Brewing is a magical process that turns the principle ingredient - barley (fit only for feeding to animals in normal circumstances!) - into a wonderful beverage called BEER. Strictly speaking, 'ale' has no added flavor hops, unlike 'lager' that does. Flavor and bittering components are included to make the final product more stable, interesting and enjoyable to drink. 
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Since beer is so high on the Dreamcatcher list of man space requirements, I thought I would take a minute to inform everyone why beer is such an essential element. Hint: It's not because it gets you drunk when you drink too much of it. In fact, here at Dreamcatcher we frown upon over consumption of alcohol. Not to sound like a Public Service Announcement but drinking too much in one sitting shows lack of discipline and could lead a guy into making some poor decisions (seen Charlie Sheen lately?). Rather, beer is a complex beverage that, when drank in moderation provides one with much to contemplate. Let's look at some often overlooked attributes to this, our favorite beverage.


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1.) Beer is like an entire meal packed into 12fl. oz.
Now, I'm not saying beer is a food substitute nor am I advocating anyone take a "liquid lunch" but what I will say is that the ingredients in beer are remarkably similar to the ingredients in bread. Without getting too technical - as there are a myriad of beer recipes - most beer is made from fermenting a mixture of water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. But other ingredients may be added or substituted such as rice, millet, wheat, corn, citrus, pumpkin, berry fruit, and spices just to name a few. As you deviate further from the standard Americanized lager, you will find that there is a plethora of beers and certainly one to fulfill any appetite.

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2.) Beer is a communion beverage.
While beer may not be proper for a Holy Communion ceremony as prescribed by the catholic church, it is certainly the best beverage to consume while communing with the fellas. In fact, beer is so communal that our architecture has made a specific space just to encourage it. Call it a bar, pub, tavern, inn, speakeasy, beer hall, or saloon but they are all built for the same purpose - to allow men to commune while drinking beer. 
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3.) Beer is scientifical.
Beer doesn't just "happen", it is an alchemical tango which involves mixing the right amount of ingredients at the right times and heating to just the right temperature while always staying extremely sanitary and antibacterial. It starts with malting the barley - that is wetting the grain in order to coax it to sprout. This creates enzymes, which will later convert the starches already present in barley into sugars during the mashing process. Next, the grain is added to water and heated to a precise temperature of 157 degrees for one hour. This begins the fermentation process of converting starch to simple sugar. After a 2 hour rest, the mixture is brought to a full boil and the hops are added. Hops are a resinous plant and they give beer its aroma, thanks to something called lupulin, which resides in pollen-like glands inside the base of the hop flowers. Then the beer is cooled, and yeast is added. The yeast is a living fungus that feast on the sugar for 10 days to create the byproducts of alcohol, CO2, and heat. Next the temperature is dropped to 32 degrees for up to two months. After which the beer may be pumped through a filter made of diatomaceous earth, a highly porous, silica-rich powder made from millions of fossilized diatoms, a sort of ancient algae. The filter removes spent yeast cells, grain matter, and other impurities. Finally the beer rests for one day before being barreled and is later force-carbonated with C02 at 15 PSI before it can flow into a frosty mug below your favorite tap.

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4.) Beer is an ancient art.
Beer is one of the world's oldest prepared beverages, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9500 BC, when grain was first farmed. It is likely that beer-like beverages were independently invented among various cultures throughout the world and today many archaeologists speculate that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations. 

The earliest Sumerian writings contain references to beer and the traditional brewing process is recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Some types of beers were used especially in religious ceremonies. Even a prayer to the goddess Ninkasi known as "The Hymn to Ninkasi" serves as both a prayer as well as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people. The Ebla tablets, which date to 2500 BC, reveal that the city produced a range of beers, including one that appears to be named "Ebla" after the city. Early traces of beer and the brewing process have been found in ancient Babylonia as well. In 2100 BC, the Babylonian king Hammurabi included regulations governing tavern keepers in his law code for the kingdom. Even more historical documentation shows that around 5,000 years ago, ancient Chinese civilizations were brewing a beer-like substance known as kui.

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While this blog post only provides  a quick glimpse into why beer is so important to manliness and the man spaces we create, I encourage you to continue beer research on your own. Of course the best place to start is your local pub or party store. Maybe try something new - somthing extra hoppy or something extra stout. Which ever beer you may choose to drink, take a just moment to contemplate all the history, science, and precision that went into crafting that brew. Imagine all the hard working men through the ages - men who built pyramids and skyscrapers and longed for their day to be done so that they might sit to rest before a frosty pint. Above all, thank god for inventing such a unique and tasty beverage! In the immortal words of  Benjamin Franklin, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." As a red blooded American patriot,  I tend to think Ol' Ben was on to something.  Cheers!

 





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