Previous: 30 Game Changing Video Games - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep. 37)
Next: 27 Winter Holiday Tradition Origins - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep. 39)



View count:1,208,809
Last sync:2023-02-26 02:00
Beer (in Homer Simpsons' immortal words) is the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. That may be overstating it, but the 26 Interesting Facts About Beer in this episode of the List Show will solve the problem of having fun facts to share over a beer...or your non-alcoholic drink of choice.

The List Show is a weekly show hosted by John Green, where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John is on location at Sunking Brewery in Indianapolis, IN learning some interesting facts about beer, brewing, and breweries.

Sunking Brewery:

Mental Floss Video on Twitter:

Images and Footage provided by Shutterstock:
Store: (enter promo code: "YoutubeFlossers" for 15% off!)
Hi, I'm John Green, welcome to Mental Floss video, this is my salo-  Wait a second, this isn't my salon!  This is Sun King Brewery in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana!  And this is Sun King employee Joe, who's also a fan of Mental Floss video!  Joe, I just wanted to ask you a question - did Sun King pay us to be here today?

Joe: [shakes head]

Awesome!  Thank you.
[high five]

Joe's wife would also like us to point out that while you are watching this in the future, it was filmed during Movember.

Today I'm going to tell you some fun facts and tips about beer so that you can sound like a genius the next time you go on a brewery tour with your friends, or at least to ensure that you no longer order Keystone Light at the bar.


Beer dates all the way back to at least 3000 BCE, but it's probably even earlier than that.  In fact, some people even cite 10000 BCE - oh my God, that's a lot of beer!
The ancient Sumerians, for instance, used to make beer, which they would call kas, meaning what the mouth desires.  We know this, by the way, because there are literally ancient tablets detailing beer recipes.  You know, it was the pre-Twitter era.
By the way, I'm sorry about all the noise, it's almost like we're in an actual, working brewery.

The first professional beer brewers were women.  In fact, in ancient Peru, the only people who were allowed to brew beer were women of nobility.

And in ancient Egypt, there was a law against men brewing and selling beer.

To jump ahead in history, the Pilgrims stopped at Plymouth Rock for a very specific reason, as described by one passenger in his diary, "We could not now take time for further search or consideration; our victuals being much spent, especially our beer."
There were playing that classic drinking game too much, you know, the one where you drink every time you see the ocean.

So there are four main ingredients in beer: water, barley, or some kind of starch source, hops, and yeast.  Water is over ninety percent of beer, so the water source is a huge determinant of how a beer tastes.  But of course, so are the other ingredients.

Alright, have you ever heard of the Cannabaceae family?  It's the family of plants containing both hops and cannabis.  Yes, THAT cannabis!  Beer and marijuana are basically plant cousins!

There are two types of beers, ales and lagers.  Wait a second, Meredith, is that really true, there's only two types of beers?  She says that's true!  
Ale means that the yeast is fermented at the top; lager uses yeast that is fermented at the bottom, and it also uses much lower temperatures in the beer making and aging process.
Now of course, there are endless beers within those two categories, and I could just list them, but that's probably not going to be as interesting as that beer and marijuana fact, so instead I'm gonna focus on a few.

Pale lager, or, as Europeans call it, sparkling water, is the most popular beer style in the world, and you're probably familiar with pale lagers, like Budweiser, and Coors, but you may never even have heard of the most popular beer in the world, which is also a lager, Snow Beer, from China.
By the way, I'd like to greet all of the Mental Floss video Chinese facts drinking Snow Beer in China; just kidding!  The great firewall makes it impossible for you to see this video.

Pilsners also fit into the pale lager category; you probably know pilsners, Amstel or Heineken.  This style is named after the city where it was invented, Plzeň, in the Czech Republic.
Plzeň started its own brewery in the 1840's and hired a Bavarian brewer named Josef Groll, who created the first batch of pilsner beer.

Then there's IPA, or India Pale Ale, which you'll be surprised to learn is an ale.  This one is most famous for its bitter taste, which comes from the prominent hops.  
Now, despite the name, this beer wasn't actually invented in India; it was created in Europe during the 1700's so that the East India Company could bring along beer that would survive the trip to India.
Sun King Osiris Pale Ale is what I like to call an Indiana pale ale.  Anyone?  No?  Alright, moving on.

Then we have cream ale, like my favorite beer in the world, Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale.  Cream ales are confusing because they live in the ale family, but they are stored at cold temperatures just like lagers are.  They're basically the best of both worlds.
Oh, and for the record, I'm not being paid to say that.  Although they are giving us all of these beers.  Wait, they're not?  Dang it!

Other popular ales include stouts and brown ale, like Sun King has an English brown ale called Wee Mac Scottish Ale, and sto- Oh!  There it is!  Wee Mac!
Stouts are typically dark and strong, and despite people usually describing them as rich or heavy, they've often fairly low in calories and alcohol content.  In fact, twelve ounces of Guinness is just 176 calories.  That's less than a Hershey's bar, although I guess you don't drink thirteen Hershey's bars in a day.  I'm just kidding, no one can drink thirteen Guinness's in a day, and please don't take that as a challenge.

Another example of ale comes straight from the White House.  That's right, the White House brews its own beer.  In fact, there's a recipe for their beer on their website, so you can drink what the president drinks!

And all of this is legal!  Now you probably know that it was FDR who ended prohibition, but it was president Jimmy Carter who legalized home-brewing in 1978, arguably the greatest achievement of his presidency.

Speaking of which, famous beer brewers who were also presidents include Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Madison.

Okay, one last founding father fact.  A quote, often attributed to Benjamin Franklin goes, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."  But of course, that is a misquote, like all quotations on the Internet.
Here's what he actually wrote, "Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters into the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."
That's much more poetic, but it is less about beer.

Speaking of Internet lies, there's a persistent rumor online that it is illegal in the United States to have a beer commercial featuring someone actually drinking beer.  Alcohol advertising is actually a self-regulating industry in the United States, although they do generally adhere to that guideline.

So what makes your beer go skunky?  Well, people usually believe that it's time or temperature change; but it's actually light.

Okay, let's have a list of things that were partially written in pubs or bars, which includes: Harry Potter, the Declaration of Independence, the play A Few Good Men.

So the most important and famous beer expert and popularizer is Michael Jackson, who worked as a beer journalist and connoisseur for almost 30 years until he died in 2007.  
But it was much more fun than the pretentious beer drinker and/or king of pop that you're probably picturing.  Like, Jackson had a show on the Discovery Channel called "The Beer Hunter", which if you ask me, is the best kind of hunter.  
And he would also frequently do lectures on beer, and he liked to tell European audiences that the US was the best place to find and drink good beer, which infuriated them.  And I will now infuriate Europeans by stating that as you can see from the warehouse behind me, he was correct!

And our last fact today: In 2010, the small local Michigan brewery Dark Horse Brewery turned down a huge endorsement deal from Nickelback because the staff didn't like the band.  Nickelback approached the company because they wanted to put Dark Horse beer in a music video set at a fraternity party, but the company declined.  Head brewer Aaron Morse later told a local newspaper, "I absolutely hate that band."  Dark Horse Brewery, truly the Reddit of breweries.

Thanks for watching Mental Floss here on YouTube, which is made with the help of all of these nice people.
Every week we endeavor to answer one of your mind-blowing questions.  This week's question comes from Mark Weathersby, who asks, "Who invented what was formerly known as the sidebar being called the doobly-doo on YouTube?"
The answer, Mark, is WheezyWaiter.  You can see his episode of Mental Floss about coffee, if you click right here.  Thanks again for watching; thanks to Sun King for sharing their brewery with us, and also for making wonderful beer.
As we say in my hometown, don't forget to beer awesome!