Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Saturday, December 31, 2011

How Beer Saved the World

It seems only fitting that the last posting of the year be something celebratory.  I was assisted by a friend who sent me a very entertaining and educational copy of a program on Discovery that was titled “How Beer Saved the World”.  It is worth every minute of the forty-three necessary to watch all three segments.

I was sharing my experience with a group of friends who have run, walked or ambled with me for about twenty-five years.  Collectively we are called the Hash House Harriers and I posted an earlier blog about the group (ad one member who passed away, much too young) almost a year ago on 1-29-2011 called Fungus Amongus.  I was surprised when I mentioned the show that several had seen it.  One female Hasher said she was aware of one factoid from the show, namely that the Egyptians discovered beer, from a chemistry course she took in college.  Her instructor dropped that fact on students more for the reaction than for the education value.

But how and why beer was so important in Egyptian history is just a small part of the presentation.  If you watch you will learn that Pasteur was more interested in beer than milk, and why.  You’ll learn that were it not for beer much larger number of people would have dies in the Black Plague.  The show ends with a prediction that beer will be one of the first exports into space.

My particular interest in beer at this time stems from a recent birthday present, a kegerator.  Mine is not one of the $2500 ones I saw recently when viewing appliances for our kitchen renovation, but was a CostCo impulse purchase, which I felt would tell me whether I drank beer fast enough to justify having the appliance.

My Florida-based sister-in-law has a friend who keeps one on her deck and I have always found it nice to share a glass or two along with his hospitality.  He stocks it pretty much with Budweiser.  My tastes are more eclectic and I have enjoyed, in my first three purchases, testing a favorite, Sierra Nevada, a Hash member brew, Green Flash, and what I now am pouring, O’Shea’s IPA.  This latter is larger than the first two and has provided me with about a month’s consumption with probably a week or two left in the keg.  I’m unsure if I’ll repeat with it or more likely, try a new one.

I’m fortunate to be living in Southern California where I can leave my keg on my deck, as does my sister-in-law’s friend.  I put a tarp over it when we get the occasional rain and now store both the glasses and the pitcher inside.  I have an oven thermometer that helps me keep the temperature in a suggested range (34-47 degrees) and half a dozen 12-ounce glasses for family and friends.

The big test will be our annual charity Super Bowl Party where the chili screams out for good beer, even with our aging crowd.

While I am tempted to raise a glass of brew this evening, I’ll more likely succumb to tapping into a supply of bubbly as Mary and I bang pots and blow horns in the safety of our home.

For about forty years we have followed pretty much the same routine, go to a movie, then to dinner and then home for a fire, champagne and television.  This year it is Warhorse and a new, intimate restaurant called Bru, which just opened in Lake Forest.

My next post will share with you a book I recently finished about Hela cells, the woman they came from, and how they truly changed the world.  Another fact that had escaped me until recently.

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