Beer is perhaps the most famous beverage in the world. It is enjoyed all over the globe, and most people of legal drinking age are familiar with it.

However, as popular as beer is, there are many things most people don’t know about it.

5. Beer and Facial Hair

Facial hair can make drinking beer rather difficult. However, it can also produce drinkable beer. A brewmaster in Oregon has actually discovered a way to make beer from yeast collected from his own beard.

Although this may sound rather disgusting, it is actually a valid way to collect yeast. Most of the fermenting yeast in the world is harvested from rotten bits of nature, so snagging some from someone’s beard is just a logical (if slightly disturbing) extension of the normal process.

4.  The Foam

Many drinkers disapprove of the foam on top of a beer glass: It makes drinking difficult and looks unappetizing to some. However, the foam is a very important part of the beer. The foamy “head,” as it is called, is formed by a complex carbon-dioxide reaction and can say a lot about the quality of the beer. Many stout beers, Guinness in particular, are characterized by their gloriously foamy head. The lack of head, on the other hand, can mean that your beer is probably flat and bland-tasting.

The Holy Grail of foam enthusiasts is so-called Brussels Lace. It is the perfect foam that refuses to go away and forms a lace-like residue pattern once the glass is empty. This can only be achieved with a high-quality beer. Interestingly, Brussels Lace will never form on a dirty glass, so it also tells the drinker that their glass has been properly cleaned.

3. Marijuana and Beer

Not many people are aware that marijuana and beer are actually quite close relatives. The flavoring agent in beer, hops, is a member of the Cannabaceae family, which (as you might deduce from the name) also includes Cannabis sativa, the marijuana plant.

Although the plants are of the same family and share many genetic similarities, you can’t just replace one with the other. Still, they are similar enough that enterprising souls have attempted to graft hops into marijuana and brew marijuana beer. Details of these projects are hard to find—which presumably means the results have been less than pleasant.

2. Water and Beer

Although water is generally quite tasteless, it is actually a very important factor in the taste of a beer. The vast majority of beer is water, after all—no amount of skill or fine ingredients will save a beer if the water is low-quality.

Throughout history, many breweries chose their location exclusively because there was quality water nearby. Purity is obviously a factor: Many home brewers get unfortunate surprises because they have been using chlorinated tap water. Also, water reservoirs in different areas vary in taste and beer-making quality.

Many think that some of the best beer-making waters in the world come from Ireland’s mountains. This water is used to make Guinness. Take that as you will.

1.  The Best Beer in the World

Beers are extremely difficult to rank. One’s superiority to another is largely a matter of taste. However, when it comes to naming the absolute best beer in the whole world, beer lovers are in complete agreement. This honorable drink is called Westvleteren 12. It is a 10.2 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) Trappist beer that has been in production since 1940.

Westvleteren 12 is a dark beer with a refined, chocolate-like taste that is said to be unrivaled by any other beer. It is instantly recognizable by its distinct yellow cap and complete lack of any labels. Usually, it is only available by driving to the monastery that makes it (located deep in the countryside of Belgium) and buying it straight from the monks, which often involves waiting patiently in a line of cars that can extend for miles. However, the monks are fully aware of the superiority of their product and are willing to use its reputation to their benefit on occasion. When their monastery needed a new roof in 2012, they briefly exported Westvleteren 12 to various countries with prices ranging between $75 and $85 for a six-pack and two tasting glasses.

It sold out in minutes.


Photo Credit: Fun Facts About Beer