Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Food Wednesday - IBD

Celebrate the 496th Anniversary of Reinheitsgebot
Ok, so today's posting isn't exactly food related, nor is it really "new."  But it does celebrate one of the most culturally significant beverages of mankind.

 While the "Coke" logo may be the most familiar icon in the world, beer is arguably more ubiquitous.  It is consumed (and produced) on every continent.  One might argue that coffee or tea warrant the same recognition, but beer has sustained mankind since the ancient Egyptians.

Until comparatively recently, water was not entirely "safe" to drink; but beer was almost always "safe." Until comparatively recently, grains could not be stored for extended period of times; but beer allowed farmers to save their grains for years without the risk of damage from insects, water, or fire.  Brewing beer with leftover grain solved both of these problems.  One might even say that modern society is a product of beer.  There's a reason that the importance of bars, taverns, pubs, public houses, and beir gartens is interwoven into our global society; beer was nectar from the gods.

It was on April 23, 1516, that brewing entered the modern-age when the state of Bavaria passed a small article of legislation limiting the various ingredients certain food producers could use in their products. Known by most English speakers simply as the "German Beer Purity Law," Reinheitsgebot (pronounced: rine-hights-ge-boot, or something like that), limited brewers to using only water, hops, and barley in their brews. Incidentally, it wasn't until the 19th century that anyone realized the importance of yeast in the brewing process.

Today, the strong brewing tradition created by this law has impacted the entire world. Variations of beer produced under its guidance appear all over the globe. In fact, what was once a minor piece of legislation is now the cornerstone for the international brewing standard.

So this April 23, take to the streets and celebrate the birth of the modern beer. Grab some friends and head to the nearest bar or pub, and enjoy a pitcher of your favorite brew. And thank those brave 16th century Germans that continue to touch our lives to this day.

For those in Huntsville, Alabama, the Nook Tavern will offer a special IBD dinner this Saturday starting at 5 pm.  Only 20 orders will be prepared, so make sure you're early!

(incidentally, a separate group has started "International Beer Day" for largely the same purposes, but only IBD celebrates the foundation of modern beer!)

Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sam,

    While we approve of anyone celebrating beer, it's worth noting that the actual, official International Beer Day is on August 5th, not April 23rd. Perhaps you got your holidays crossed?


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