The content below is from Episode 101 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This week I recommend you check out the HBO Max series Peacemaker.
    • From creator James Gunn, Peacemaker is weird, fun, and explicit… just like all of James Gunn’s work.
      • It follows the story of a comic book character known as Peacemaker
      • Peacemaker is the name of a series of fictional characters originally owned by Charlton Comics and later acquired by DC Comics. The original Peacemaker first appeared in Fightin’ 5 #40 and was created by writer Joe Gill and artist Pat Boyette back in 1966.
    • Is Peacemaker a hero or villain? Hard to say what the world would call him, but he calls himself a hero.
    • James Gunn’s version of Peacemaker is played by John Cena.
      • Cena does a wonderful job portraying this damaged psychopath as he tries to safe the world from the alien race known as Butterflies.
      • He likes 1980s rock ballads, his best friend Eagley (who is an intelligent bald eagle), and creating peace at any cost.
    • Also, this show has one of the best intro sequences I have ever seen.
      • At first I thought it was weird and corny (and it is), but then it grew on me. Watch the intro for yourself:


  • I love beer. Probably too much.
    • But I ain’t the only one: Around the world, humans consume over 50 billion gallons of beer every year and it is the most widley consumed alcoholic drink on the plant.
    • So for this episode I wanted to go in to the history of beer and how it shaped our world today.
    • There a few questions I have always had surrounding beer and I thought I would share the answers I found here!
Jacob Jordaens – The Feast of the Bean King
  • First let us start with the History of Beer
    • Beer is old, very old. People have been making and drinking beer for so long that dating the origin of beer is rounded to the nearest thousand-year mark.
      • The first beer in the world was thought to be brewed by the ancient Chinese around the year 7000 BCE (known as kui). In the west, however, the process now recognized as beer brewing began in Mesopotamia at the Godin Tepe settlement now in modern-day Iran between 3500 – 3100 BCE.
      • But sources differ on this. Martin Zarnkow, a brewing historian in the Center of Life and Food Sciences at the Munich Technical University said “(ancient) Sumerians didn’t discover beer, nor did the Egyptians, as some people believe. Theories point to beer being produced in the Neolithic Revolution more than 11,000 years ago.”
      • What I take away from all these different sources giving different dates is that beer has been around for so long that we aren’t exactly sure how old it is.
      • As almost any cereal containing certain sugars can undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air, it is possible that beer-like drinks were independently developed throughout the world soon after a tribe or culture had domesticated cereal. Chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced as far back as about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iran. This discovery reveals one of the earliest known uses of fermentation and is the earliest evidence of brewing to date.
    • What we know is what it would take to create beer, and that does give us some clues.
      • Beer is made with grain. So it stands to reason a civilization would need more grain than what was needed to feed their population.
        • Because if you are starving, you will probably eat the grain before brewing up a 6 pack.
      • In addition to grain you also need a water source and storage so the brew can sit. This storage space and time allows the brew to go through the fermentation process.
        • Fermentation being yeast eating sugars to create alcohol.
      • So for the first people to make beer they needed a lot of grain, probably in the form of a farmed feild.
      • The first beer makers were almost certainly not nomadic in nature because it isn’t easy to haul big jugs of water and beer around as you wait for it to ferment.
      • Some historians theorized that beer was a big part of why humans started to give up their nomadic ways and start to settle in specific places. But the same argument can be made that argriculture as a whole was the reason.
        • Still is a fun thought that beer was the thing that tamed humanity from roaming all over.
      • So even though historians can’t agree on when beer brewing started, it is a safe bet that it didn’t start before agricutlure.
  • Beer even infiltrated ancient mythologies
    • Back in 1800BC, a poem was written down on a clay tablet that gave instructions on how to brew beer. It is known as the Hymn to Ninkasi.
    • Ninkasi is the tutelary goddess of beer in ancient Sumerian religious mythology.
    • The Hymn to Ninkasi is at once a song of praise to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer, and an ancient recipe for brewing. Written down around 1800 BCE, the hymn is no doubt much older as evidenced by the techniques it details which scholars have determined were actually in use long before the hymn was written.
    • The Hymn to Ninkasi is the oldest record of a direct correlation between the importance of brewing, and the responsibility that women had with regard to supplying both bread and beer to the household. Ninkasi is female, and the fact that a female deity was invoked in prayer with regards to the production of brewed beverages illustrated the relationship between brewing and women as a domestic right and duty.
    • The repetitive nature of the poem suggests that it was used as a tool in order to pass down information from generation to generation as a way of learning.
  • In the Christian religion there is Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland
    • Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland ( 451 – 525) is the patroness saint (or ‘mother saint’) of Ireland, and one of its three national saints along with Patrick and Columba. According to medieval Irish hagiographies (which are biographies of saints), she was an abbess (or head nun) who founded several convents of nuns, most notably that of Kildare, which was one of the most important in Ireland.
    • There are few historical facts about her, and early hagiographies are mainly anecdotes and miracle tales, some of which are rooted in pagan folklore.
      • St. Brigid is one of the appropriated saints meaning the Christians made her a saint to appeal to the local’s religious beliefs in hope that they would convert to Christianity.
    •  Saint Brigid shares her name with a Celtic goddess. She is patroness of many things, including poetry, learning, healing, protection, blacksmithing, livestock and dairy production… and of course beer. 
      • Brigid pre-dates Christianity and is said to have created an entire lake of beer in order to help a leper colony.
  • Here is St. Brigid and/or Celtic Goddess Brigid’s prayer about beer in heaven:

I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.

I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.

I’d like to give a lake of beer to God.

I’d love the Heavenly Host to be tippling there For all eternity.

I’d love the men of Heaven to live with me, To dance and sing.

If they wanted, I’d put at their disposal Vats of suffering.

White cups of love I’d give them, With a heart and a half; Sweet pitchers of mercy I’d offer To every man.

I’d make Heaven a cheerful spot, Because the happy heart is true.

I’d make the men contented for their own sake I’d like Jesus to love me too.

I’d like the people of heaven to gather From all the parishes around, I’d give a special welcome to the women, The three Marys of great renown.

I’d sit with the men, the women of God There by the lake of beer We’d be drinking good health forever And every drop would be a prayer.

  • There is a theory that whenever the Bible is talking about wine, it was most likely beer.
    • The area in which the Bible takes place in an area of the world that wasn’t very condusive to growing red wine grapes. Instead, Jeruselem and other parts of the middle east would have had much more grain and honey at their disposal than grapes.
    • The reason why the modern version of the bible assumes it was wine is because the scholars that interpretted it were from Italy and France where the common alcoholic drink is wine.
    • But in reality, it is MUCH more likely the alcohol that the characters of the bible were drinking was Beer, Mead, or some combination of the two.
  • Speaking of Christianity and Beer, where did the association of monks and beer come from?
    • The short answer is charity. Before the industrial revolution, beer wasn’t just a party beverage, it was a food source.
    • Monastaries would brew beer as a liquid alternative to bread and provide it to the poor and starving.
    • Before the discovery of yeast and how it played a major role in the creation of alcohol, it was thought that alcohol only came to be due to a divine blessing.
  • America’s History of Beer
    • Prior to Prohibition, there were thousands of breweries in the United States, mostly brewing heavier beers than modern US beer drinkers are used to.
    • Beginning in 1920, most of these breweries went out of business from prohibition and the depression, although some converted to soft drinks and other businesses.
    • Bootlegged beer was often watered down to increase profits, beginning a trend, still on-going today, of the American markets heavily advertising the weaker beers and keeping them popular.
      • I find that fascinating. Because of the stock market crash and the outlawing of alcohol in America, beer started to be sold illegally and unregulated. Because it wasn’t regulated, distributors began watering down their brews to maximize profits. That is when the American public got a taste for really light beers and that is why we still love them today.
        • It is like connecting the dots and seeing the entire picture.
    • Consolidation of breweries and the application of industrial quality control standards have led to the mass-production and the mass-marketing of huge quantities of light lagers. Advertising became supreme, and bigger companies fared better in that market.
    • The decades after World War II saw a huge consolidation of the American brewing industry: brewing companies would buy their rivals solely for their customers and distribution systems, shutting down their brewing operations.
    • In the last 150 years there as been a trend in the American Brewery scene:
      • Despite the record increases in production between 1870 and 1895, the number of firms fell by 46%. Average brewery output rose significantly, driven partly by a rapid increase in output by the largest breweries.
      • As late as 1877, only four breweries topped 100,000 barrels annually. By 1895, the largest sixteen firms had greatly increased their productive capacity and were all brewing over 250,000 barrels annually; and imports have become more abundant since the mid-1980s. The number of breweries has been claimed as being either over 1,500 in 2007 or over 1,400 in 2010, depending on the source. As of June 2013, The Brewers Association reports the total number of currently operating US breweries to be 2,538, with only 55 of those being non-craft breweries.
  • I’ve always wondered about the different kinds of beers
  • Lager
    • Lagers are a typical entry point into beer for new drinkers. Made with bottom fermenting yeast that has a lower tolerance to alcohol, lagers can taste light and a little malty. Classic lagers in America include Miller High Life, Coors, Budweiser and Yuengling. Lagers are a great launching pad for newcomers to beer.
      • Yuengling is America’s oldest brewery. One of their sayings is “We aren’t the best because we are the oldest. We are the oldest because we are the best.” The Yuengling Company started in 1829 in Pottsville Pennsylvania. They are legendary here in my home state. We Pennsylvanians are mighty proud of Yuenglings.
  • IPA
    • India Pale Ales (IPAs), which encompass numerous styles of beer, get their characteristics largely from hops and herbal, citrus or fruity flavors. They can be bitter and contain high alcohol levels, though the final product depends on the variety of hops used. Some IPAs can taste like pure citrus, while others are strong and bitter. Prominent IPA styles include West Coast IPA, British IPA and New England Style IPA.
    • Fun little origin story behind the name of an Indian Pale Ale: The IPA was invented in Britain. Here’s the abridged version: British sailors, while sailing to India, loaded up barrels of beer with hops, because hops were a preservative. The hops hung around in the beer for so long that they lost their fruity flavor and left a bitter tasting beer. 
  • Pale Ale
    • Pale ales are usually hoppy but carry a lower alcohol content than IPAs. Most types of pale ale, which can include American amber ale, American pale ale, blonde ale and English pale ale, are malty, medium-bodied and easy to drink.
  • Pilsner
    • Pilsner is a type of pale lager. It takes its name from the Bohemian city of Plzeň, where it was first produced in 1842 by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll. The world’s first pale lager, the original Pilsner Urquell, is still produced there today
  • Stout
    • A dark beer, the flavor of stouts depend on where they come from. Sweet stouts largely originate from Ireland and England and are known for their low bitterness. In fact, Ireland’s Guinness brand produces some of the world’s most recognizable stout beer.
    • According to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), which ranks and evaluates all styles of beer, stouts are a “sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale that can suggest coffee-and-cream, or sweetened espresso.” While the darker color of the beer gives the impression it’s tough to drink, these stouts carry sweetness from unfermented sugars that offset any bitterness.
    • Stouts produced in the U.S. combine the typical dark body and creamy notes with the hoppy bitter flavors characterized by American beers. American stouts are strong, highly roasted, bitter and hoppy, with high malt flavors that give them the taste of coffee or dark chocolate, according to the BJCP.
  • Porters
    • Porter is a style of beer that was developed in London, England, in the early 18th century. It was well-hopped and dark in appearance owing to the use of brown malt. The name originated from its popularity with street and river porters.
    • Porter is actually the great-grandpa of today’s stout. It was, and still is, made with dark malted barley, a good amount of hops, and top-fermenting ale yeasts. The end result is usually a dark medium-bodied beer with a nice balance of malty sweetness and bitter hoppiness.
    • According to the Beer Judge Certification Program a Stout is defined as “a very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale,” while a Porter is described as “a substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavourful character.” … Basically a Stout has roasted malts and associated flavours, whereas a Porter does not.”
  • Belgian Beer
    • Belgium’s rich beer culture has poured into the U.S. over the years, giving enthusiasts on this side of the Atlantic a deep appreciation for the wide variety of Belgian-style flavors. Belgian beers span pale ales, dark ales, fruity beers and sour ales. WebstaruantStore, which provides equipment and information for restaurants, bars and other establishments, generally defines Belgian-style beers as carrying fruity, spicy and sweet flavors with a high alcohol content and low bitterness.
  • Wheat Beers
    • Then we have wheat beers which are typically disgusting and are the only type of beer I really don’t care for lol
    • Wheat beers rely on wheat for the malt ingredient, which gives the beverage a light color and alcohol level that makes it perfect for kicking back with during the summer and for combining it with fruit, like a slice of lemon or orange. Some wheat beers, with their funky and tangy flavors, fall under Belgian-style brews while the ones made in the U.S. have a light flavor that recalls bread.
  • Sour Beer
    • Sour beer has shot up in popularity in the U.S. over the last few years, becoming an enticing beverage to people looking to branch out their beer palates or to those wanting to try something new. Highly tart, sour beers can take on many forms, including Belgian-style Lambic beer, fruity Flanders ale and lemony Berliner Weisse beer. With the addition of fruits like cherry, raspberry or peach, sour beers marry sweet and sour to make beer flavors completely unlike the lagers and IPAs of yore.


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