Beer trivia is fun!
You probably know which beer you like best. Perhaps you know how much it costs. You may know where to buy it. But how much do you really know about beer?
I. Beer Trivia
II. Wacky Beer Laws
III. Strange Beer Customs
IV. More Beer Trivia
Find out here. Then you can amaze your friends with beer trivia that you’ve discovered.
I. Beer Trivia
- All vitamins and minerals necessary for good health are in beer and other alcoholic beverages.1
- The Puritans brought more beer than water onboard the Mayflower.2
- Abstaining from beer or other alcoholic beverages is a health risk factor. It increases the chances of poor health and shorter life.3
Enjoy these too!
- Root beer was once a temperance beverage. Promoters hoped it would replace beer in popularity.4
- Many of the health benefits of drinking beer in moderation decline if people don’t drink it often enough.5
- Early recipes for beer sometimes included mushrooms, poppy seeds, butter, bay leaves, sugar, aromatics, honey, and bread crumbs.6
- One of Harvard College’s first buildings was a brewery. The college built it so that students would have a good supply of beer to drink in the dining hall.7
- Beer was first available in bottles in 1850. It was first available in cans in 1935.8
- A barrel of beer in the U.S. holds 31 gallons. This is enough to fill about 330 twelve-ounce bottles or cans.9
- Beer probably became a staple before bread.10
- The more educated people are, the more likely they are to drink.11
- The oldest known recipe in the world is for beer.12
- A survey of British men reported an important finding. They were twice as likely to know the price of their beer as the size of their partner’s bra.13
- In the 1830’s the average American age 15 or older drank about 27 gallons of beer every year.14
- One brand of beer in China reportedly contains “ground-up dog parts.”15
Will It be Pancakes or Beer this Morning?
- In Medieval England, beer often came with breakfast or was breakfast.16
- A labeorphilist is a collector of beer bottles.17
- In ancient Egypt, “bread and beer” was a common greeting.18
- Also in ancient Egypt. Mothers sent their children to school with a good supply of bread and beer for their lunch.19
- “There’s no free lunch.” Giving free lunches is illegal in Pennsylvania since 1917. This was to prevent taverns from giving free sandwiches to patrons, who then bought beer to drink with them. This led some taverns to sell sandwiches and give the beer free.20
- “Mind your P’s and Q’s.” In English pubs drinks come in pints and quarts. In early times, bartenders would warn rowdy drinkers to mind their own pints and quarts.21 But there are also other theories.
- To pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons, heaven was a place to drink endless supplies of beer with others.22
- The Pilgrims landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, because they were running low on beer.23
II. Wacky Beer Laws
- It’s against the law to sit on the curb of any street in the city of St. Louis while drinking beer from a bucket.24 There go the plans for this weekend!
- State law in Texas state prohibits taking more than three sips of beer while standing.25
- Nebraska state law requires bars to be cooking a kettle of soup at the time any beer is available.26
No Beer & Pretzels?
- It’s illegal to serve beer and pretzels at the same time in any bar or restaurant in North Dakota.27
- A person who simply sends a gift of beer to anyone in Kentucky can face imprisonment for five years.28
- It’s illegal in Michigan for anyone under the age of 21, even if adult, to give beer as a gift.29
- The Encyclopedia Britannica was once banned in Texas. That’s because it gave a recipe for beer that people could make at home.30
III. Strange Beer Customs
For Beer Trivia Fans
- When a young Tiriki man wants to marry a woman, he offers beer to her. If she then spits some of it into his mouth, she has accepted his proposal.31 Hmmmmm…..What do you say we just live together?
- When a king among the Bagonda people of Uganda dies, he leaves several widows. They have the great honor of drinking the beer used to clean his entrails.32
- When two Chagga men want to become blood brothers, they share a drink of beer mixed with blood and saliva.34
- The Abipone people of Paraguay consider non-drinkers to be “cowardly, degenerate and stupid.”35
- The Uape Indians, in the upper Amazon region of Brazil, cremate their dead. Then they add their own unique twist to the practice. They mix the ashes of the deceased with beer. Then members of the family drink it in honor of the dead.36 Cheers!
IV. More Beer Trivia
- Beer costs less than Coke in the Czech Republic.
- The word beer comes from ‘bibere,’ which means ‘to drink’ in Latin.
- Beer is available in vending machines and by street vendors in Japan.
- During the Middle Ages beer-brewing monks drank up to five quarts of it each day.
- There are conflicting theories for the origin of the word ‘bridal.’ (1) In England during the 11th century, brides would give their wedding guests ale in exchange for gifts. This bride-ale became ‘bridal.’ (2) In 19th century England, grooms-to-be would take their friends out for bride-ale the night before the wedding.
- Saint Arnold, a bishop born in 580, is the patron saint of brewing. King Gambrinus is the patron saint of beer.
- Noah loaded his ark with beer according to Assyrian tablets dated to about 2000 BC.
- In 1962, tab opening beer cans came on the marketed. Eight years later over 90% of all beer cans sold had tab openings.
- President George Washington built his own brewery at Mount Vernon.
- President Theodore Roosevelt brought over 500 gallons of beer on an African safari.
- A Chinese imperial edict in 1116 BC asserted that heaven required everyone to drink beer.
- The first brewery in North America began in 1642 in Hoboken, NJ. But the first beer brewed on the continent was in Sir Walter Raleigh’s colony in Virginia in 1587.
- The oldest brewery in North America is Molson.
- Salted peanuts dropped into in a glass of beer will ‘dance.’
- In the 1200s it was the custom to baptize children with beer.
- It was 1940 before beer in cans and bottles outsold draught beer.
- In 1969, beer in cans outsold beer in bottles for the first time.
- Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV decreed in 1516 the only legal ingredients for brewing beer. They were barley malt, hops and water.
- Munich declared Oktoberfest an official celebration in 1810.
- Ancient Egyptians were brewing at least six different kinds of beer by around 3000 BC.
- Beer is the second most popular beverage in the world. Tea is the most popular. But beer is the most popular beverage in England and Ireland.
- Sprinkling salt on a bar napkin before setting the glass on it keeps it from sticking.
- Sticking fingers into the foam on top of beer (the head) will get rid of it. The natural oil on the fingers breaks the surface tension of the bubbles. This collapses them.
- The first beer six-packs came on the market in the 1940s. It was light enough for most people to carry easily.
- The oldest brewery in the United States is Yuengling. It began in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
- Belgium has over 400 brands of beer.
- Around 1750 B.C., the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi called for the death penalty for retailers guilty of watering down beer.
Trivial note on Beer Trivia
Trivia is the plural of the Latin word trivium. More than one beer trivium are beer trivia. Therefore, “The oldest known recipe in the world is for beer” is a beer trivium. But this collection is beer trivia. So, should it be “Beer trivia is fun!”? Or should it be “Beer trivia are fun!”?
V. Resources for Beer Trivia Fans
International Beer Day is the first Friday in August.
Anon. Beer-Topia. NY: Portable, 2015.
Bickerdyke, J. The Curiosities of Ale and Beer. An Entertaining History. London: Hardpress, 2013.
Bull, D. Beer Trivia. 500 Questions and Answers about the World’s most Popular Drink. NY: Beaufort,1985.
Carey, Drew. Dirty Jokes and Beer. NY: Hyperion, 2000.
Eames, A. Secret Life of Beer. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2013.
______. Beer Legends, Lore and Little-known Facts. Pownal, VT: Storey, 1995.
LeBow, J. The Beer Devotional. A Daily Celebration of the World’s Most Inspiring Beers. Adams, 2010.
Palmer, L. How To Win Your Pub Quiz. Your Only Guide to Ultimate Victory. NY: Pavilion, 2013.
Peyton, J. Beer O’Clock: Craft, Cask and Culture. Chichester, Eng: Summersdale, 2013.
Robbins, T. B is for Beer. NY: Ecco, 2009.
1 Ford, G. Wine, Beer and Spirits, in press, ch 14.
2 Royce, J. Alcohol Problems. NY: Free Press, 1981, 38.
3 Ellison, C. Does Moderate Alcohol Consumption Prolong Life? NY: ACSH, 1993.
4 Goshen, C. Drinks, Drugs, and Do-Gooders. NY: Free Press, 1973, p. 14.
5 Barr, A. Drink. NY: Carroll & Graf, 1999, p. 233.
6 Braudel, F. Capitalism and Material Life. NY: Harper, 1974, p. 167.
7 Furnas, J. Life and Times of the Late Demon Rum. NY: Putnam’s, 1965, p. 20.
8 www.absolutetrivia.com; www.dipsomania.com
10 Katz, S., and Voigt, M. Bread and beer. Exped, 1987, 28, pp. 23-34.
11 Wright, J. (Ed.) The New York Times 2000 Almanac. NY: Penguin, 1999, p. 398.
12 Katz and Voigt, pp. 23-34.
13 Let’s Get Sensible about Suds. Daily News, Jan 11, 2002.
14 Clark, N. Deliver Us From Evil. NY: Norton, 1976, p. 20.
15 Espinoza, G. Drinking it in. USAirways Attache, 2002 (March), 22.
16 Rovin, J. In Search of Trivia. NY: Penguin, 1984, pp. 371-372.
18 Ghaliounqui, P. Fermented Beverages in Antiquity. In: Gastineau, C., et al. (Eds.) Fermented Food Beverages in Nutrition NY: Acad, 1979, pp. 3-19.
19 Heath, D. Drinking Occasions. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel, 2000, p. 78.
20 Elliott, P. 100 Proof. NY: Penguin, 2000, p. 115.
22 Watney, J. Beer is Best. London: Owen, 1974, p. 15.
23 Eames, A. Secret Life of Beer. Pownal, VT: Storey, 1995, p. 17.
25 Texas Laws
28 Mead, J. The Wine Curmudgeon, Wine Trader. Q(6).
29 Michigan Liq Control Code (436.1207-c).
30 Texas Laws
31 Sangree, W. The Social Functions of Beer Drinking in Bantu Tiriki. In: Pittman, D., and Snyder, C. (Eds.). Society, Culture, and Drinking Patterns. NY: Wiley, 1962.
32 Robbins, M., and Pollnac, R. Drinking patterns and acculturation in rural Buganda. Am Anthrop., 1969, 71, 276-284.
33 Washburne, C. Primitive Drinking. NY: Coll U Press, 1961.
34 Downes, R. The Tiv Tribe. Kaduna, Nigeria: Govt Print, 1933.
35 Washburne, p. 86.
36 Felton, B., and Fowler, M. The Best, the Worst and Most Unusual. NY: Galahad, 1994, p. 219. (Good for beer trivia.)
Most of the beer trivia on this page comes from original sources. But don’t rely on any trivium.