“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.” - Benjamin Franklin
I am a beer lover. To a lot of people this may come as a surprise since I am a sommelier. But my weekends, and sometimes, weekdays, I always start with a bottle of refreshing beer. Beer has less alcohol content in it and is close to my heart as it takes me back to my college days. I studied in Kalimpong, and I can never forget the days when I used to guzzle bottles of beer with ease and then, afterwards, got into trouble.
When I think of beer, for some reason I think of Aishwarya Rai gracefully dancing to the song “Kajra Re”from the movie ‘Bunty aur Babli’. I relate drinking beer to a line in that song, ‘Aisi nazar se dekha zaalim ne chowk pe, hamne kaleja raakh diya chaku ke nokh par’. Why? I will get back to that later.
Simply put, if carbon dioxide is added to any brewed beverage made from barley malt, it becomes beer. Horlicks could be converted into beer with my expertise, but I will keep that a secret. Beer is a good friend. But in due time, as the above song mentions, drinking will be as good as putting your liver on the edge of a sharp knife. It is probably the only beverage in the world that makes a man’s belly so prominent that it looks like he is pregnant. I feel then that I would not mind calling a man’s love for beer an ‘affair’.
Nature has taught us about alcohol and not the other way around by any account. The art of brewing takes place naturally in some form or the other. For example, if you have kept your food or juice outside the refrigerator for more than a day or two, you can see fermentation taking place in full swing. The process of brewing beer can be seen all throughout ancient civilizations as well. It is, in fact, considered to be one of the oldest beverages in the world. Believe it or not, ancient Sumerian culture had a matron Goddess of (you guessed it), beer! A prayer to the Goddess – Ninkasi, known as “The Hymn to Ninkasi” – served both as a prayer as well as a method of remembering the recipe for beer among some nomadic communities some 10,000 years ago. How did they do it? It was believed that a piece of bread or grain when wet would ferment and later be mashed to make an intoxicating drink. These nomadic ‘geniuses’ weren’t the only ones involved in making this drink. It is also believed that the Babylonians, who ruled Mesopotamia, could brew 20 different types of beer (Oh, how I would want to do the same!). And then there were the Barbarians who were given the task to brew alcohol by the Romans (Romans considered beer as a barbaric drink and wine to be sober). No wonder Barbarians were known to be beer-loving people.
What is the meaning of this history lesson? Well it just goes to show that wherever there is grain, there is liquor. Beer has been an integral part of human civilization, and by the looks of it, will continue to be so in the future as well.
Some of you might have a problem with me talking about beer. You must be thinking why doesn’t he just stick to talking about wine? Here is why. We are celebrating one of the most loved festivals around the world – Oktoberfest, this week. Whoever started this festival, the whole of the male species will probably kiss his/her feet. This is also my way of thanking the Germans for coming up with Lager, which means to store to create bubbles and to make subtle.
- Only few can drink more than three bottles of beer.
- It makes perfect batter for food.
- Clarification process is difficult.
- It’s all about the malt.
- Horlicks can be converted into beer. (Don’t try that at home!)
Beer is for individuals with a high metabolism rate. It’s a meal in itself and over-indulgence will give you a pot-belly for sure irrespective of gender. So, it is always a good idea to work out after having a couple of beers just so that you can burn the calories.
Food for thought
Many sommeliers try to combine curry and wine, but at the end of the day, it is beer that wins. Remember it’s not beer to blame, rather the people who do not know how to drink it.
Note: The portion on the history of beer has been referred from www.wikipedia.com !