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An Ode To Beer

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Old 03-30-2006, 07:43 AM
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An Ode To Beer


This an ode to beer, my favorite alcoholic beverage.

Intimately tied to the establishment of the earliest civilization, beer led mankind out of the wilderness and into the comforts of hearth and home. And barley grain turns into the golden brew so easily it is really nature's way of saying beer.

Bold statements, but true.

Although fruit or honey wine may be the oldest alcoholic beverage, beer was made at least 6,000 years ago. Beer brewing was not possible before humans gave up the nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle and built the first cities in Mesapotamia (what is now Iraq.) Cities required a stockpile of staple food that could be stored for long periods of time without spoiling and farmers grew hybridized wild grains for this purpose. Barley was was one of the first staple grains raised, along with an ancient form of wheat.

Anthropologists theorize that beer was first brewed by accident. A late rain soaked a barley harvest, causing the grains to sprout. When the farmer boiled the sprouted barley to eat as a cereal porridge, he noticed a distinct sweetness rather than the normal bland starchy flavor. Wild yeast spores in the air fermented the maltose sugar in the leftover porridge and created the first beer. The farmer drank it and felt the pleasant effects of mild alcohol intoxication.

(I feel like weeping when I think of all the barley that has been eaten as cereal or baked in bread rather than made into beer. What a waste!)

During the Middle Ages, hops was added to beer as a bitter flavoring and preservative. Hops are naturally anti-biotic and also a soporific (a drug that causes sleepiness.)

The first beer was ales, fermented at room temperature with a type of yeast that collects at the top surface of the brew. In the late 1800s Czechs invented lager, a cleaner-tasting beer made with bottom-fermenting yeast at a cool temperature (underground caves before refrigeration.) American writer H. L. Mencken described Czech lager as "nectar fit for the gods."

American beers are lagers made with adjuncts replacing a percentage of the malted barley -- mainly rice, but also corn and sugar. Adjuncts lighten the body of the beer (less filling) without adding any flavor of their own. This gives American beer a somewhat watered-down taste compared to all-malt European beers. American beers contain 3%-5% alcohol while malt liquor has 6%-7%.

Federal law allows Americans to homebrew up to 200 gallons of beer each year for personal consumption (although the limit is rarely if ever enforced.) When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, beer homebrewing was nearly banned because beer mash can be easily distilled into an excellent-quality malt whisky. In Germany, where beer is called "liquid bread," homebrewing is strictly illegal.

Believe it or not, Americans are not the biggest beer drinkers in the world. Per capita, we are 12th. The Czech Republic is first, followed by 9 other European countries and Australia.

A poem about beer by Marc Repp:

In search of beer I went
To what expect not known
Some brewer’s time well spent
To hops and barley grown

A multitude was I to meet
And chorus there the praises
With pints of memories so sweet
This angel’s nectar raises

And sometimes lonely corner’s set
As much by choice as chance
Peopled such as one can get
Blinded to the dance

Pour and pour as golden rain
Intoxicant commences
To wash the logic and the pain
As dull become the senses

Still others revel with the brew
The tales of life to learn
And each becomes a friend anew
To buy a round in turn

As politics and love’s respite
Imbue the conversation
To spout emotion held so tight
With influenced elation

Yet here I ramble of reaction
To disregard of cause
Glasses raised in satisfaction
And rounds of true applause

Some brewer’s time well spent
To what expect not known
In search of beer I went
Of hops and barley grown

A multitude to meet was I
As promise to our lips
A glimpse of some to eat I spy
Would some one pass the chips

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Old 03-30-2006, 09:25 AM
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Say what you want about American drinking habits, but I could drink any Czech under the table. All I need is my Miller High Life and some Saltines.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ApplCobbler
Say what you want about American drinking habits, but I could drink any Czech under the table. All I need is my Miller High Life and some Saltines.
Miller beer=panther piss, compared to Czech Pilsner Urquell lager.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by starrwriter
Miller beer=panther piss, compared to Czech Pilsner Urquell lager.

Yeah, I'd like to someone do a kegstand of lager for more than 15 seconds.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ApplCobbler
Yeah, I'd like to someone do a kegstand of lager for more than 15 seconds.
I notice from your profile that you belong to MADD. I belong to DDAMM -- drunk driver's against mad mothers.

(Joking! Never got a single DUI in 40+ years of driving. Drunk drivers actually scare the hell out of me. Can't imagine a more senseless way to die than being hit by some guy who has had ten too many.)
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by starrwriter
I notice from your profile that you belong to MADD. I belong to DDAMM -- drunk driver's against mad mothers.

(Joking! Never got a single DUI in 40+ years of driving. Drunk drivers actually scare the hell out of me. Can't imagine a more senseless way to die than being hit by some guy who has had ten too many.)

Haha, I just bought that earlier because I saw Substance Abuse was a part of it. I figured it would be ironic, since I abuse substances like it's my job.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:59 AM
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Just bought you a beer, starr.
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