Beer is one of the oldest and most consumed beverages in the world. It probably was first brewed in 9000 B.C., and while tastes have improved, the desire for beer has not waned. According to the Brewer’s Association, more than 210.6 million barrels (6,528,600,000 gallons) of beer were sold in 2008 in the United States alone.
Beer and beer steins often are associated with the German culture. The country is famous for its brewing law “Reinheitsgebot,” which was meant to preserve the purity of beer. Ordered in 1516, the law says only barley, hops and water should be used in brewing beer. While brewers now recognize yeast as essential, the law remains in place and unchanged.
The United States leads the world in breweries with about 1,500, followed by Germany, with about 1,300. While a variety of beers are produced in the United States, the most prevalent is pale lager, which is bottled and packaged as Coors, Budweiser and Miller.
Beer and Culture
More than 1.72 million gallons of beer are consumed during the Munich Oktoberfest. Germans are the third-largest consumer of beer behind Czechs and the Irish. Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States, which ranks 13th in consumption. In the U.S., it often is associated with tailgate parties and other sporting events.
In Germany, popular brands include Lowenbrau, Bock, Hofbrau and Kolsch. Popular American brands include Coors, Coors Light, Budweiser, Bud Light and Miller and Miller Light.
Alcohol content for German beer can reach 16 percent but generally ranges between 4.7 percent and 5.4 percent. Pale lagers in the U.S. generally range from 3.6 percent to 3.8 percent.