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National Drink Beer Day

Today is for drinking beer! Beer making can be traced to about 6,000 years ago in ancient Sumeria. At that time, beer was cloudy because of lack of filtering, and it was drunk through a straw. By 2000 BCE, the Babylonians were brewing 20 types of beer. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans made beer, although wine became much more popular with the Romans—they considered beer to be the drink of the Barbarians and it was only popular on the edges of the Empire. Germanic groups were brewing beer by 800 BCE.

Because of contamination, beer was a much safer drink than water during the Middle Ages; it was drunk by people of all ages from all classes. The Catholic Church even got involved with brewing beer, and abbeys were testing grounds for improvements in brewing. Beginning in the ninth century, in Germany, hops began being introduced, standards were set up for beer, and beer began being mass-brewed. The 1516 Beer Purity Law—Reinheitsgebot—said a certain level of quality must be met for German beer. All beer could only be made with water, hops, malted barley, malted wheat, and yeast.

In the 1800s, Louis Pasteur discovered the role of yeast in the fermentation process, as well as pasteurization. Soon came along automatic bottling, commercial refrigeration, and railroads. All of these advancements allowed beer to be more easily produced and distributed. By 1880, there were 3,200 breweries in the United States. Prohibition closed them, but today there are almost as many breweries as there were in 1880, aided in part by the rise in the number of small craft breweries. With so many breweries and styles of beer to choose from, there is plenty of beer that can be drunk on National Drink Beer Day!

How to Observe National Drink Beer Day

Celebrate the day by drinking beer! Enjoy one at a bar or at a nearby brewery. There are many breweries around the world you could visit as well. If you feel like staying at home, pick up a six pack of craft beer, or do some homebrewing.

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