Beer is the world's most widely consumed and probably the oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea.
An alcoholic drink, or alcoholic beverage, is a drink that contains a substantial amount of ethanol, a depressant which in low doses causes euphoria, reduced anxiety, and sociability and in higher doses causes intoxication, stupor and unconsciousness.
Ethanol, also commonly called alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and drinking alcohol, is the principal type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts.
Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia.
The production of beer is called brewing, which involves the fermentation of starches, mainly derived from cereal grains—most commonly malted barley, although wheat, maize, and rice are widely used.
Brewing is the production of beer by steeping a starch source in water and fermenting the resulting sweet liquid with yeast.
Starch or amylum is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds.
A cereal is any grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain, composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran.
Most beer is flavoured with hops, which add bitterness and act as a natural preservative, though other flavourings such as herbs or fruit may occasionally be included.
A preservative is a substance or a chemical that is added to products such as food, beverages, pharmaceutical drugs, paints, biological samples, cosmetics, wood, and many other products to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes.
Flavor, or flavour, is the sensory impression of food or other substance, and is determined primarily by the chemical senses of taste and smell.
Taste, gustatory perception, or gustation is one of the five traditional senses that belongs to the gustatory system.
The fermentation process causes a natural carbonation effect, although this is often removed during processing, and replaced with forced carbonation.
Carbonation can refer to two chemical processes involving carbon dioxide:
Some of humanity's earliest known writings refer to the production and distribution of beer: the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours, and "The Hymn to Ninkasi", a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, served as both a prayer and as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code of ancient Mesopotamia, dating back to about 1754 BC.
Beer is sold in bottles and cans; it may also be available on draught, particularly in pubs and bars.
Draught beer, also spelt draft, is beer served from a cask or keg rather than from a bottle or can.
A pub, or public house, is a house licensed to sell alcoholic beverages to the general public.
The brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries.
A multinational corporation or worldwide enterprise is an organization that owns or controls production of goods or services in one or more countries other than their home country.
A microbrewery or craft brewery is a brewery that produces small amounts of beer, typically much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries, and is independently owned.
A brewery or brewing company is a business that makes and sells beer.
The strength of beer is usually around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume, although it may vary between 0.5% and 20%, with some breweries creating examples of 40% abv and above.
Alcohol by volume is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage.
Beer forms part of the culture of beer-drinking nations and is associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling, and pub games such as bar billiards.
A pub crawl is the act of one or more people drinking in multiple pubs or bars in a single night, normally travelling by foot or public transport to each destination and occasionally by cycle.
Pub games are games played in or outside pubs and bars, particularly traditional games that are or were played in English pubs.
Bar billiards is a form of billiards which developed from the French/Belgian game billiard russe, of Russian origin.