Alcohol: it is such a controversial subject among many. Anathema to strict religious people, and abused by some, it can seem like the entire world is wagging a giant finger in the faces of those who enjoy drinking. And to be fair, it is true that some people have a problem regulating their alcohol intake, and end up abusing it, often with terrible consequences. Moreover, religious people’s beliefs are their own personal standards, and if they believe that drinking is wrong, then fair enough. But for those of us who feel that responsible alcohol use can bring a dimension of great pleasure into our lives, beer is a pretty great thing. Wine is pretty special too, but since this is a beer site, let us take a look at the top 5 reasons to drink beer.
1. Beer Tastes Good.
If beer did not taste good, then the only people who would drink would be the same people who drink mouthwash: severe alcoholics craving a fix. But outside of those poor souls, beer drinkers generally find the flavor to be pleasing. Beer is brewed from grains that we otherwise eat, and overall, flavors that include complex elements such as those produced by fermenting yeast, tend to be prized flavors. And beer has such a range of flavors — from standard light lager, to fruity Belgian ales, you can find just about any sort of flavor and mouthfeel that you like.
2. Beer Makes You Feel Good.
Let us be honest about it: drinking beer gets you drunk, and being drunk feels good (as long as you do not overdo it!). The process of intoxication is, in responsible, moderate amounts, a harmless experience that helps most people to relax, enjoy life, and be social. I have long believed that the different phytochemicals from which alcohols are brewed and distilled, have different effects on the human brain. Thus, I believe that, say, a beer buzz, is different than a wine buzz or a scotch buzz. And I always find that beer makes me feel social, intellectual, and conversational. It brings people together for lively conversation and interaction.
3. Beer Quality and Variety Are At An Historical High.
Archaeological evidence tells us that beer in ancient times, meaning thousands of years ago, was basically a beverage made from fermented grains and honey. While it may have been good, it was not very sophisticated. In Medieval Europe, beer was basically a one-trick pony: fermented barley juice. Then in the Early Middle Ages in England (think 11th Century or so), hops were first added to beer. Hops not only acted as a great preservative, thus allowing aging, but also increased the complexity of flavors and aromas that beer could offer. And in the modern age, technology has made beermaking a fine, precise art and science. These days, you can get high-quality beer in many styles from around the world, fairly easily.
4. Beer Is Healthy.
This is counter-intuitive to some. But a recent studies have shown that both moderate drinkers and even heavy drinkers, live longer than non-drinkers! The reason is not completely clear yet, but the facts are there. My theory is that people who drink beer, wine, and spirits, tend to enjoy life more and to be more social, and we know that, in general, happy people live longer and are healthier, than miserable people. It is also known that pipe smokers live longer than non-pipe-smokers, and I believe it is for the same reason. Enjoying a beer relaxes you and makes you happier, which effects the release of many healthful hormones in the body, and reduces the harmful effects of stress and oxidation on your body.
5. Beer Is Inexpensive.
Of course many people view beer as a luxury, not a necessity, of life, but many great people of history have disagreed. And sure, if someone does not have enough to eat every day, then beer is a secondary concern. But assuming that we have enough to eat and live a relatively good lifestyle, then we can afford beer. And some beer is expensive, especially beer of extremely high-quality, or rare beer, or quality imported beer. But overall, you can find some very, very good beers for very reasonable prices. Learning about beer by drinking it is much less expensive than, for example, doing the same with wine or spirits.
So, friends, there are many great reasons to enjoy good beer responsibly. Find a beer you like, and have it with dinner. Or, experiment with different beers and find the style that suits you. Then support your local craft-brewing scene and get to know the brewers: they will teach you all about the craft. But when it comes down to it, we drink beer because we love it, and there is nothing wrong with that.