The Bottom Line: Fun facts about homebrewing.
The Full Story:
- Homebrewing was illegal from Prohibition until Feb. 1, 1979, when it was legalized under President Jimmy Carter. However, it remained illegal in many states until 2013, when Mississippi and Alabama became the last states to officially legalize homebrewing.
- There are 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States. And these homebrewers collectively brew some 62 million gallons of beer a year! That’s almost half a billion pints!
- Beer is made with fungus and flowers! Yeast is added to sweet wort to start the fermentation process. Billions of yeast cells absorb sugar molecules and convert them into CO2 and alcohol. Yeast also produces a variety of flavor compounds, which have a significant impact on the flavor profile of a beer. As for ‘flowers,’ Hhops, the chief ingredient that makes beer bitter, is in fact the female flower of the humulus lupulus plant.
- Hops are closely related to marijuana. Both plants a members of the Cannabaceae
- Nearly all of your favorite craft brewers got started with homebrewing. Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada, Jim Koch of Sam Adams, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head – each of these craft brewing pioneers got started with humble roots.
- Beer likely inspired civilization – and the pyramids. I don’t know about you, but I find the promise of a cold pint at the end of the workday extremely motivating. Apparently, so did the thousands of workers who built the pyramids of Egypt. According to ancient fermented beverage expert Patrick McGovern, “The pyramids might not have been built if there hadn’t been enough beer.” Beer has also been presented as a key reason behind ancient cultures settling down and transitioning from a nomadic lifestyle to one based on agriculture.