Cheers, Salut, Skol, Prost, Nastrovje!
We have a ton of words in every language to clink glasses. The culture to drink together exists all over the world. People drink tea in Turkey and India, people drink coffee in Italy! Everywhere in the world, there is a culture of drinking alcoholic beverages for any kind of event. One of the oldest drinks is beer. It is most widely consumed, so after water and tea, it is the most popular beverage.
Beer is brewed from cereal grains like malted barley, wheat, maize, and rice. The mixture will be fermented with the starch sugars during the process. Nowadays, beer is mostly brewed with malt. It gives a taste of bitterness. Furthermore, it is a natural preservative and stabilizing agent.
As mentioned before, beer is one of the oldest drinks we know. Some of the first referral is in the Code of Hammurabi (1754BC) which describes laws and rules about beer and restaurants. The Hymn to Ninkasi is a prayer for the Mesopotamian goddess of beer and at the same time a reminder for the recipe of the beverage.
Nowadays beer is a global brewing business. People drink from bottles, cans, and most commonly from a cask in a glass cup. There are numerous multinational companies and countless local breweries. We have some very popular brands like Heineken or Corona and newcomers like Melvin Brewing which get famous all over the world.
Most commonly beer has an average of 4 to 6 % alcohol volume. With extraordinary producers, we can find beer with very little (0,5%) or a lot (40%) alcohol volume. Beer is measured by color, bitterness, and strength.
Beer is part of nearly every nation. It plays an important role in society. People meet in pubs, clubs, and restaurants to get drunk, to enjoy and have fun while drinking beer. Some people celebrate their birthday by clinking the beer glasses. There are games just made for beer: Let´s play beer pong! Having a beer while preparing the BBQ at a family gathering is a must-have. Having a 5 pm beer after work is a widely used tradition. People working on the construction side finish their work with a beer. Breweries offer beer tastings! In some countries, we can find regular beer festivals where people come together to taste the newest, extraordinary beers. One of the most popular festivals is the German “October-Fest” where countless people from all around the world come to celebrate the beer.
Belgium is known as the country with the richest beer culture. It is now added to UNESCO´s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. In Belgium, the range of beer is huge because of the variety of brewing processes and methods of fermentation. The knowledge is handed over from generation to generation. The diversity of beer styles is astonishing!
Generally saying, the importance of beer is totally on a social basis. A relatively new profession is the beer sommelier who has all the detailed knowledge of beer tastes and combinations. Beer is part of nearly all social events from a family gathering, playing games, meeting friends. People even take a cold beer for their hike. The drink is part of all our social activities. Many people don´t even realize it because they are so used to it, while people who don’t drink beer can see what a powerful position beer became in our society.