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Crazy Facts About the History of Beer

Updated 6 Nov 2017 58.4k views21 items

Beer is more than just a beverage. The history of beer dates back thousands of years, and it has helped shape the course of civilization. At times, beer has even saved lives. There are so many amazing facts about beer that you probably don't know - and they'll definitely give you a deeper appreciation for this magical elixir.

Beer is made up of barley, hops, yeast, and water. All variations of beer are derived from this basic formula, from the darkest stout to the lightest pilsner. Sometimes other grains, such as wheat, are used instead of barley, and sometimes additional "adjuncts" (like fruit, chocolate, or coffee) are added, but the basic process is still the same: brew, ferment, and drink.

Exactly how beer was invented is unknown, though it is generally considered to have developed alongside cereal agriculture. Grains are staple crops and can grow in more varied climates than grapes. As such, the means to make beer was more widely available than wine.

Before sanitation was properly understood, beer was often used as a replacement for water. Because the water is boiled during the brewing process, any harmful bacteria present in the water is killed. The low alcohol content acts as an additional preservative and it could be transported on ships where it was impossible to keep clean water. For these reasons, beer played a large part in the spread of civilization across the globe. Where humans explored, beer followed. Check out more surprising beer facts below.

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