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Unlike wines, most beers should be stored upright to minimize oxidation and metal or plastic contamination from the cap. High-alcohol ales, however, which continue to ferment in their corked bottles, should be stored on their sides.
Studying the experimentally induced intoxicated behavior of ants in 1888, naturalist John Lubbock noticed that the insects that had too much to drink were picked up by nest mates and carried home. Conversely, drunken strangers were summarily tossed in a ditch.
Despite the month implied by its name, Munich's annual 16-day Oktoberfest actually begins in mid-September and ends on the first Sunday in October.
The familiar Bass symbol, a red triangle, was registered in 1876 and is the world's oldest trademark.
According to a journal entry from 1636, farm workers in the colony of Quebec not only received an allowance of flour, lard, oil, vinegar, and codfish; they were also given "a chopine of cider a day or a quart of beer."
In 1965, a Belgian royal decree mandated that lambics must contain a minimum of 35% wheat. It also ordered that labels state the name and location of the brewery.
Beck's in not only Germany's top export beer, it also accounts for 85% of all German beer exports to the United States.
Pennsylvania has had more breweries in its history than any other state. In 1910 alone, 119 of the state's towns had at least one licensed beermaker.
In their efforts to regulate beer quality, the ancient Babylonians, who were among history's earliest brewers, decreed that any commercial beermaker who sold unfit beer would be drowned in his/her own libation.
Bottle caps, or "crowns," were invented in Baltimore in 1892 by William Painter. Painter proved his invention's worth when he convinced a local brewer to ship a few hundred cases of beer to South America and back and they returned without a leak.
Beer advertising matchbook covers have become sought-after collectibles on Internet auction sites. A 1916 matchbook promoting Brehm's Brewery in Baltimore brought $43, while a 1930s cover promoting Eastside Beer from Los Angeles went for $36.
Beer and video games have a long association. Tapper, originally a 1983 arcade game and now a computer one, tests players' skills by challenging them to coordinate the movements of beers, a bartender, empty mugs, and patrons.
An 18-year study by the National Institute on Aging found that 50-plus men who consumed a drink a day during middle age scored significantly better on cognitive tests later in life than did non-drinkers.
Gilroy, home of the Coast Range Brewing Company since 1995, is the self-proclaimed "Garlic Capital of the World."
In ancient Babylon, women brewers also assumed the role of temple priestesses. The goddess Siris was the patron of beer.
On October 17 of 1814, a rupture in a brewery tank containing 3,500 barrels of beer caused a flood of fatal proportions in the London parish of St. Giles. The wave of beer swept victims off their feet, dashed them against walls, and buried them under debris. Two houses were demolished in the sea of beer suddenly loosed upon town, and nine people lost their lives in the flood of suds.
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month", or what we know today as the "honeymoon".
There are 19 different versions of Guinness.
According to a diary entry from a passenger on the Mayflower, the pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth Rock, rather than continue to their destination in Virginia, due to lack of beer.
In the US, a barrel contains 31 gallons of beer.
The first beer cans were produced in 1935.
Before thermometers were invented, brewers would dip a thumb or finger into the mix to find the right temperature for adding yeast. Too cold, and the yeast wouldn't grow. Too hot, and the yeast would die. This thumb in the beer is where "rule of thumb" comes from. (Actually, a reader pointed out to us that "rule of thumb" actually comes from some Irish saying regarding beating your wife. However, since this is a beer page and not a wifebeating page, the temperature fact stands.)
In 1788, Ale was proclaimed "the proper drink for Americans" at a parade in New York City.
In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's".
The original text of the Reinheitsgebot only had three ingredients: Barley, hops, and water. Yeast wasn't mentioned for another 35 years.
George Washington had his own brewhouse on the grounds of Mount Vernon.
After consuming a bucket or two of vibrant brew they called aul, or ale, the Vikings would head fearlessly into battle, often without armor or even shirts. In fact, "berserk" means "bare shirt" in Norse, and eventually took on the meaning of their wild battles.
The Budweiser Clydesdales weight up to 2,300 pounds and stand nearly 6 feet at the shoulder.
12 oz of a typical American pale lager actually has fewer calories than 2 percent milk or apple juice.
A beer is NOT just a beer. All told, there are 27 different styles of beer, with a further breakdown of 49 substyles.
Thanks to Eric Zimmermann, Sam Morris, JV, Apocryphal, and Richard English for their contributions.