Samui Wining & Dining
The Fact Is
Here’s a barrel-load of information about beer
and the people who’ve made it for thousands of years.


The Fact IsBeer in all of its forms is enjoyed by millions of people. Probably by billions in actual fact and certainly by most who come to Samui. And whilst you might not give it too much conscious thought, there’s more to beer than meets the eye – or more appropriately, than meets the back of the throat. Here are our top 50 factoids about beer.


1) And we’ll start with a wonderful quote from Dave Barry, the American Pulitzer Prize winning author, “The fact is, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.

2) Worldwide, more than 20,000 brands of beer are brewed in 180 styles, including ales, lagers, pilsners and stouts to bitters, cream ales and iced beers.


3) Babylonian clay tablets show detailed recipes of beer making from around 4300 BC. Beer was also brewed by the ancient Chinese, Assyrians and Incas.

4) An Egyptian text of 1600 BC gives 100 medical prescriptions using beer.

5) In 1996, the Scottish and Newcastle Brewery in the UK brewed 1,000 bottles of Tutankhamen Ale from a 3,200-year old recipe found in the sun temple of Queen Nefertiti.

6) Harrods in London sold the Tutankhamen Ale for £50 a bottle.

7) Commercial beer making was established in 1200 AD in present-day Germany.

8) In 1506, the German Purity Law was issued, specifying that beer ingredients must only be water, barley, wheat and hops.

9) Bottling of beer began in 1605.

10) Getting dry grain ready for fermentation is called malting.

11) Barley has been the grain of choice for thousands of years. The longer the malted barley is roasted, the darker the beer.

12) Hops are herbaceous climbing vines and look like a cross between pine cones and artichokes. The bitter, dry flavour of hops counterbalances the sweetness of malt.

13) Sugars in malted grains are converted into alcohol by yeast. For ales, top fermentation yeast is used, whilst bottom fermentation yeast is used for lagers.

14) The word ‘lager’ is German and means ‘storage’ and refers to the fermentation process.

15) At 270 days, the longest lager fermentation is for Budejovicky Budvar brewery’s Bud Strong.

16) The best taste is usually acquired at an alcohol content of 4.7% ethanol per volume.

17) The oldest brewery in Munich, the Augustiner Brewery, was founded in 1294, when, on the order of the bishop of Freising, an Augustinian monastery was established at the Haberfeld, just outside the city gates.

18) The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in Munich, Germany. It started as a wedding celebration.

19) A true pilsner comes from the Czech Republic and the original pilsner was Pilsner Urquell.

20) The Czech Republic has the highest per capita beer consumption in the world, at 155 litres (40 gallons).

21) The English word ‘brewer’ refers to a male beer-maker; ‘brewster’ refers to a female beer-maker.

22) Unlike wines, most beers should be stored upright to minimize oxidation and metal or plastic contamination from the cap.

23) High-alcohol ales, however, which continue to ferment in their corked bottles, should be stored on their sides.

24) Studying the experimentally induced intoxicated behaviour of ants in 1888, naturalist John Lubbock noticed that the insects that had too much to drink were picked up by nest mates and carried home.

25) The familiar Bass symbol, a red triangle, was registered in 1876 and was the first trademark registered in the UK.

26) According to a diary entry from a passenger on the Mayflower, the pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth Rock rather than continue to their destination in Virginia due to a lack of beer.

27) The first beer cans were produced in 1935.

28) The Budweiser Clydesdale horses weigh up to 2,300 pounds and stand nearly six feet high at the shoulder.

29) A tegestologist collects beer mats.

30) Beer is the second most popular beverage in the world, after tea.

31) Pabst Beer is now called Pabst Blue Ribbon beer because it was the first beer to win a blue ribbon at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

32) To get rid of the foam at the top of beer (the head) stick your fingers in it.

33) A pint of beer is lifted about ten times, and each time about 0.56 ml is lost in a beer drinker’s facial hair.

34) Molson, Inc. is the oldest brewery in North America.

35) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was elected President in 1932 partly because of his promise to end Prohibition.

36) During Prohibition in America, people took to drinking hair tonic and posing as members of the clergy to get alcohol.

37) The first United States Marine Recruiting Station was in a bar.

38) Tossing salted peanuts in a glass of beer makes the peanuts dance.

39) Samuel Adams Triple Bock is reportedly the strongest beer in the world with 17% alcohol by volume. The strength is achieved by using champagne yeast.

40) In Japan, beer is sold in vending machines, by street vendors and in train stations.

41) Many actors started out serving beer, and they include Sandra Bullock, Bruce Willis, Tom Arnold, Chevy Chase, Kris Kristofferson and Bill Cosby.

42) Beer is a source of vitamin B complex.

43) If you collect beer bottles you’re a labeorphilist.

44) The portable beer cooler was invented in Australia in the 1950s.

45) The ‘33’ on a bottle of Rolling Rock was originally a printer’s error. It refers to the 33 words in the original slogan. It has generated enough mystery over the years that the company decided to leave it on the label.

46) At a London brewery in 1814, a vat containing more than 100,000 gallons of ale exploded sending the beer rushing down the streets. It destroyed two houses and one pub, killing nine people in the process.

47) In Australia, on Easter weekend in 2001, a beer truck blew a tire and overturned into a river. Hearing about the accident, people gathered at the scene, some in full scuba gear, and spent the entire weekend recovering the beer. One man managed to collect 400 bottles.

48) In Medieval Europe, brewing was one of a housewife’s regular tasks, just like cooking, cleaning and baby making.

49) Virtually every polytheistic religion has a god or goddess of beer. The epic Finnish (religious) poem ‘Kalevala’ spends more time talking about beer than on the creation of man.

50) And, finally, how many pints of beer can you fit into a brewer’s butt? Well, there’re eight pints in a gallon, nine gallons in a firkin, two firkins in a kilderkin, three kilderkins in a hogshead and two hogsheads in – a butt! I’ll let you work out the number of pints for yourself.


Johnny Paterson


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