Did you know beer was invented in Delaware? And the term “craft beer” was actually coined by Oprah? Oh, also, hops are meaningless.
OK, now that we’ve enraged everyone who loves beer in a way that’s both serious and terrifying, we’ll move on to some true facts about beer that may or may not enrage the general beer-loving public. Not that we’ll be going over Beer 101 (we have an entire web page for that); these are just some fun associated beer and craft beer facts to pepper your National Beer Lover’s celebration day.
And before you protest learning any facts on a day meant for celebrating an intoxicant, just remember, beer facts are useful because when you know something even just a bit more intimately, you can enjoy it a lot more thoroughly. It’s an inverse proportion that really works out if you’re lazy and enjoy drinking. (That’s us.)
Craft beer is a billon dollar business.
No joke, craft beer sales are in the billion dollar territory. (About $1.4 billion, to be precise.) And they’re up since last year by about 10 percent, a slightly slower growth rate, but then again, it was the year of hard soda. (Oy.) Oh, and in 2014, craft beer contributed about $55 billion to the U.S. economy. Not chump change.
We’re not beer snobs. Natty Light is dominant.
We love our craft beer, sure, but we also love our macro lagers, which is why Natty Light, the top worst-rated American beer in the world, makes it onto the top 10 list of overall beer sales for last year.
There is a very creepy Egyptian beer myth.
The Egyptians drank beer. The slaves who built the pyramids were actually paid in beer. But that’s not the half of it. The sun god Ra supposedly fell “madly in love” with his daughter, Hathor (since incest was cool back then). When Hathor drank beer, “she turned into the goddess of love, lust, joy, singing, dancing, and laughter.” Which is also why we assume Egyptians invented karaoke.
Two hundred years ago, there was a deadly beer flood in England.
Not that it couldn’t have been prevented. An employee of London’s Horse Shoe brewery noticed that a massive, integral metal hoop had fallen off an equally massive, equally integral vat of fermenting porter. Instead of fixing it, his bosses told him to leave a note. The vat busted open and flooded the streets with 135,000 gallons of porter, leaving casualties and, we assume, a bunch of drunk rats in its wake.
America has beaten its own brewery record.
In 1873, we had 4,131 breweries in the United States. Post-Civil War, clearly we all needed a drink. There was a massive dive in the number of breweries leading up to (but not caused by) Prohibition. But our thirsts returned, and by 2015 we had 4,269 breweries, or 138 more than we did 143 years ago. A lot of numbers, but basically beer is back on top.
America’s so good at beer, Belgium is copying us.
Seriously. America makes Belgian style beer because Belgium is one of the most prolific, idiosyncratic beer countries in the world. So the fact that they’re copying us, creating IPA-style beers after the ones we popularized, is pretty cool. It’s like when the cool kid at school follows some fashion trend you started, like wearing jeans with a dress. (Because for some reason, people did that for a while.)
Beer has health benefits, especially for the ladies.
We tend to associate beer with, well, guts. But beer can be a good workout recovery drink, provided you’re not pounding it, and can actually help promote bone density and (quite possibly) prevent cognitive impairment in women. (Again, provided you’re not pounding it.)
There’s a ton of good (gluten-free) beer.
Gluten-free beer may have its detractors, but among those who can’t (or just choose not to) drink beer made traditionally, the stuff’s a necessity. Fortunately, there’s enough demand for gluten-free beer out there to have spawned a whole new category that we can all enjoy. Seriously, it was tough for us to rank the top 10.
Beer is where the home is. Or home is where the beer is. Or something.
Millennials especially like to experiment with craft beer outside of home, which, thanks economy, may well be our parents’ basements. But of all the boozy beverages we do drink at home, beer is at the top of our list. So maybe the best way to celebrate National Beer Lover’s Day is to kick back on that ratty old couch, or fantastic new couch, and crack open a six-pack. (One at a time, of course.)