Oompah! Singin' about beer

Mar 24, 2011

The world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, and the third most popular drink overall.

The invention of beer is argued to be responsible for humanity's ability to develop technology and build civilization. Think about that for a moment the next time you crack open a cold one. Those early Neolithic humans were tipsy.

Although we are not aware of any modern day religions based on beer, history has at least one example of beer worship. Take the Sumerians, they were one of the first civilized cultures on planet Earth. They invented a bunch of stuff that we still use today, like the wheel, math, and writing. And beer.  

In fact, some of the earliest Sumerian writing is a prayer to the goddess of alcoholic beverages, Ninkasi, which conveniently happens to include the recipe for beer.

3,500 years later, we're still enjoying the bubbly brew, most avidly it seems in Europe, where in some places, like the Czech Republic the annual per capita consumption of beer is 158 litres which works out to 2.7 hectares, or 41 gallons.

Beer belly, it turns out, is not caused by the beer, per se. It’s caused by the fact that after having a few, you’re less likely to go jogging, and more likely to lay on the couch watching “Laverne & Shirley” re-runs. Lucky for us, our Neolithic ancestors didn’t have cable.

So, the next time you hoist a glass of beer, say a toast to the goddess Ninkasi, and to the Sumerians for remembering the recipe.

This Week's POP QUIZ

A. What two beverages are more popular than beer?

  1. Kool Aid
  2. Tea
  3. Water
  4. Medium-dry vodka martini, twist of lemon, shaken, not stirred.

B. What is the science of brewing beer called?

  1. Zyzygy
  2. Zymurgy
  3. Schlitzology
  4. They have a science for that?

C. What common expressions come from the world of beer?

  1. The Golden Rule
  2. Mind your P’s and Q’s.
  3. The Rule of Thumb
  4. The Pythagorean Theorem

Answers below...




A. (2) Tea and (3) Water

B. (2) Zymurgy

C. (2) Mind your Pints and Quarts

 And (3) The Rule of Thumb was used by brewers to test temperature of the brew with their thumb.