe that Jesus' Godliness and resurrection was a myth, his life on earth has been documented in so many ways that to say that he never lived or died makes you look foolish. 

As far as beer goes, I'm not a huge beer fan but I do enjoy an occasional half glass or less of beer from Olde Main Brewing Co (a local microbrewery).  I REALLY love their root beer, bu they also have some great seasonal beers.  Their reindeer stout has chocolate in it, and their fruity beers (lemon in summer and apple in the fall) are really good as well.  But if it comes to me wanting an alcoholic drink, I prefer a Malibu rum and diet coke! 



well i myself like a good cold beer and burger watching a good football game the thing know with joining up with cc i start looking at the calories in each beer and seeing that light beers run around 100 + - and i asked my cousin if he ever tried 64 and he replies to me that's a girls beer!!well if im going to stick to cc just call me sissy!!!one more thing will be going veggie burger??



They left out the fact that in medieval times Women not men were the primary brewers of beer. My husband brews his own beer. I prefer it to the store bought variety.

 



I love the taste of beer, but can't handle the alcohol and don't want the extra calories. I have discovered Miller Sharp nonalcoholic beer. It has 58 calories per bottle, and tastes almost as good as the real thing, and is much tastier than o'douls.

What is the difference in ale and beer?



and how do they remove the alcohol in nonalcoholic beer?



There is more vitamin C in a pint of real ale (not lager) than there is in a pint of fresh orange juice. There is also alot to be said for the amount of roughage and vitamin B. Vitamin B+ helps considerably in milk production for nursing mothers. Unfortunately Guiness and other beeers once famous for this property are apparently more refined now and therefore the benefit is reduced. Real Ales are definately the better choice if you acquire the taste.

During the great plague in London they discovered eventually that the problem was waterbourn because those that worked in the brewery did not get ill and neither did their families as they were also paid in beer. This was a contributory factor to the case for the sewerage system being built in London which still runs today beneath the Thames embankment.

The fact is anything ok in moderation. unfortunately, I think, The calorific values of different beers are not well advertised otherwise it would be easier to count in as part of a calory controlled diet.



Alcohol is removed by distillation usually. Just like making whiskey, except they don't keep the alcohol as far as I know. Well they probably do, but it is used for some other purpose. It would probably taste awful.

I don't think there are any truly non-alcoholic beers since distillation always leaves some alcohol. There are non-alcoholic malt beverages though, especially in the Caribbean. I wrote about them on my site and give 2 recipes for making it as well.  Here is the link if you are interested: Malta Beverage.



Original Post by: aingealkelliher

They left out the fact that in medieval times Women not men were the primary brewers of beer. My husband brews his own beer. I prefer it to the store bought variety.

 


You are absolutely correct. Beer making was "womens" work since most men were either hunting or out in the field. That changed around the time of the Industrial Revolution and the commercialization of beer.



How can anyone say that God is a myth in a discussion of beer?  In the immortal words of Ben Franklin, beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!



Original Post by: dukesgirl1051

Wow lots of info and the ce ad thing wow

The myth of some character dying and then coming back to life again, be he a beer drinker or not, has never been proven by anyone and I challenge those claiming so to prove it.

It seems that they have been enjoying the aforementioned drink to excess, and surely the good news of this website is to enjoy in moderation.  That way one can keep a clear head and see properly.



One of the changes I've gone through as I have aged is to drink less beer, but to drink better quality beer.  I am an ale fan, going back to my pub experiences on a trip to England.  Look for cask conditioned ale in your area and prepare for a treat.  Cask conditioned ale is hand-pumped from the cask to the glass, and is much less carbonated.  Cask conditioned ale is relatively hard to find because the beer is much more perishable than standard keg beer.  I am fortunate to live in an area with a variety of microbrewery options.  Here's to good beer!

Lou

Re the CE/AD thing.  The CE/BCE designation began in academia, and has drifted into common usage.  It is neither "politically correct" nor "politically incorrect," but is trans-cultural.  Stating the date need not be a faith-statement.



Original Post by: bhmoore

On the whole AD/CE thing.  I too agree that Jesus died and rose again.  However, I can see why people who don't share my faith could get worked up about it.  But... even if you believe that Jesus' Godliness and resurrection was a myth, his life on earth has been documented in so many ways that to say that he never lived or died makes you look foolish. 

As far as beer goes, I'm not a huge beer fan but I do enjoy an occasional half glass or less of beer from Olde Main Brewing Co (a local microbrewery).  I REALLY love their root beer, bu they also have some great seasonal beers.  Their reindeer stout has chocolate in it, and their fruity beers (lemon in summer and apple in the fall) are really good as well.  But if it comes to me wanting an alcoholic drink, I prefer a Malibu rum and diet coke! 


Even if you do refer to a date as CE....it still refers to the beginning of the approximate birth of Christ....Society seems bent on getting Him out of our vocabulary all together....quite funny actually....



CE means Christian Era.  AD which  literally means  "year of God" - is no longer politicallly correct.  Jude www.foodbyjude.com

 



alanheath you are right about one thing, Jesus drank wine not beer.



Even if you do refer to a date as CE....it still refers to the beginning of the approximate birth of Christ....Society seems bent on getting Him out of our vocabulary all together....quite funny actually....

Nonsense.  I am an active committed Christian.  But I live (and you live) in a post-Christendom culture).   Jesus is THE frame of reference for my life, but that's not a universal reality.  My next door neighbors on one side are Vietnamese Buddhists.  My neighbors on the other are unaffiliated with any church.  My boss is a secular Jew.  My administrative assistant is neo-pagan.  One of my coworkers is Moslem.  THAT'S our world.  There is no reason why "Anno Domini" should function as the temporal designator for everybody.  But, we all share a COMMON CALENDAR.  hence, the "Common Era."

-Lou, Sunnyvale CA USA



To Tahoe200

AD = Anno Domini , Latin for Year of the Lord

CE = Common Era



Does it really matter what CE or AD means, because it means some thing different to a lot of people, CE today means Common Era and AD today means After Death, meaning after the death of Christ, just like BC means Before Christ.



This is for Ipoulain: 

 

No matter how you slice it...CE still refers to Christ's birth. That's why it's now 2009....because approx 2009 years ago, Christ was born...and I refuse to (like some committed Christians) capitulate to secular or non-Christian influences....something like the original Christians, when they refused to bow or refer to Ceasar as a god...

Perhaps it wouldn't be apost-Christendom culture if more Christians took their faith as seriously as their political correctness!



I never did like the taste of beer, even though I grew up in a family of beer drinkers.  In high school I drank beer to fit in, but was never able to keep it down for very long, which was a plus because when I went to throw up everyone thought that I just had to much to drink.  I'm amazed by just how many different types of beer there are and by the fact that anybody can make it in the privacy of their own home.  I also never realized just how long beer has been around, I thought beer was created only in our recorded history, I didn't know it's been around for 1000's of years and from what I understand the process of makeing beer hasn't changed all that much, I guess thats what really fascinates me the most.  Still I think that beer is an aquired taste, one I will never have.

-Charles- Mentor, Ohio USA



Original Post by: lpoulain

Even if you do refer to a date as CE....it still refers to the beginning of the approximate birth of Christ....Society seems bent on getting Him out of our vocabulary all together....quite funny actually....

Nonsense.  I am an active committed Christian.  But I live (and you live) in a post-Christendom culture).   Jesus is THE frame of reference for my life, but that's not a universal reality.  My next door neighbors on one side are Vietnamese Buddhists.  My neighbors on the other are unaffiliated with any church.  My boss is a secular Jew.  My administrative assistant is neo-pagan.  One of my coworkers is Moslem.  THAT'S our world.  There is no reason why "Anno Domini" should function as the temporal designator for everybody.  But, we all share a COMMON CALENDAR.  hence, the "Common Era."

-Lou, Sunnyvale CA USA


No matter how you slice it...CE still refers to Christ's birth. That's why it's now 2009....because approx 2009 years ago, Christ was born...and I refuse to (like some committed Christians) capitulate to secular or non-Christian influences....something like the original Christians, when they refused to bow or refer to Ceasar as a god...

Perhaps it wouldn't be apost-Christendom culture if more Christians took their faith as seriously as their political correctness!



I am a homebrewer. The US has more craftbreweries than any other country. We actually lead the world at this point in creative brewing. If you say that the people you know drink lagers that's misleading. Just look at all the new beers the Big 3 are putting on the market. I live in CA and we drink strong hoppy beer. Also the ideas of beer and food pairing is moving forward and may never challange the wine drinkers, but don't let it surprise you when a bottle of Firestone 12 comes across the table and you think is this brandy? Look I like beer and I have know problem with people that do not like it or do not imbibe.

Try something new and you can always cook with it. Try marinading tri-tip in beer (the best).      Thanks all.    Saving the world one pint at a time

Silvy      SantaBarbeerians



Original Post by: chrisc555

"The first frothy, cloudy, bitter, highly nutritious, unfiltered beer is a far cry from today’s processed version.  Still, beer supplies glucose, B-vitamins and a host of trace minerals."

 

Brew your own!  It is fun, easy and cheap.  And if you can't, go to restaurants that brew their own or local breweries. 

You know it is unfiltered when it has a little sediment in the bottom of the bottle.  Swirl the bottle around and drink it with your last sip of beer and you have that dose of vitamine B for the day!


chrisc555 - Totally agree with you! Brewing beer has to be one of the most fun hobbies my husband and I have discovered (completely by chance, we got a Mr. Beer kit as a "White Elephant" gift last year - turns out to be the best gag-gift ever!)

Home-brewed beer has so much more flavor, and you can control the ingredients, and therefore, the nutritional content. There are so many easy recipes out there, and it doesn't require a ton of special equipment to do it! We started out with a 30-qt stock pot, and our kitchen sink... Be warned, though - it is a habit that can (but doesn't have to) become expensive if you allow it to (there's just so many cool tools/equipment/gadgets to help with brewing)



lpoulain - I think you meant foodbyjude.



This is a fascinating discussion. I live in Germany and travel around Europe quite a bit. I'm lucky because the really good beers I can get away with paying a fraction of the amount I would have in the States. 

In relation to the whole AD/CE discussion on this topic, on this site, my new time frame is Before Fat and After Fat. Chill out, drink a beer...



It seems to me that it is not the liberal secular left who is most concerned with socalled political correctness.  It's the religious here who can't abide by dissmissing  the exclusionary and possesive term "christian" by the secular "common".  Lou's points are quite conclusive.

Unfortunately, I wasn't successful in my attempts at home brew.  The results would have been better off fed to livestock than to humans.



I have helped brew beer on several occasions, and most of the time the results were very gratifying.   Absolute attention to cleanliness of vessels and equipment seems to be the number one requirement.  Then, of course, quality ingredients.  There's something almost magical about that first sip of a beer you've made (or at least helped to make).

Lou



leahmol;  Unfortunately, here in the states we are in the middle of a culture war on the nature of uninvited religious intrusion into daily life and political power.  Amazingly, this is the most civil discussion on the topic I've seen.  Perhaps, the beer has already been imbibed.  Cheers!



Lou,  Even my type A characteristics proved insufficient to the brewers tasks.  I'll have to stick with Sam Adams and local micros, but I'm OK with that.



To Beccajean8

There is no difference between ale and beer. Ale is beer and beer can be an ale.

Beer is the major category of fermented malt beverages which is divided into two sub-categories, Ale and Lager.

Ale is made with ale yeast, which generally ferments at temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. It is characterized, generally, by full, fruity flavor.

Lager is a german word meaning "to store". Lager yeast generally ferments at lower temps than ale yeast, 50-58 degrees and is generally viewed as a crisper, cleaner flavor than ale.

I say generally because there are exceptions to the rule and in some cases one may not be able to tell the difference between an ale and lager, e.g. german schwarzbier and an english porter.

and finally, Jee-zus Christmas, can we stop talking about religion?

 



Yup.  And there are lagers and lagers, and ales and ales.

It's interesting to set a Gordon Biersch Martzen next to a Corona.  Both lagers.

Same thing with ales.  Take a Fat Tire, and line it up wth a Boddingtons.  Both ales.

It's a game that can go on forever.  There are many many more beers than there are days in a life to sample.  Why would one want to only drink one kind of beer?  Worse, people like my inlaws, who only drink Bud Light.  Argghhhh.

-Lou



doliver442 - I totally agree.  Why is it those with no beliefs always want to knock those with beliefs? Enough with the religion talk.



Original Post by: drss123

It seems to me that it is not the liberal secular left who is most concerned with socalled political correctness.  It's the religious here who can't abide by dissmissing  the exclusionary and possesive term "christian" by the secular "common".  Lou's points are quite conclusive.

Unfortunately, I wasn't successful in my attempts at home brew.  The results would have been better off fed to livestock than to humans.


Whatever.... Sounds like verbose gobily goop to me....see you at Xmas when we go to cut down our "Holiday Trees"....lol...



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