||Beer is as old as civilization itself. One of the most common and popular of beverages, it is made in every corner of the world. It has a long and fascinating history, from ancient Egypt to medieval monks, to (for a time) being outlawed by the U.S. Constitution. It has been part of the daily ration for people whose lives have been long and hard, as well as the symbol of celebration, recreation, and relaxation. The local tavern has been a refuge and social universe to many.
The simple combination of barley, water, hops, and yeast produces many different styles of beer. The process has several steps, and although it is simple enough that it can be done at home with the right equipment, many people would consider brewing an art.
Beer types range from a pale, sparkling yellow to dark, rich reddish-
brown. There is a place and time for each, from tossing back a cheap cold lager on a summer afternoon to sipping a sweet, syrupy Christmas brew on a cold winter night. Beer generates a sense of well-being and enhances conversation.
Although ancient, the custom of beer drinking is by no means in danger of extinction. The recent explosion of microbrews has created a new generation of beer connoisseurs, while the less sophisticated will no doubt continue to love it blindly but passionately.