Beer Facts

Beer is fat free.

Beer contains protein and carbohydrates.

Beer is qualified as a family of starch-based beverages produced without distillation. 

Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, was inspired by the lesser-known Lydian and Phrygian god of beer, Sabazius.

In history, brewing beer emerges around the same time that communities of nomadic tribes take up farming, cultivating grains for subsistence.

Sumerians, the first great civilization of Mesopotamia, are well documented in their love of beer and the importance of beer in their ancient culture.

There is documentation of diet beer brewed in ancient Sumer. It was called eb-la, which translates to “lessens the waist”.

Did you know that Japanese sake is actually a type of beer, not a wine?

In the days of poor sanitation (not that long ago at all and still true in some places), beer was one of the few safe ways to stay hydrated.

Prior to 1000 CE, nearly all of the beer in Europe was brewed without the use of hops.

The flavouring agent used in early European beers was purchased through a network of distributing agents (usually a combination of the Church and state) and served as an early form of taxation.

The first hopped beers appear in northern Germany around the year 1000.

Louis Pasteur published Études sur la bière in 1876, an essential document that outlined the causes of beer spoilage and suggestions to prevent it.

‘Small’ beer got its name from its low alcohol content and was used as a safe source of drinking water for people all over the industrialized world and in the colonies.


To clarify a commonly held misconception, cans have no effect on the quality or taste of the beer stored inside them. They also have the advantage of being recyclable and completely opaque, which protects the beer from light.

Canned beer gained consumer popularity with soldiers who had returned home from World War II, familiar and comfortable with cans from their time overseas.

Your tongue has about 10,000 taste buds, so put them to good work and try out a new beer!

Because the agricultural products used to brew beer are traded as commodities, the qualities of a beer are dependent almost entirely on the brewer and their input.

Not all waters are created equal: the origin and treatment of water have an impact on the finished beer, at both the molecular and sensory levels.


Barley’s large reserves of starch that convert into sugars and enzymes that break down this starch at low heat make it the perfect grain for brewing.

Copper is essential to yeast nutrition in the brewing process, so much so that all-stainless steel breweries have to install lengths of copper pipe to ensure the proper living conditions for yeast.

At the present time, all-malt beers are predominantly brewed with two-row barley, which yields plumper kernels and grows well in cooler climates.

Kilning is the source of nearly all malt flavours in beer.

Maillard chemistry is the science of caramelization and accounts for the colour, flavour and aroma of malt.

Hops must be boiled vigourously to extract their bitterness.

Hops are cultivated between the 35 and 55 parallel in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres as they require specific summertime day lengths to produce cones.

Varieties of hops were transported from Europe to the New World and planted by settlers. The descendent strains of some of these plants can still be found growing wild in the country side in climates where hops flourish.

Yeast is remarkably sensitive to temperature and can create completely different beers with only a small temperature variation in the brewing process.


Amber glass bottles provide excellent protection from light (both natural and artificial) which interacts with hop compounds and can cause beer to have a ‘skunky’ taste. Beer with this quality is referred to as ‘light struck’ beer.

To achieve the ultimate draft pint, pour the beer directly into the bottom of a perfectly clean glass. Continue to pour, letting the foam rise and settle until the glass is full, effectively creating a dense and long lasting head on the pint.

The head sticking to the side of your pint glass? That is referred to as lacing and is a sign of a clean glass and a good brew.

When experimenting with taste-testing, be sure to take notes with a mechanical pencil, as the smell of wood pencils can affect your perceptions of the beer in question.

Professional tasters prefer to have their beers presented in white wine glasses because of the shape: holding the stem keeps the beer from being warmed by the judge’s hand, while the upward tapering of the glass presents the beer’s aroma effectively.

When pairing food and beer, be aware that a hoppy bitter flavour emphasizes spicy dishes.


Beer was so important in early Canadian culture that by the time of Confederation in 1867, there was already an established brewing tradition in the colonies.

Louis Hébert and his wife are Canada’s first documented brewers, producing for private consumption as early as 1617.

Early Canadian drinkers would have thought the term “social drinking” to be redundant: having a pint meant being among countrymen in a public drinking establishment.


The increased use of glasses allowed bar patrons to get a good look at what they were drinking, a luxury not afforded by the old pewter and earthenware mugs. This lead to the decline in popularity of porter and an increase in popularity of pale ales and other clear, lighter-coloured varieties of beer.

During the settlement period of Canadian history, the tavern served as a place to grab a pint, a meal and maybe a bed to stay the night. But they also served as a place for the community to gather: where judges would hear complains, politicians would ask for electoral consideration and preachers would deliver their message.

The historical dominance of lager in Western Canada is due in part to the influence of German-American brewers immigrating north to prairie boom towns with the intent to serve thirsty customers.