12 Most common beer myths exploded
December 16, 2008 by legendsofbeer
Beer gets a bad rap. It’s blamed for so much of society’s ills, when it should be celebrated as one of the finest beverages created.
There are a number of persistent myths and urban legends about beer that are passed around that unfairly distort the facts and confuse beer drinkers.
At LegendsOfBeer.com, we’d like to set the record straight and explode 12 of the most common beer myths, for once and for all. So take a read of these myths and the truth behind them and start spreading the good beer news!
Photo by elkojote
Myth #1: The Guinness served in Ireland is different to the rest of the world
Actually, the Guinness served in Ireland is most likely the same as that served in Boston or Berlin. However, many people will attest that Guinness simply tastes better in Ireland, which is why the myth spread. There’s a certain amount of sentimentality in this myth, but when you dig into it, most of the reasoning is pretty circumstantial.
There are a few reasons why it may taste better in Ireland – most likely freshness and rapid keg turnover (a pub in Dublin will serve the freshest Guinness in the world) – but the actual product is not any different that the black stuff served around the world. Also, a Guinness drinker in Ireland is guaranteed to have their drink poured correctly in Ireland than in some parts of the world, which will have an impact on the quality of the experience.
Myth #2: Lite beers will help you lose weight
On average, a lite beer will have 90-100 calories, while a regular beer might have under 200. In the grand scheme of things, lite beers will contribute very little to your dietary goals, and considering their typical lack of taste, you’d be better off drinking one or two regular beers.
Myth #3: Dark beers are stronger in alcohol
The color of beer has no relation to its alcohol content. For example, Guinness, one of the most popular dark beers has an alcohol volume of 4.2%, while several light-colored Belgian beers have alcohol content of 8%+.
Myth #4: Corona beer contains urine
This was a nasty rumor claiming that Mexican brewery workers were relieving themselves into the beer. Allegedly, the rumor was spread by a Heineken distributor and was only refuted following a lawsuit by Corona.
Myth #5: Imported beers are stronger than American beers
Traditionally, American beers measure their alcohol content by weight, while many other countries (across Europe and in Canada) measure by volume. The alcohol by weight figure will always appear lower than the alcohol by volume – for example, 4% ABW = 5% ABV, hence the myth creation.
Myth #6: Beer should be served ice-cold for best flavor
This is an unfortunate myth perpetuated by the major commercial breweries – especially for their lite beers. The fact is, flavor typically diminishes when beer is served ice-cold. It may make for a thirst-quenching, refreshing beverage, but often bears little resemblance to traditional beer. Several beers are, in fact, best served much closer to room temperature or slightly cool and are considered undrinkable when icy cold – such as Guinness and many of the traditional English ales.
Myth #7: The best beers have green bottles
Another myth that circulated imported beers. Brown glass is the best color to protect beer from light, which is why most beers are bottled with it. A shortage of brown glass in Europe during the last century led to many breweries using green glass to bottle their beer – therefore, green bottles represented imported beer for many years and people incorrectly assumed the color indicated a better beer.
Myth #8: “Beer before liquor, never sicker – liquor before beer, in the clear”
This is common drinking advice shared but not scientifically true. In reality, alcohol is alcohol, and the overall quantity you imbibe will determine your resulting (in)sobriety or hangover. Drinking beer before drinking hard liquor may prolong the onset of inebriation. However, it won’t ultimately matter whether you drink beer first or last; it’s the quantity of alcohol that does the damage.
Myth #9: You can’t get a hangover from drinking organic beer
If only being eco-friendly was this rewarding! This myth is based on the idea that organic beer is cleaner or purer than other beer, but there’s no existing proof that it manages to avoid giving hangovers when consumed in sufficient quantities.
Myth #10: Beer will raise your cholesterol levels
Beer actually contains no fat and no cholesterol! Perhaps this is one reason that Guinness was originally advertised as good for your health.
Myth #11: A good beer must be high in alcohol
Many people unfairly associate low alcohol with low flavor. There are plenty of poor quality beers that are high in alcohol content, and the opposite is also true. Some of the famous Belgian and German beers have traditionally high average alcohol content – perhaps 8% or 10%. However, the alcohol content is only one feature and doesn’t necessarily account for the good taste. In England, many of the best mild ales have alcohol content of 4% or less – resulting from a higher tax on stronger beer. Of course, the advantage is finding good-tasting, lower alcohol beers is that you can drink more of it!
Myth #12: Beer kills brain cells
Possibly the most damning of all beer myths, and we’re happy to explode this for you. An Australian study has determined that beer is not responsible for killing brain cells as was once thought.