International Beer Day
There are millions in at least sixty registered countries that celebrate International Beer Day. This magic elixir has been with us for over six millennium. Some even believe that the agrarian society is an evolution of brewing beer. We may have the cart before the ox. Perhaps farming was conceived to make this golden liquor available to all, hence democratizing pleasure. Beer has been present and sometimes fundamental to society.
It started with yeast from the air wafting into a vessel of a grain, probably barley, and water mixture. Bread and beer seem to have always simultaneously co-existed. Before the industrialization of brewing, this drink was traditionally made by women in the home then expanded to the monasteries. The percentage of alcohol up to the late Middle Ages was estimated at around two percent and in large cities was often drunk in lieu of water.
The basic elements of this potion are water and a starch medium such as dried or malted barley. Fermented together they are brewed to produce alcohol. The recipe has gotten much more refined through the ages to include hops to offset the sweetness from the cereal. Barley, more precisely malted barley, is not the only source fermented grain to produce this ethylated solution Ingenuity, in beer making, has given rise to the use of rice, sorghum, maize, millet and cassava root. There exists today an almost infinite variety of mash ingredients that have blossomed into the wide variety of beers available on the market.
To commemorate this special boon to humanity, we have set aside the first Friday in August to do so. I suggest we promote this auspicious event with a visit to your local dispensary of fine ales and raise a glass to an aspect of our culture we can all agree on, pleasure. To accompany your celebratory glass, be sure to have a pinch of your favorite snuff handy, here's mine. Cheers and happy snuffing.