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Man has been brewing beer for about the past eight thousand years. For the most part, early brewers were experimentalists who produced various mixtures for themselves and their friends and family. Today, the beer industry has a multi-billion dollar market and competition is stiff with literally thousands of commercial brewers around the world.

The oldest document yet discovered by man, a clay tablet inscribed in Babylonia around 6000 B.C., depicts the preparation of beer for sacrificial purposes. Two thousand years later, the Babylonians had made over sixteen different types of beer using wheat, barley, and honey.

Today, imported beers are very popular in the United States where over one hundred foreign beers have a small hold on the market. European beer is by far the most popular, with the German beers topping the charts. The Dutch beer Heinekin is also very popular, as is the Mexican beer, Corona.

Beer is the product of the fermentation of sugar into alcohol by yeast. The prime ingredients are barley, malt extract, and hops. To make beer, barley is soaked in water for hydration, sprouted, then dried to form malt. The malt is then "mashed" in heated water under controlled circumstances to allow fermentation to occur and produce alcohol. Beer can be filtered or pasteurized, then charged with carbon dioxide to give the tingling taste.

Beers are divided into a variety of types. Lager beers are stored for a period of time to allow a second fermentation to occur. Many German beers are Lagers. A stronger beer is Ale, which is low on hops and carbonation, and is very popular in England. A rich malty beer is called Stout or Porter and has a rather strong bitter hop taste and a high alcohol content.

More recently, "Light" beers have appeared in the marketplace and are gaining very rapidly in popularity. These beers are usually very light or pale in color and have a lower calorie and alcohol content than their regular brand name counterparts.


St. Pauli Girl


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