Cooking with Beer
A Drink For The Centuries
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Beer has a long history in cuisine all around the world. Consumption of beer can be dated back to 1750 BCE. Germany and the US in particular have fascinating origins of beer.
Noted as the world’s oldest alcoholic drink, beer has a history in all countries around the world. Mentions of beer in early writings can be found in notable historical texts such as the Code of Hammurabi (Legal Code, Babylonia, 1750 BC). The production of beer starts with brewing cereal grains, commonly barley, to where the starch sugars ferment to create ethanol and carbonation.
The Famous Purity Law
While beer is a staple in almost every culture in the world, Germans have embraced beer as a major part of their culture. Its history in the country runs long and deep.
- Monasteries in Germany have been mass-producing beer since the year 1000 and some still exist and operate to this day.
- Germany grows more hops than anywhere else in the entire world.
- The German Beer Purity Law, Reinheitsgebot, is the oldest regulation for food or drink in the world.
To assure quality in brewing, the law states that ingredients for beer must be water, barley malt, and hops.
Oktoberfest in Munich
An Annual Wedding Celebration
With this much focus on beer in Germany, it is no wonder why they hold the largest beer festival in the world, Oktoberfest. This festival attracts around 6 million visitors from around the globe to Munich, Germany, and lasts for around 16 days in mid-September.
Oktoberfest started to celebrate the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Bavaria and was originally a horse race. Andres Michael Dall’Armi, inventor of Oktoberfest, arranged the horse race celebration in 1810 and it was such a success, they continued the festival annually for the years coming.
Today, Oktoberfest is held in the same fields as the first festival. Visitors can enjoy beer tents, concerts, roller coaster rides, dressing in traditional German outfits, and more.
Bavarian brewery owner created Obatzda to make use of overripe Camembert with the addition of beer, of course. Today, it is a popular Bavarian beer garden dish.
Brewing from the East to the West
In the USA, the history of beer has an interesting start. Native Americans brewed beer from corn and birch sap.
British-style ale was the main choice of American settlers before the middle of the 19th century until German immigrants brought their lager over. Lager was preferred for its longer shelf life and became the most popular style of beer.
Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, and Faust), founded by German immigrants, developed new ways to spreading beer across the country by making refrigerated rail carts and buying breweries on the west coast.
The prohibition era in the 1920s lead to the beer industry in the USA to take massive tolls and did not pick up again until the late 1970s. Only a few large brewing companies made it out of the prohibition era alive. Today, there are many craft beer breweries made locally. This has expanded to the beer industry in America immensely and it continues to grow across the world.
Cooking With Beer
With beer being such a staple beverage in almost all cultures in the world, there of course are excellent and famous recipes from around the world that include beer:
- Fried fish & chips, onion rings, or apples covered in a batter made with beer
- Beer-braised short ribs
- Beer can chicken
- Belgian carbonnade stew (recipe)
- Bavarian Obatzda (recipe)