Americans begin celebrating the 2018 American Craft Beer Week today. I am not certain why the celebration is for only one week of the year, but perhaps that will be rectified soon.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the US, although wine and distilled spirits are also much appreciated for their medicinal value.
Beer was long considered as a food — a type of “liquid bread.” Ancient beers were thicker — almost a gruel — and did not keep long before spoiling, unless somehow provided with extraordinarily high alcohol content. The later use of hops and more sophisticated brewing and storage methods allowed for longer periods of aging, and facilitated the use of beer in trade. For many world travelers to the undeveloped world, bottled beer can be one of the few safe drinks available.
Until recent centuries, scattered communities of humans were never more than a few bad years from starvation. Every bit of “food” that could be consumed or preserved for later use had to be utilised. In years where the grain harvest was too large to be safely stored, excess grain was converted into beer. Wine also became a form of “food storage” for later use, particularly in times of good fruit harvests.
These Days Beer is Appreciated For Itself
As we celebrate the 2018 American Craft Beer Week — today through next Sunday — we should be grateful that we do not currently need to view beer as a hedge against famine. Instead, we can enjoy the creative work of thousands of craft brewers who focus upon creating liquid works of art that bring us great pleasure.
Bringing the Brewing Home
Once you have the equipment, homebrewing is the most economical way to keep a supply of your favourite beers close at hand.
Finally: Do not drink and drive, do not start fights you cannot finish, and do not drive into smoke.