The United Kingdom’s National Beer Day takes place annually on 15 June in Britain. It was introduced by beer sommelier, writer and drinks educator Jane Peyton in 2015. The main focus of the day is the National Cheers To Beer that takes place at 7 pm when people also sing the Cheers To Beer anthem co-written by Jane Peyton.
Beer is the world’s oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drink; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. The production of beer is called brewing, which involves the fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from cereal grain starches—most commonly from malted barley, although wheat, maize (corn), and rice are widely used. Most beer is flavoured with hops, which add bitterness and act as a natural preservative, though other flavourings such as herbs or fruit may occasionally be included. The fermentation process causes a natural carbonation effect, although this is often removed during processing, and replaced with forced carbonation. Some of humanity’s earliest known writings refer to the production and distribution of beer: the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours, and “The Hymn to Ninkasi”, a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, served as both a prayer and as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.
Beer is sold in bottles and cans; it may also be available on draught, particularly in pubs and bars. The brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. The strength of beer is usually around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (abv), although it may vary between 0.5% and 20%, with some breweries creating examples of 40% abv and above. Beer forms part of the culture of beer-drinking nations and is associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling, and pub games such as bar billiards. The date was chosen because 15 June is also the date that Magna Carta was sealed in 1215 and ale is mentioned in clause 35 of Magna Carta, which states:
“Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely ‘the London quarter”
Ale, along with bread, was an important source of nutrition in the medieval world, particularly small beer, also known as table beer or mild beer, which was highly nutritious, contained just enough alcohol to act as a preservative, and provided hydration without intoxicating effects. Small beer would have been consumed daily by almost everyone, including children, in the medieval world, with higher-alcohol ales served for recreational purposes. The lower cost for proprietors combined with the lower taxes levied on small beer led to the selling of beer labeled “strong beer” that had actually been diluted with small be. In medieval times, ale may have been safer to drink than most water (the germ theory of disease was unheard of, and the sterilizing properties of boiling unknown); however, there is no period evidence that people were aware of this nor that they chose to drink ale for this reason. The alcohol, hops and fruit used to preserve some ales may have contributed to their lower load of pathogens, when compared to water. However, ale was largely safer due to the hours of boiling required in production, not the alcoholic content of the finished beverage.
Brewing ale in the Middle Ages was a local industry primarily pursued by women. Brewsters, or alewives, would brew in the home for both domestic consumption and small scale commercial sale. Brewsters provided a substantial supplemental income for families; however, only in select few cases, as was the case for widows, was brewing considered the primary income of the household. The word ale is related to the Old English alu or ealu, aloth and ealoth in the genitive and dative. It is believed to stem from Proto-Indo-European root *alu-, through Proto-Germanic *aluth- This is a cognate of Old Saxon alo, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic and Old Norse öl/øl, Finnish olut, Estonian õlu, Old Bulgarian olu cider, Slovenian ol, Old Prussian alu, Lithuanian alus, Latvian alus. Ale is typically fermented at temperatures between 15 and 24 °C (60 and 75 °F). At temperatures above 24 °C (75 °F) the yeast can produce significant amounts of esters and other secondary flavour and aroma products, and the result is often a beer with slightly “fruity” compounds resembling those found in fruits such as, but not limited to: apple, pear, pineapple, banana, plum, cherry, or prune.
There are many Varieties of ale including Brown ales which tend to be lightly hopped, and fairly mildly flavoured, often with a nutty taste. In the south of England they are dark brown, around 3-3.5% alcohol and quite sweet; in the north they are red-brown, 4.5-5% and drier. English brown ales first appeared in the early 1900s, with Manns Brown Ale and Newcastle Brown Ale as the best-known examples. The style became popular with homebrewers in North America in the early 1980s; Pete’s Wicked Ale is an example, similar to the English original but substantially hoppier. Pale ale was a term used for beers made from malt dried with coke which was first used for roasting malt in 1642, but it wasn’t until around 1703 that the term pale ale was first used.
By 1784 advertisements were appearing in the Calcutta Gazette for “light and excellent” pale ale. By 1830 onward the expressions bitter and pale ale were synonymous.. Breweries would tend to designate beers as pale ale, though customers would commonly refer to the same beers as bitter. It is thought that customers used the term bitter to differentiate these pale ales from other less noticeably hopped beers such as porter and mild. By the mid to late 20th century, while brewers were still labelling bottled beers as pale ale, they had begun identifying cask beers as bitter, except those from Burton on Trent, which tend to be referred to as pale ales regardless of the method of dispatch.
IPA Was created During the nineteenth century, when beers from the Bow Brewery in England were exported to India, among them a pale ale which was able to ferment further during the lengthy voyage and became highly regarded among its consumers in India. Normally Most beers would spoil during a long voyage so To avoid this, extra hops were added as a natural preservative. This beer was the first of a style of export ale that became known as India Pale Ale or IPA. It was appreciated in India for its light and refreshing character, which was ideal in the hot climate of that country.
Developed in hope of winning the younger people away from drinking lager in favour of cask ales, it is quite similar to pale ale yet there are some notable differences—it is paler, brewed with lager or low temperature ale malts and it is served at colder temperatures. The strength of golden ales varies from 3.5% to 5.3%. Scotch Ales are a malty, strong ale, amber-to-dark red in colour. The malt may be slightly caramelised to impart toffee notes; generally, Scottish beers tend to be rather sweeter, darker and less hoppy than English ones. The classic styles are Light, Heavy and Export, also referred to as 60/-, 70/- and 80/- (shillings) respectively, dating back to the 19th century method of invoicing beers according to their strength.
Barley wines range from 10% to 12%, with some stored for long periods of time, about 18 to 24 months. While drinking barley wine, one should be prepared to taste “massive sweet malt and ripe fruit of the pear drop, orange and lemon type, with darker fruits, chocolate and coffee if darker malts are used. Hop rates are generous and produce bitterness and peppery, grassy and floral notes”. Mild ale originally meant unaged ale, the opposite of old ale. It can be any strength or colour, although most are dark brown and low in strength, typically between 3 and 3.5%. An example of a lighter coloured mild is Banks’s Mild. Burton ale on the other hand, is a strong, dark, somewhat sweet ale sometimes used as a stock ale for blending with younger beers. Bass No.1 was a classic example of Burton ale. Fullers 1845 Celebration Ale is considered by some to be a rare modern example of a Burton ale.
Old ale was strong beer traditionally kept for about a year, gaining sharp, acetic flavours as it did so. The term is now applied to medium-strong dark beers, some of which are treated to resemble the traditional old ales. In Australia, the term is used even less discriminately, and is a general name for any dark beer.
Belgium produces a wide variety of speciality ales. Virtually all Belgian ales are high in alcoholic content but relatively light in body due to the substitution of part of the grist for sucrose, which provides an alcohol boost without adding unfermentable material to the finished product. This process is often said to make a beer more digestible.