Nobody likes a beer snob. Even beer snobs don’t like beer snobs.
So, when someone wrinkles their nose at a Bud Light and then reaches for a Chimay Rouge, it’s hard not to get your back up as they start talking about yeast strains and overtones of cinnamon and ripe apricot.
To clarify immediately and to save some face, as home brewers and beer enthusiasts, it is almost impossible for us not to get animated, seem intense and be extremely specific when we are talking about a product we wish we could eat, breathe, sleep and bring home to introduce to our parents.
By this we mean, this stuff doesn’t just taste good, this stuff is fascinating.
What are we on about? Here is a little Beer History 101:
Technologically speaking, the craft of brewing predates the invention of steam engines, the pencil, fireworks, the compass, chopsticks and soap.
And yes, that is the Mesopotamian variety, circa 2800 BCE.
Since this time, the evolution of the brewing process has brought on a slew of scientific advancements: on April 20 (yeah, yeah, that’s 4/20) 1864, Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard completed the first successful test of pasteurization with the aim of preventing the souring of beer and wine.
Beer and wine, for Pete’s sake! Take that, milk!
Developments in both the study of pH and the microscope have also been attributed to brewing scientists.
On a cultural note and for our fellow equal-opportunity enthusiasts, some of the first documented brewers were female. The majority of beer brewed in Ancient Babylon and later in Europe during the Middle Ages was produced for domestic consumption and nearly all of it by women brewers — or ‘brewsters’ as they were referred to.
Politically, in 1516, Germany enacted the Reinheitsgebot — German (Bavarian) Beer Purity Law — legally restricting the ingredients of beer to water, barley and hops, and harmonizing the selling price.
Beer was such a big deal that they actually created laws for it.
Laws for it!
Does anyone here know of a law that regulates how to make a cup of coffee? Or how it should be priced? No, we didn’t think so.
Prior to 1516, one of the earliest written ethical codes in humanity, the Code of Hammurabi, outlined beer regulations for the Babylonian empire. In fact, the oldest writings about beer predate the first of the Great Pyramids … by over three thousand years.
So, when we kick back in our Canadian Tire camping chairs and put our wort on for a 60-minute boil and you sit back at the High Country and sip on a wheat ale made exclusively for the Yukon, we are taking part in one of the oldest, most influential traditions on this planet.
All snobbery aside, this is a beverage with some history.
Over the coming months, we will be taking you through reviews, comparisons, FAQs and current events.
Please enjoy this article responsibly.