Beer

Part 3 of 12 in the series Snake Oil

Snake oil salesmen would falsely claim that the potions would cure any ailments. – UrbanDictionary.com

artwork by John Nash / Carrie Mathison
Pop Chart Lab artwork by John Nash / Carrie Mathison

Popular Mechanics reports on the beer of America’s founding fathers:

When Ben Franklin wrote, “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” he was speaking for most Americans of his day. Beer, and the art of brewing, was one of the first things European settlers brought to America in the 17th century.…

Farmers planted huge fields of barley and hops, beer’s chief ingredients, to help keep the liquid flowing. Many people, especially rich gentlemen, built private brew houses, handcrafting most of the equipment from wood (except the copper kettle, of course). Thomas Jefferson and George Washington built breweries on their plantations. In fact, Jefferson’s wife brewed 15 gallons of low-alcohol beer every two weeks.1

Parkbrau – Germany

The OldWorld.ws website reports on the history of German beer:

For many centuries, beer has been a regular and continuous part of the everyday diet in all levels of society. As it was in Babylonia, so too is the quality of beer in Germany legislatively regulated by the authorities – and beer is still an important source of tax revenue.

The first regulation appeared in Augsburg. Establishments that served bad beer or dishonest amounts would fined and their beer destroyed.

The best known and most famous brewing law is the Reinheitsgebot. The “Purity Law” is the oldest food regulation in the world and still exists today unchanged from the original. It was ordered by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in the year 1516. See picture above. It said that beer should only be brewed from barley, hops and water. Thanks to the regulation, Bavarian beers then became leaders among their peers. Thus other lands of Germany also enforced the regulation.

Today, of course, yeast is also recognized as a vital ingredient, but it was a brewing element whose effect was unknown at the time the law was written. Back then, brewers would just use the yeast that was present in the air.

Even today the most important law The Reinheitsgebot is still the most important law affecting brewing in Germany. In the beer tax law, which regulates beer production, it states: “For the preparation of beer, only malt, hops, yeast and water can be used.” German brewers observe strict compliance with the Reinheitsgebot and the guarantee that in Germany only good, healthy beers will be brewed.2

Related links

1 John Perritano, “How the Founding Fathers Made Their Beer,” Popular Mechanics, 25 June 2013, at http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-the-founding-fathers-made-their-beer-15627801 (retrieved: 1 July 2013).

2 The History of German Beer, Old World in Huntington Beach, at http://www.oldworld.ws/okbeerhist.html (retrieved: 28 November 2012).

See also

“Beer’s Bitter Compounds May Result in New Treatments for Diabetes and Other Maladies,” 20 January 2013, at http://scitechdaily.com/beers-bitter-compounds-may-result-in-new-treatments-for-diabetes-and-other-maladies/ (retrieved: 8 Februrary 2013).

“Beer taste — not just alcohol — rewards pleasure centers in brain: study,” Popular Science, 16 April 2013, at http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/beer-taste-rewards-brain-pleasure-centers-study-article-1.1318226 (retrieved: 18 April 2013): See also Brandon G Oberlin, Mario Dzemidzic, Stella M Tran, Christina M Soeurt, Daniel S Albrecht, Karmen K Yoder and David A Kareken, “Beer Flavor Provokes Striatal Dopamine Release in Male Drinkers: Mediation by Family History of Alcoholism,” 15 April 2013, at http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/vaop/naam/abs/npp201391a.html (retrieved: 18 April 2013).

Jon M. Chang, “BeerSci: A Decade-Old Beer Is Gross, Right?” PopSci.com, 8 February 2013, at http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/beersci-decade-old-beer-gross-right (retrieved: 8 February 2013).

Matt Novak, “Drunk Driving and The Pre-History of Breathalyzers,” Paleofuture, 31 December 2013, at http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/drunk-driving-and-the-pre-history-of-breathalyzers-1474504117 (retrieved: 31 December 2013).

Related videos

“How Beer Saved the World (HD),” NLsko video at YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdwYjFnFoJU (retrieved: 28 November 2012). (Watch it here)

“How droughts could choke the global beer supply,” (retrieved: 21 May 2015). (Show video)

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