On April 6, Americans will drink the world’s top beers like it’s a holiday. Or rather, it will be: National Beer Day 2017 grants sports bars and craft breweries alike the chance to celebrate the globe’s best beer — be it domestic, German or Japanese.
Glossary of Beer Terms
- Beer is made with malt, yeast, hops and water
- malt is the barley that produces a beer’s fermented sugar
- lagers are crisp beers with yeast that thrives in a cold environment and is bottom fermented
- ales are fruity-estery beers with yeast that thrives in a warm environment and is top fermented
- hops are flowers added for either bitterness or aroma, depending on when they are used in the brewing process
- IBUs — international bittering units — measure of the concentration of hop compounds in beer
- IPAs (Indian Pale Ale), loaded with hops and flavour, were invented by British to transport to India
- stouts dark roasted barley ale marked by its thick mouthfeel and coffee taste
- pilsner is a pale lager of Czech origin that accounts for more than two-thirds of the world’s beer
- ABV measures the alcohol by volume
- gravity is a beer’s total sugar
Top Beers By Country For The Best National Beer Day 2017
— 石井忍 (@shinov141) March 26, 2017
— Cerveza del Viernes (@cervezadviernes) February 15, 2017
— CR-eate (@camilorojas) December 24, 2014
— Beer-Ritz Leeds (@BeerRitzLeeds) April 5, 2017
— All Beers (@allbeers) March 10, 2017
En Xyauyù från 2013 på 14% från Birra Baladin som släpptes på Systembolaget nyligen. En helt underbar barleywine me… pic.twitter.com/driLsCODT3
— Pilsner.nu (@pilsner_nu) December 17, 2016
— David Barker (@DavidinRTW) March 19, 2017
— The Hop Face (@hop_face) October 18, 2016
— Chino Cantero (@ChinoCantero) March 26, 2017
— ほ。(404 Not Found) (@daisukeHORIKAWA) March 10, 2017
— nOnsOnOstatOio (@indice_italiano) July 29, 2014
— The Odom Corporation (@odomcorp) November 3, 2016
— So Pissed Up (@sopissedup) March 8, 2016
Brief History of Beer
While Germany and its adjacent countries are looked to as the epicenter of top beers in the world, the beverage’s earliest incarnations appear further east. The first appearance of a drink resembling beer dates back as far back as 7,000 B.C. in modern-day Iran. Similar concoctions also appeared in China and Mesopotamia. It’s even referenced in The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Beer became a staple across many cultures and classes but stayed largely a household production until somewhere between the 8th and 12th century — when monasteries first began to take over the production of beer in Germany, reported The Spruce. The next few centuries saw a struggle between who could and could not legally produce beer as well as who could posses the herb mixture that made it more tolerable to consume. In 1516, Germany established the Reinheitsgebot, or the Bavarian Beer Purity Act, which sought to limit beer to three ingredients only: barley, hops, and pure water. A form of the measure stayed in place until 1987, when it was struck down by a European Union court of law for being too protectionist.
Around this time period, the best beers started to make their rounds to nearby markets. It marked the beginning of brewing as an international trade, with “hot spots” developing in Flanders, Holland, Germany, and England, wrote Johan F. M. Swinnen in his book The Economics of Beer. Increased competition and technological advancements caused brewing to evolve very rapidly following the Industrial Revolution, and a devotion to innovation is still palpable in the modern day industry.
Today, the global market includes countries from every continent and an international beer market that experts predict will hit $688.4 billion by 2020. Consumers also now have more choices than ever, not only because of more experimental craft beers but also because of the ease with which Americans can now access a variety of top import beer.
American beer is coming out of its own dark ages of sorts, a setback that began with Prohibition from 1919 to 1933. Suddenly, finding their product illegal, brewers either went out of business, tried to switch to “near beer” or started selling something else using their beer equipment and raw materials, reported Mental Floss. Even afterward, breweries were forced to stay below a 3.2 ABV percent threshold until the limit was raised state-by-state. These factors contributed to watered-down, low-quality brew.
Thankfully, that trajectory was corrected during the ’70s and ramped up significantly in the early ’90s when craft and microbreweries started to see a resurgence in the U.S. Today, the establishments have exploded from approximately 250 in 1989 to more than 3,400 in 2014, previously reported the Inquisitr. Even big players have tried to get in on the action, such as Shock Top and Blue Moon — which are actually products of big players Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. The latter company was slapped with a lawsuit in 2015 for exceeding Brewer’s Association production limits and deceptive packaging.
What are your top beers for National Beer Day 2017? Will you be drinking American or German? From a craft brewery or the gas station?
[Featured Image by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images]