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Beer's Frothy Denotation

April 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 188

I was never a great student in history classes because I found the information bland and boring. In the years since school history classes I've gained much more appreciation for the lessons we have to learn from history. If my instructors had related the material we covered in class to something like beer I would have been much more likely to pay attention. I suppose this might have been deemed inappropriate in high school classes, but probably would have been fine in college classes especially at the state college I went to in Kentucky. Beer has been a part of human history for as long as human history has been recorded. In fact, there's enough info about this frothy beverage throughout history to fill the curriculum needs of multiple college classes.

It's very enlightening to learn how historical events have influenced the evolution and definition of beer AND how beer has, in turn, influenced major historical events. Beer is certainly one of the oldest beverages to be continuously produced by humans. It has been around since the time of ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt; and has possibly existed in some form from even earlier times! Even if a person doesn't like beer, or abstains from alcohol altogether, they would still have an appreciation of beer's historical significance. Beer's presence throughout history would be of interest to anyone with an interest in geography, horticulture, agriculture, foreign and domestic alcohol laws, anthropology, cultural migration, historical weather patterns and meteorology...the list goes on and on and on.

Just the origins of what we define as beer today is an interesting story of the interplay of various forces and variables mentioned above. This becomes apparent when looking at the development of the modern definition of beer. According to the purity law (Reinheitsgebot, also called just Gebot) adopted by William IV, Duke of Bavaria, in 1516, true beer only has three ingredients; water, barley, and hops. You might ask, "what about yeast?" Good question. The fact that yeast eat carbohydrates (sugars) and "poop-out" alcohol and carbon dioxide (carbonation) was later highlighted upon Louis Pasteur's work in 1857. So for nearly 341 years (from 1516 to 1857) beer was defined as only having water, barely, and hops.

Of course, the yeast were present from the environment and made their way into the beer, but this just wasn't part of the initial Gebot. Then, 355 years after the Reinheitsgebot, in 1871, the Bavarian law went into effect throughout Germany during the unification of the German Empire. The Gebot is generally considered as one of the oldest food regulation to still exist, but has since been updated to reflect modern trends in beer brewing. Although this is controversial, the Gebot is considered by many to be a mark of purity in beers.

As you can see in this brief article, even the simple aspect of defining beer has an interesting and complicated history. This article has not even scratched the surface of beer's frothy history. There's much more to the history of beer's denotation, and the implications of it's definition continue. I hope this article has encouraged interest in this subject; beer has influenced human history in so many ways that this topic deserves our attention.

While beer is a beverage containing alcohol; it is also so much more than that. It is both a product and a factor in human history's equation.

I am a Registered Dietitian and I brew my own beer. For info on how to start brewing your own homebrew, Visit StartHomeBrew.com.

Source: EzineArticles
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