Belgrade Beer Fest
08.17-21.2011.Belgrade Beer Fest
facts about beer
Beer... And What's That?

Beer is a low-alcohol beverage, whose production process involves malt, hops, water and beer yeast fermentation. Water is the beverage's main ingredient, which serves as the solvent. Malt is obtained from cereals, most often brewers' grits, and it gives extract ingredients to beer which affect the aroma and concentration of basic beer extract. Hops conserve beer and give it the pleasant aroma and bitter taste, while brewers' grits cause fermentation which transforms sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Beer is a completely natural and biologically balanced product, deserving of the name "liquid food." The energy value of one liter of standard beer is equal to the energy value of one liter of whole milk.

Structure of Beer

The "precious liquid" consists of water, ethanol, carbon dioxide and malt extract's unfermented part (dry matter). The percentage of ethanol depends on the dry matter concentration in malt used for beer production and degree of fermentation. Depending on the type of beer, the alcohol volume can be less than 5% in non-alcoholic beers and exceeding 8% in barley wine. Lagers contain up to 0.5% of carbon dioxide, which gives them a fresh taste and foam. The stability of foam depends on the concentration and chemical structure of the unfermented extract - beers with more extract generally have stronger foam. The extract's quantity and chemical structure will give more or less lasting foam. On pouring the beer, the foam should last for at least three minutes. Carbon dioxide bubbles rising from the bottom to the top help sustain the foam. The beer extract is mostly made up of carbon hydrates and smaller amounts of proteins, amino acids, glycerin, and malt parts. The fullness of taste depends on the extract structure. The extract's chemical structure depends not only on malt, but also on malt production and fermentation process, or the final degree of fermentation.


Excavations and ancient documents led the archaeologists to believe that beer was produced in the old Babylon homesteads as early as around 7000 B.C. There were 16 kinds of beer. Grits sugar and wheat were used for fermentation. From Babylon, beer production spread to ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and other countries. Egyptians produced beer as early as in 2000 B.C. Accepting Egyptian civilization, ancient Greeks mastered beer production as well. Old Romans, German tribes and other European civilizations followed in their footsteps. Back then, beer was made of sugar and no hops, and the final product was very sour. Various herbs (absinthe, saffron, etc.) were used as additives. The use of hops was an important discovery, as the modern beer technology is based on this cereal. Hops were first used in Novgorodskaya Russia. The steam engine development had a positive impact on the art of brewing. The most important technical discovery, however, was the cooling machine. Thanks to the major 19th century scientific-technical achievements, small businesses could merge into big breweries.

Beer Is Healthy!

It is a false belief that beer fattens - beer is as "fattening" as any other food and only if consumed more than the body requires. Most doctors agree that a small amount of beer (0.5 liters a day) has desirable effects on treatment of serious diseases (tuberculosis, cholera, cancer, etc.) and prevents new ones. The reasons might lie in the beer content, and the fact that beer reduces stress. Beer components not only boost stomach and digestive tract activity, but also, together with unfermented carbon hydrates, they slow down the passage of alcohol from stomach into blood.

A very interesting research was conducted by a French doctor, which involved statistical monitoring of health condition of soldiers in the south and north of France. Dr Vincent found that the beer drinking northerners were two times less affected by illness than the wine drinking southerners. A German doctor processed statistically the frequency of carcinoma among industrial workers. Dr Chabot discovered that, with the exception of throat cancer, beer drinkers were as much as two times less stricken by cancer than the non-beer drinking workers. Beer protects organism from various radiations, especially the detrimental effect of the Roentgen rays. It probably has something to do with the presence of reduced glutathione in beer, which has the ability of tying up free radicals. Pathogenic microorganisms cannot multiply in beer. Dr Enders tested beer's bactericidal efficiency as compared to certain pathogenic microorganisms, and found that the cholera bacterium dies in beer in 15 minutes, while the typhus bacterium dies in 30 minutes.

The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a ten-year long research on heart attack, which was conducted on a sample of 7,000 beer drinkers. The research established that an average consumption of one to three pints (0.57 l) a day has a protective function against heart attack. The results might not be strange if it is considered that beer quenches thirst and relaxes. Professor Anton Pindl of the Technical University in Munich pointed to a relation between the beer-induced relaxation and "psychosocial stress." The term encompasses fear, tension, and aggression. Beer wipes it all out, as it does with the risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes and gout.

Beer Boosts Intelligence!

Moderate alcohol consumption makes people smarter, according to scientists who conducted a research on a sample of 2,000 people. The polled beer drinkers who drank about a liter per day had a slightly higher IQ than those who did not drink beer at all. Intelligence seems to be stimulated by polyphenols, chemical clusters present in alcohol. A research conducted in Japan showed that the participants drank four units of alcohol a day, or two 0.5 liter-pints of beer, also equal to four glasses of wine.

Beer Tasting
  1. The beer tasting area should be well lit so that you can judge the clarity and color of beer. It should also be free of any interfering smells.
  2. The beer glass must be perfectly clean, free from scratches and large enough to admit your nose while you're taking a sip of the precious liquid. It's the best way to experience the smell of beer as well.
  3. Before beer tasting, refrain from spicy and greasy food. Also, do not wear aftershave, perfume, lipstick or any cosmetic products.
  4. Before opening, check the expiry date and the bottle for sedimentation.
  5. Feel the bottle! Of course, beer must be cold, but there is no need for exaggeration. The ideal beer temperature is between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius. Forget about the ice-cold beer myth - at a too low temperature you won't feel any aroma.
  6. When opening the bottle, pay attention to the amount of foam and the way carbon dioxide reacts.
  7. When pouring, simply let the beer slide into the glass. It is only when you have filled two thirds of the glass that you can straighten the bottle so as to get the finishing foam. Beer needs foam to rise over the rim.
  8. When you have poured the beer, check the aroma immediately (as with wine). Namely, many of the aromatic beer contents evaporate very quickly in contact with air. Can you feel the aroma of malt? Does it taste like lemon, flowers or freshly mown grass?
  9. Then take a larger sip. Unlike wine, beer is drunk in larger sips and the oral cavity needs to be filled. Feel and compare the relation between the temperature, aroma and amount of foam.
  10. Never swish the beer around in your mouth! Just let it slide into your stomach. Try to compare the relation of the temperature, aroma and amount of foam before and after the sip. Wait about 15 seconds and try to determine the taste of the beer again after swallowing. Is it sweet or dry? Does it linger in your mouth or disappear quickly?
  11. Smell the beer again. Some aromas come to the fore a minute or two after the bottle is opened. Then take another hefty sip and compare the results with the ones from the beginning of the test.
  12. Unsalted crackers and ordinary bread are enough to reset your beer tasting buds.
  13. Repeat the whole procedure.
  14. And when you have decided that that beer is just right for you, drink until you drop.
Assessment of Beer Quality

There are many ways to assess the quality of beer. The method presented by Fred Eckhardt, who is considered to be one of the world's best beer connoisseurs, is one of the most acceptable. He singled out several assessment categories for separate consideration. Their sum indicates the quality of beer. The maximum score by this method is 20 points.

The assessment categories include:


1. Appearance (maximum 3 points):

  • appearance and density of head
  • lees found at the bottom of a bottle
  • glass appearance

2. Aroma (maximum 4 points):

  • general fragrance, bouquet and hops aroma

3. Flavor (maximum 10 points):

  • quality of hops
  • ratio of malt to alcohol
  • character of beer
  • aftertaste
  • density

4. General impression (maximum 3 points)

Beer Temperature

Different beer producers recommend different serving temperatures for their beer. However, depending on the type, subcategory and beer ingredients, optimal serving temperatures can be determined quite precisely. For example, pilsners are served at rather low temperatures, around 0°C, while most British ales, porters and stouts are served at the British Cellar Temperature, between 5°C and 11°C, some reaching up to 13°C.

The temperature greatly affects the flavor of beer. The cooler the beer, the lower the quantity of carbon dioxide, and the less distinct its flavor and aroma. Chilled beer numbs the taste and smell receptors in the mouth and nasal passage.

The main types of beer are served as follows:

  • Pilsners at 0°C,
  • Lagers at 5°C to 9°C,
  • Ales at 7°C to 11°C,
  • Stouts at 8°C to 13°C,
  • Old ales are served at room temperature.
Beer Glasses

Thick beer glasses are more likely to preserve the quality of beer, keeping the optimal serving temperature. Such glasses provide thermal insulation. That's why beer mugs are so popular - they are made of thick glass, which can maintain the temperature for quite some time. Stemmed glasses are used as well, since they prevent the hand from heating the beer. These glasses should be held by the stem, never by the bowl.

Anyhow, both beer mugs and glasses must be large enough to hold the whole bottle, including the head. Many people don't like foam on their beer, so they pour it down the side of a glass. Foam is very important and greatly affects the general impression. It prevents heating, isolating the beer from the external environment, and provides the necessary bitterness, the flavor of yeast and aroma.

The shape of a beer glass is important as well, and it should match the specific type of beer. Lager, which is usually consumed quickly, having a lower percentage of alcohol, should be served in a short-stemmed glass with ovoid bowl. Drinking the beer quickly won't give the beer a chance to warm up. Unlike lager, assorted beers are served in chalice-like glasses with taller stems. They should be sipped, since they contain a higher percentage of alcohol and the tall stem prevents the hand from warming the beer.

Misconceptions About Beer

Beer is often, for no explicable reason, said to be consumed by the less educated people with not so deep pockets, while the richer and more respected strata enjoy other drinks, primarily wine. This opinion is refuted by sportsmen like Boris Becker and Jurgen Klinsmann, politicians Roman Herzog and Helmut Kohl, models Eva Herzigova and Naomi Campbell, actors Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner and Brad Pitt, singer Tom Jones, and even the royalty - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince William Alexander of Denmark, etc. They all enjoy their mugs, glasses, or bottles of this special "juice".


A small lizard from Colorado managed to survive a trip from the US to Britain in a cistern full of beer. The only obvious consequence that the lizard suffered was intoxication. British brewery workers found the lizard on opening the cistern with beer, and marveled at its survival of the six-day trip from the US. They assumed that the cistern had not been filled to the top, which gave the little reptile enough air to breathe. The lizard's intoxication was of no surprise: Who would remain sober after living off beer for almost one week? The tough lizard was immediately named after the lizards from the popular commercial for the US Budweiser, and is now known as Buda.

 Merry pigs that mainly ate beer and hops were sold for steaks and chops. A farm of pigs owned by British brewery Adnams was sold in February 2003 along with 570 pigs that were given up to 20 liters of junk beer, hops, brewers' yeast and barley on a daily basis. Adnams bought a farm in the vicinity of Radon brewery, where pig breeding was started in 1980, in an ecologically approved attempt at solving the problem of beer production waste materials. Although the "brewery pork" was in high demand due to its great succulence, the farmer had to sell the pigs and retire, as the market recorded a considerable fall in pork price. The pigs will most likely end up in a slaughterhouse, while according to the brewery's General Manager Jonathan Adnams, "the pigs enjoyed the food we were giving them!" The brewery now plans to process the highly nourishing waste into fertilizers.

According to a Guinness brewery research, more than 90,000 liters of Guinness beer goes to waste in the United Kingdom a year, as it is the quantity estimated to remain on the beer drinkers' mustaches. The loss costs the mustached consumers almost $700,000. Dermatologists claim that hairs have the ability of absorbing up to 20% of their own weight in liquids. The research showed that British beer drinkers complete their pints of Guinness (0.57 liter) in about ten gulps, and that 0.56 milliliters of beer is lost per each gulp. Obviously, the pollsters were not satisfied with only the wasted beer data, but also went on to calculate the economic loss incurred by the length, shape and density of mustaches.

Recipes for Hangover

Alcohol is known to cause body dehydration. It is recommended to take plenty of water after heavy drinking. As soon as you wake up, you should repeat the procedure as the body loses a large quantity of water during the night. A hangover is usually accompanied by a headache. To prevent a headache, it is best to take an aspirin. You should not take the aspirin before the drinking, though, as aspirin is proven to increase the alcohol absorption in blood by 40% to 100%. The solution might be hiding in the Belgian way of pouring beer. It is important to pour beer in a way which leaves "three fingers" of foam. The foam that brims over the top of the glass needs to be removed, as it is full of excessive carbon dioxide, which causes heartburn, belching and headache. The beer without too much foam is more easily drunk and digested. Naturally, the queen of all recipes is a double Turkish coffee.

They said about beer...

A woman is alot like a beer, they smell good, they look good, and you'd step over your own mother to get one.
Homer Simpson

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
Frank Zappa

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
Ernest Hemmingway

Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.
Winston Churchill

He was a wise man who invented beer.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Benjamin Franklin

Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.
Kaiser Welhelm

Woman talks. Beer doesn' t.

If you see a beer, do it a favor, and drink it.
Michael Jackson (every normal man )...

"The government will fall that raises the price of beer."
Czech saying

Everybody's old enough for a beer, ain't that right, Mule?
Jack Nicholson

I work until beer o'clock.
Steven King

Keep your libraries, your penal institutions, your insane asylums … give me beer. You think man needs rule, he needs beer. The world does not need morals, it needs beer. The souls of men have been fed with indigestibles, but the soul could make use of beer.
Henry Miller

And on the seventh day, God made beer.

You don't like jail? Now, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.
Charles Bukowski

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