2010 is a significant year for beer production. “Why?” you may well ask. Well in 2010 world beer production is expected to exceed 2 billion hectoliters for the first time.
Two Thirds of all beer is sold in glass bottles and 31.5% in cans. So if you drink kegged ale you are in a select minority.
Imagine a country where beer is the staple food, civil servants and soldiers are paid in beer. Even children drink light beer. Brewing is a state monopoly so that it remains affordable, and, landlords who adulterate their beer are put to death. Such a country exists, but where is it? Well actually it used to exist in Egypt 17 Centuries BC.
Beer was invented 3500 years BC in Mesopotamia but now the biggest market is China with 43,429.8 million liters per annum which is almost double the 25,041 million liters market of USA and almost four times the third and fourth markets of Brazil and Russia.
So let me extol the virtues of beer to you. Here are ten good things about beer.
1) It does not have as many calories as you think. 200 milliliters of beer has a mere 76 Calories whereas the same quantity of fruit juice has 96 Calories and 200 grams of yogurt has 164 Calories – so drink beer to get thin? Oh, I forgot beer gives you the “munchies” so the packet of crisps or nuts will add the extra calories, plus who ever drunk 200ml of beer? The minimum is 375ml but mostly people drink 500ml ( about a pint)
2) Drunk in moderation, beer leads to a favorable fat sugar metabolism according to sports scientists. Even better is it helps the cholesterol balance and improves the cardiovascular system.
3) Polyphenols in beer are antioxidants and help combat free radicals in the body. Free radicals are implicated in many health problems such as cancer.
4) More than 30 trace elements and minerals can be found in the malt which goes into beer. For example one liter of beer provides 30% of the daily requirement of magnesium, 25% of phosphorous and 30% of potassium.
5) Beer has low sodium and calcium content making it a good diuretic which leads to a good electrolyte balance as sodium is excreted and potassium and magnesium are not. This helps guard against cardio-vascular disease and the formation of gall stones and urinary calculi (solids in the urinary tract which include kidney stones).
6) Beer contains essential amino acids in small quantities as well as 210 milligrams per liter of vitamins. Predominantly Vitamin B (B1, B2, B6 but also H) which are good for your nerves and, wait for it, improve your concentration. In addition they promote the formation of red blood cells.
7) The hops in beer have a calming effect and reduce tension in your muscle. The relaxing effect is also helped by the low alcohol content and in some beers the carbonation.
8) Beer is good for metabolism as it contains easily digestible protein and carbohydrate only a small amount of sugar and very little acid.
9) Beer is an excellent thirst quencher and it tastes good. There are so many beers on the market you have to be able to find one that you like. There are lagers, real ales, fruit ales, wheat beers, stouts etc. etc. Truly there is something for everyone if only they can be bothered to look.
10). It is not seasonally limited like wines which rely on fruit ripening. The ingredients are easily stored dry and brews made up as required
Finally and not least it is an excellent communication facilitator- many is the time a conversation is easier after a few beers. But as Paracelsus observed “the dose makes the poison” so don’t overdose on beer or it will poison you and your experience.