International Beer Day

November 3, 2021

Beer is one of the oldest fermented beverages of mankind and one of the most valued. And since 2007, the International Beer Day is celebrated every first Friday in August  , a tradition that originated in a small bar in Santa Cruz, California (United States). The celebration attracted so much attention that it is currently celebrated all over the world, including 207 cities, 50 countries and 6 continents. And it is increasing.

The origin of beer dates back to nine thousand years, in the Middle East, in the region that today occupies Iraq, where it was manufactured by the Sumerians. From then on she undertook a long journey that, over several centuries and numerous experiments, would lead her to perfect its flavor and quality. Today, it is one of the world’s favorite drinks, particularly among Mexicans, which has placed the country in tenth place in beer consumption.

Beer History

The first written recipe that proves the existence of beer was found in the Sumerian people, the first great civilization of the Middle East, where the art of preparing it was quite common, especially among women. His deity of beer, the goddess Ninkasi, tells how women were in charge of making spiced barley bread and letting it ferment with water in water jars. After a few days, there were already expert tasters who tasted it and drank from straws to avoid the passage of the grain from the surface.

The 16th century also marked important advances in the brewing industry. The discovery of low fermentation and Lager beers at the hands of the monks of the Bavarian monasteries, where they began to store the fermented beers in underground cellars keeping them fresh throughout the year.

The history of beer stops in the year 1842, where a style of beer emerged with great repercussion to this day. German brewmaster Joseph Grolle, who was working in the city of Pilsen, led a local brewing cooperative with the goal of discovering a beer that could compete with the success of neighboring Bavaria’s dark lagers.

Until he came up with the master formula: a transparent, golden lager like never seen before. The secret? A temperature control during the malting process obtaining a golden color. The selection of yeast strains also aided for fermentation, achieving greater transparency. With the pilsener style he established one of the most consumed and appreciated styles in many parts of the world.

Beer making process

The beer manufacturing process is fundamental and should be part of the evolution and learning of any Brewer.

  • Malting – Cereal grains (barley) go through a controlled germination process in order to activate the enzymes present in the grain, which will then be necessary during mashing. Depending on the degree of toasting obtained during malting, we will get lighter or darker malts, which will add the color of the beer.
  • Grinding and Maceration – Once the cereal grain is ground, it is mixed with water to prepare the beer must. Water represents between 85% -90% of the content of the final beer. For the mashing process, the malt is mixed with the water at different times and temperatures, producing the necessary transformations to convert the starch into fermentable sugars.
  • Wort filtration – After mashing, the liquid must is separated from the remaining malt. For this we filter the must by separating the liquid from the solid, the latter we call bagasse and it is normally reused for animal feed.
  • Cooking – The must is brought to a boil in order to provide the bitterness and aroma present in the hops. During this stage the must is sterilized, proteins are coagulated and undesirable aromas evaporate. Typically this process takes around an hour or more, depending on the style of beer. Subsequently, the final must is subjected to a kind of centrifugation.
  • Beer fermentation – Time to cool and aerate the wort and then sow the yeast. During fermentation, fermentable sugars are transformed into alcohol and CO2, while generating a great variety of compounds. Two major families of yeasts are usually used in the brewing process: lager and ale. This process takes place in fermentation tanks.
  • Maturation – The resulting liquid requires a maturation period, where the beer is subjected to low temperatures so that the flavor and aromas achieved during the process stabilize and achieve the right balance between the different nuances.
  • Packaging – Generally, at the end of maturation, the beer is subjected to a filtration process to separate small particles of yeast and compounds that are still in suspension. Once filtered, the brilliant beer is obtained, it is packaged in different formats for consumption.

Beer in Chemistry

Beer is a complex alcoholic beverage made from barley (malt), hops, water, and yeast. Chemically, beer can be thought of as a water-ethanol solution with an acidic pH (pH around 4.2) that contains hundreds of dissolved molecules. Molecules can undergo different reactions and change their chemical composition during storage. In addition, the degradation of molecules at concentrations below the flavor threshold can cause the loss of the initial flavors of fresh beer.

In the chemical composition of beer, the organic compounds of hops known as alpha and beta-acids stand out. Alpha-acids are the main cause of the taste of beer. As for beta-acids, it is important to note that, although they give beer a more penetrating bitterness, they are chemical compounds less soluble in water. That is why the longer the beer maturation process, the more bitter it becomes.

Both compounds are also responsible for other chemical properties of beer, such as its antiseptic capacity. Thanks to them the life of the beer is so long and it is safe from bacteria. However, these chemical compounds degrade in light, producing unpleasant flavors. That is why beer bottles are opaque or dark glass.

Beer Benefits

Beer is not only a rich and refreshing drink but it also has benefits for our health, as long as it is consumed in moderation. We list some of the best known:

  1. It is a low-fat and nutritious food as it contains carbohydrates, B vitamins and minerals.
  2. It has calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B9 and phosphorus, which prevents the onset of cholesterol, diabetes and kidney disease.
  3. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamin B6, good for preventing cardiovascular diseases. Lowers the risk of heart attacks.
  4. In women, beer can delay the onset of menopausal symptoms, due to its silicon and phytoestrogens content. It also improves bone health by preventing osteoporosis.
  5. Improves the immune system, especially in women, by improving the immune response to certain microorganisms.
  6. Protection against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases, due to its silicon content.
  7. It prolongs life, due to its antioxidant properties, preventing the aging of cells.
  8. Recovery for athletes, promoting hydration and faster recovery. A glass of beer after a good running session has many physical and psychological benefits.
  9. Non-alcoholic beer is beneficial for pregnant women because of its high folic acid content.
  10. It helps to improve social relationships, since beer is usually consumed in the company of friends.

Recommendations ⚠️

Experts insist on the importance of beer consumption, in healthy people and outside of pregnancy, be done in a moderate way: in the case of women, one or two beers a day; in men, two or three. For their part, those who follow a diet must first quench their thirst with water or an infusion and must always choose non-alcoholic beers.

Do not forget that all the aforementioned benefits are part of a balanced diet and moderate consumption of beer, since excess alcohol intake always negatively affects our health and quality of life.

And now that it is the weekend, we are sure that you will go out with friends or you will be with your family enjoying this day drinking a little of this drink, but remember that in excess it is harmful to health, so we urge you to drink in moderation. .

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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