26 Interesting Facts About Beer – mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.38)

By Brian Lemay 100 comments

Hi I’m John Green. Welcome to Mental Floss
Video. THIS is my salon – wait a second, this isn’t my salon! This is Sun King Brewery
in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana. And this is Sun King employee Joe, who’s also a fan
of Mental Floss Video. Joe, I just wanted to ask you a question. Did Sun King pay us
to be here today? Awesome. Thank you. Joe’s wife would also like us to point out
that while you are watching this in the future, it was filmed during Movember. Today I’m
going to tell you some fun facts and tips about beer so that you can sound like a genius
the next time you go on a brewery tour with your friends or at least to insure that you
no longer order Keystone Light at the bar. Beer dates all the way back to at least 3000
BCE, but is probably even earlier than that. In fact, some people even cite 10,000 BCE!
Oh my god, that’s a lot of beer! The ancient Sumerians, for instance, used to make beer,
which they would call “kas,” meaning “what the mouth desires.” We know this, by the
way, because there are literally ancient tablets detailing beer recipes. You know, it was pre-Twitter
era. By the way, I’m sorry about all the noise. It’s almost like we’re in an actual
working brewery. The first professional beer brewers were women.
In fact, in ancient Peru, the only people who were allowed to brew beer were women of
nobility. And in Ancient Egypt, there was a law against men brewing and selling beer. To jump ahead in history, the pilgrims stopped
at Plymouth Rock for a very specific reason. As described by one passenger in his diary,
“We could not now take time for further search or consideration; our victuals being
much spent, especially our beere.” They were probably playing that classic drinking
game too much. You know, the one where you drink every time you see the ocean. So there are four main ingredients in beer:
water, barley (or some kind of starch source), hops, and yeast. Water is over 90% of beer,
so the water source is a huge determinant of how a beer tastes. But of course so are the other ingredients.
All right, have you ever heard of the “cannabaceae” family? It’s the family of plants containing
both hops and cannabis. Yes, that cannabis. Beer and marijuana are basically plant cousins. There are two types of beers: ales and lagers.
Wait a second, Meredith, is that really true, there are only two types of beers? She says
it’s true. Ale means that the yeast is fermented at the top. Lager uses yeast that is fermented
at the bottom. And it also uses much lower temperatures in the beer making and aging
process. Now of course there are endless beers within
those two categories, and I could just list them, but that’s probably not going to be
as interesting as that beer and marijuana fact, so instead I’m gonna focus on a few. Pale lager, or as Europeans call it, “sparkling
water,” is the most popular beer style in the world. And you’re probably familiar
with pale lagers like Budweiser and Coors. But, you may never even have heard of the
most popular beer in the world, which is also a lager: Snow Beer from China. By the way, I’d like to greet all of the
Mental Floss Video Chinese fans drinking Snow Beer in China. Just kidding, the great firewall
makes it impossible for you to see this video. Pilsners also fit into the pale lager category.
You probably know pilsner as Amstel or Heineken. This style is named after the city where it
was invented, Pilsen in the Czech Republic [pronunciation]. Pilsen started its own brewery
in the 1840s and hired a Bavarian brewer named Josef Groll, who created the first batch of
Pilsner beer. Then there’s IPA, or India Pale Ale, which
you’ll be surprised to learn is an ale. This one is most famous for its bitter taste,
which comes from the prominent hops. Now despite the name, this beer wasn’t actually invented
in India. It was created in Europe during the 1700s so that the East India Company could
bring along beer that would survive the trip to India. Sun King Osiris Pale Ale is what
I like to call an INDIANA Pale Ale. Anyone? No? All right, moving on. Then we have cream ale, like my favorite beer
in the world, Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale. Cream ales are confusing because they live
in the ale family, but they are stored at cold temperatures, just like lagers are. They’re
basically the best of both worlds. Oh, and for the record, I’m not being paid to say
that although they are giving us all of these beers. Wait, they’re not? Dangit! Other popular ales includes stouts and brown
ale. Like Sun King has an English brown ale called Wee Mac Scottish Ale. Oh! There it
is. Wee Mac. Stouts are typically dark and strong. And despite people usually describing
them as “rich” or “heavy,” they’re often fairly low in calories and alcohol content.
In fact, twelve ounces of Guinness is just 176 calories. That’s less than a Hershey’s
bar, although I guess you don’t drink thirteen Hershey’s bars in a day. I’m just kidding.
No one can drink thirteen Guinnesses in a day. And please don’t take that as a challenge Another example of ale comes straight from
the White House. That’s right, the White House brews its own beer. In fact, there’s
a recipe for their beer on their website, so you can drink what the president drinks. And all of this is legal. Now you probably
know that it was FDR who ended Prohibition, but it was President Jimmy Carter who legalized
homebrewing in 1978. Arguably the greatest achievement of his presidency. Speaking of which, famous beer brewers who
were also presidents include Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Madison. Okay, one last Founding Father fact: a quote
often attributed to Benjamin Franklin goes, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants
us to be happy.” But of course, that is a misquote. Like all quotations on the Internet.
Here’s what he actually wrote, “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our
vineyards; there it enters into the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant
proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” That’s much more poetic, but
it is less about beer. Speaking of Internet lies, there is a persistent
rumor online that it is illegal in the United States to have a beer commercial featuring
someone actually drinking beer. Alcohol advertising is actually self-regulating industry in the
United States, although they do generally adhere to that guideline. So what makes your beer go skunky? Well, people
usually believe that it’s time or temperature change, but it’s actually light. Okay, let’s have a list of things that were
partially written in pubs or bars, which includes: Harry Potter, the Declaration of Independence,
the play A Few Good Men. So the most important and famous beer expert
and popularizer is Michael Jackson, who worked as a beer journalist and connoisseur for almost
thirty years until he died in 2007. But he was much more fun than the pretentious beer-drinker
and/or King of Pop that you’re probably picturing. Like, Jackson had a show on the Discovery
Channel called “The Beer Hunter,” which if you ask me, is the best kind of hunter.
And he would also frequently do lectures on beer and he liked to tell European audiences
that the U.S. was the best place to find and drink good beer, which infuriated them. And
I will now infuriate Europeans by stating that as you can see from the warehouse behind
me, he was correct. And our last fact today: In 2010, the small,
local Michigan brewery, Dark Horse Brewery, turned down a huge endorsement deal from Nickelback
because the staff didn’t like the band. Nickelback approached the company because
they wanted to put Dark Horse beer in a music video, set at a fraternity party, but the
company declined. Head brewer Aaron Morse later told a local newspaper, “I absolutely
hate that band.” Dark Horse Brewery: truly the Reddit of breweries. Thanks for watching Mental Floss here on YouTube,
which is made with the help of all of these nice people. Every week we endeavor to answer
one of your mind-blowing questions. This week’s question comes from Marc Weathersby
who asks, “Who invented what was formerly known as the sidebar being called the ‘doobly
doo’ on YouTube?” The answer, Marc, is WheezyWaiter. You can
see his episode of Mental Floss about coffee if you click right here. Thanks again for watching. Thanks to Sun King
for sharing their brewery with us and also for making wonderful beer and as we say in
my hometown – Don’t forget to beer awesome!



Feb 2, 2014, 4:28 am Reply

You make a video on beer, and don't talk about Australian beer, the best beer on the planet…


Feb 2, 2014, 5:40 pm Reply

the only good thing about american beer when you are european? you can drink twice as much and get half as drunk.
oh and john, i do not believe for 1 second you were not paid to do this, otherwise you would have taken a little time off to at least acknowledge i send you a pretty decent request.


Feb 2, 2014, 4:52 pm Reply

Why do white boys drink the shittiest beer?


Feb 2, 2014, 4:57 pm Reply

This video is plagued with Eurotrash!
Make another one but block out every European IP please.

Kira Dalton

Feb 2, 2014, 6:37 pm Reply

i cant watch mental floss videos without john green i just cant 

Tony Chan

Feb 2, 2014, 11:35 am Reply

lol, i am claiming the great firewall to see this


Feb 2, 2014, 11:34 pm Reply


I can and I have. 

Renee DeLuca

Feb 2, 2014, 6:58 pm Reply

Enjoyed this video! Would have been nice to have a mention of New Albion Brewing Co. in Sonoma, CA mentioned as the first post-prohibition microbrewery in the U.S. in 1976! (Founded by Jack McAuliffe)

Akii Seewoo

Mar 3, 2014, 2:48 am Reply

watching from China 😛


Mar 3, 2014, 2:45 pm Reply

I drank 13 Guinness pints in a day. 

Patryk Gibbins

Mar 3, 2014, 8:46 pm Reply

Harry Potter was actually written in a coffee shop in Edinburgh called 'The Elephant House' not a bar.

c smaug

Mar 3, 2014, 9:12 pm Reply

US beer is like having sex in a canoe, Sorry John… but it's fucking close to water. 


Mar 3, 2014, 3:57 am Reply

Awesome! Love Sun King!

Elliott Myszka

Mar 3, 2014, 2:59 am Reply

What about Bud Light

Gren Moyo

Mar 3, 2014, 4:05 am Reply

DARK HORSE BREWERY SMITTEN WITH THE MITTEN! Michigander nerd fighters unite :p


Mar 3, 2014, 1:44 am Reply

What about steam? an ale brewed with lager yeast

Zeldas Champion

Mar 3, 2014, 12:12 pm Reply

Americans make the best beer…nah. Germans make the best beer. Pilsner style is the best tasting IMO.

Nachtmahr Mond

Mar 3, 2014, 2:28 pm Reply

Mr. Green, according to #14 "FDR ended Prohibition". That is not true. Amending the Constitution actually prohibits the President from taking part in the process. A 2/3 majority in the House and Senate or a National Convention can propose an amendment, and 3/4 of the state legislatures or 3/4 of state conventions may ratify the amendment.

Congress proposed the 21st Amendment (repealing the 18th Amendment, which put Prohibition into our Constitution) in February 20th of 1933, about two weeks before FDR was inaugurated for his first term. The states then held conventions to vote on ratifying the proposed amendment. It was ratified on December 15th, 1933.


Mar 3, 2014, 8:55 pm Reply

Challenge accepted!

John Kha

Mar 3, 2014, 8:21 am Reply

Your puns are terrible… I love them.

Thibaut Dalle

Mar 3, 2014, 12:09 pm Reply

Sparkling water. That's right =).
Keep up the good work John, I really enjoy CrashCourse and Mental Floss.

The Ceej

Mar 3, 2014, 4:40 pm Reply

I think, if we continue calling it the sidebar, Google will look really stupid for not putting it on the side.  Then they'll have to decide which is more important, their fascism or their not looking stupid.

Miles Sturges

Apr 4, 2014, 11:13 pm Reply

Some people are kids that watch your show so they might not have heard of colors and Budweiser .


Apr 4, 2014, 10:27 pm Reply

challenge accepted!

James Cuttell

Apr 4, 2014, 3:58 pm Reply

In England sparkling water just means fizzy water


Apr 4, 2014, 9:04 am Reply

You lie. Euro beer is the best beer… British is best.


Apr 4, 2014, 10:29 am Reply

I never drank beer before; I'm a minor, and I accept that challenge.


Apr 4, 2014, 2:13 pm Reply

you americans dont know shit about beer. our reinheitsgebot is older than your frkin nation. geez..

Gert Huybrechts

Apr 4, 2014, 9:15 pm Reply

Clearly never had a Duvel… By the way: belgian beers are always elected the best beer in the world! Another reason I'm proud to be a Belgian…


Apr 4, 2014, 1:54 am Reply

Europeans don't call American beer sparkling water. We call it dishwater 😉

Anyway, beer isn't just old. Studies suggest that we have beer to thank for civilisation itself. Farming is a lot more strenuous than the old hunter and gatherer lifestyle, but it enables you to brew beer. It is assumed now that this was what made our early ancestors endure the hard work.

Take that, wine snobs.

Sophia Fang

Apr 4, 2014, 2:44 pm Reply

Fun fact: it is possible to enjoy this video in China (with or without the snow beer). I'm doing so right now. 


Apr 4, 2014, 3:09 pm Reply

the English describe American beer as being like having sex in a rowboat: fucking close to water.


Apr 4, 2014, 11:36 pm Reply

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with the Europeans on this one. American domestics are just disgusting for the most part. Belgian ales are by far the best.


May 5, 2014, 10:11 pm Reply

The Great Firewall of China


May 5, 2014, 1:41 am Reply

Is sad that you only meantion beers that english speaking people can refer to.

Wanger Puppy

May 5, 2014, 2:32 am Reply

People from Wisconsin can easily drink 13 Guinness' in a day


May 5, 2014, 4:04 pm Reply

Want some extra beer money?

Make money standing in line, laying in bed, or even sitting on the toilet. Get the ap CashPirate, available for free in the Play Store. If you want 500 free points, use the referral code: HYOQBW


Sean Scott

Jun 6, 2014, 10:22 pm Reply

Carter only signed the bill legalizing homeberwing, it was congress that was responsible for over turning the ratification law of prohibition that only allowed wine making for the homebrewer.

Josh G

Jun 6, 2014, 9:48 pm Reply

i like jimmy carter a lot more now. 

Ben Allen

Jun 6, 2014, 5:50 am Reply

that crack at Carter made me laugh harder than it should have.

Matthew Oulton

Jun 6, 2014, 5:44 pm Reply

Is a ale the same as a bitter??


Jun 6, 2014, 4:03 am Reply

IPA wasn't the first beer to survive the trip to India. The troops there already drank porter. More info on IPA and European beer history from writer and blogger Martyn Cornell http://zythophile.wordpress.com/false-ale-quotes/myth-4-george-hodgson-invented-ipa-to-survive-the-long-trip-to-india/


Jul 7, 2014, 12:52 am Reply

I don't know I've had 20 guinness in a day! More than once

Aski [Fin]

Jul 7, 2014, 2:56 am Reply

american beer is like soda compared to european.. 

Mike Hejja

Jul 7, 2014, 9:56 am Reply

This video made me want to drink an Arrogant Bastard.

Theatre Geek

Jul 7, 2014, 5:26 pm Reply

Michael Jackson died in 2009, not 2007.  I knew what you said wasn't correct because my Daddy died in 2008.  We were on a short road trip in 2009 and heard the news of Jackson's death when we got to the hotel.

Trevor Grover

Jul 7, 2014, 8:49 pm Reply

can you do one on other liquor and also marijuana?

Trevor Grover

Jul 7, 2014, 8:51 pm Reply

beer tastes like poison 


Jul 7, 2014, 2:13 pm Reply

nigga, what about lambic? two types my ass


Jul 7, 2014, 9:36 pm Reply

13 GUINESSES A DAY – Challenge accepted!

Brandon Danevicius

Jul 7, 2014, 3:01 am Reply



Jul 7, 2014, 3:46 am Reply

Too late, Challenge Accepted! 


Jul 7, 2014, 7:27 am Reply

The important thing about beer is that the alcohol sterilises it so making it safe to drink, unlike water (before water treatment was invented)

Ariel Lacayo

Aug 8, 2014, 5:21 am Reply

Great information, congratulations

Bigoun Big

Sep 9, 2014, 10:30 am Reply

Go to Czech Republic to Plzeň and drink PlsenUrquell there. Then you will know what is beer 😉 I dont want to be rude but American beers are just piss in the glass. O:)

Thiago Monteiro

Sep 9, 2014, 9:19 pm Reply

"No one can drink 13 Guiness in a day." You never met an irish.

ben rider

Oct 10, 2014, 12:12 pm Reply

"No-one could drink 13 Guinnesss in a day" i call bullshit. My flatmate used to drink 8 a day easily. Also Americans having the best beer is bullshit, have you tried drinking budweiser?


Oct 10, 2014, 6:23 pm Reply

From the warehouse behind you, we can actually see, that all your beer is in a warehouse, meaning noone likes it and noone buys it. BAM!
Love your show, keep the good stuff going!

Kyle Buzzell

Oct 10, 2014, 8:51 pm Reply

ben rider you are an idiot

Douglas Gaston IV

Oct 10, 2014, 4:03 pm Reply

I'm watching this in China now with a Snow beer! Their firewall is not that strong.


Oct 10, 2014, 8:47 pm Reply

American vs European Beer. It depends! I especially prefer my German regional beer over everything else. But America has some really special kinds of beers, craft beers for example that taste very interesting and uniqe and which I quite enjoy.


Nov 11, 2014, 2:17 am Reply

Irish man here and I can attest that 13 Guinness in one day is very much possible

Joanna Zieba

Nov 11, 2014, 5:45 pm Reply

grrrr im an infuriated european. wait, im a 12 year old girl. i dont even like beer. oh well. im still gonna act butthurt anyway.

Daniel Liddicoat

Dec 12, 2014, 3:16 pm Reply

I love wheat beer and Bavaria. Everywhere I went there was wheat beer and swinehaxe. The best food in the world.

Belle Lewis

Jan 1, 2015, 12:56 am Reply

Happy New Beer Everyone!

leah chapman

Jan 1, 2015, 8:17 am Reply

It was actually on one of your list shows I first heard of the you can't drink alcohol on TV thing.


Feb 2, 2015, 10:39 am Reply

Victuals should be pronounced like 'vittles'.

The Beer Explorer

Feb 2, 2015, 5:27 am Reply

Very interesting stuff here.


Mar 3, 2015, 8:04 pm Reply

I am infuriated!

Konrad Mutz

Apr 4, 2015, 7:03 pm Reply

in Bremen it was forbidden to piss in the Weser (a large river) a few days before they brew their beer because they take the water from the river and nobody wants to drink urine


Apr 4, 2015, 7:34 pm Reply

At 5:46 you stated that the Declaration of Independence was written in a bar. It was in fact written in the house of a Philadelphia brick maker named Jacob Graff Jr., who is my great great great great….grandfather, when Thomas Jefferson rented the spare room from him in 1776. My grandmother still has the table the declaration was written on.

George Parker-Brien

May 5, 2015, 9:47 am Reply

Full body john shot

Jacqueline Stoner

Jul 7, 2015, 7:06 am Reply

I could easily drink 13 Guinesses in a day. They are a session beer. I have finished a 22 oz bottle of a 15% Russian imperial stout and am 4 bottles into a 9% DIPA.

Daniel Fajardo

Aug 8, 2015, 12:11 am Reply

challenge accepted..


Aug 8, 2015, 6:47 pm Reply

the only country i haven't heard him offend is sweden xD come on get on it 😛

Karel Tibos

Sep 9, 2015, 6:41 pm Reply

who the hell like's henikan it's the worest beer ever


Sep 9, 2015, 9:02 pm Reply

John, my Irish boyfriend can drink 13 pints of Guinness in one SITTING.


Sep 9, 2015, 8:14 am Reply

It is weird – no one seems to actually like Nickelback. All these other "love to hate" outfits – Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Linkin Park, ICP – they have an identifiable fanbase, but Nickelback, it seems to be just haters, yet somehow they exist.


Oct 10, 2015, 2:45 pm Reply

the U.S. marine corps was started in a bar


Oct 10, 2015, 2:01 am Reply

I heard people who drinks beer can get muscle better than taking steroids.

facts about ur mum

Dec 12, 2015, 5:58 pm Reply

People's perception of American beer comes from shit like Coors and Natural Ice. Which, yes, are crap. But we do make some damn fine brews here. Many of which are built on recipes that came from Europe anyway.

Psine Wave

Dec 12, 2015, 6:26 am Reply

Of course US has the best beer, the people there need it the most.


Feb 2, 2016, 7:59 pm Reply

Just a shout from china. VPNs exist. can confirm popularity of snow beer.

Tosh M

Feb 2, 2016, 1:40 am Reply

Michael Jackson died in 2009 tho…

Azhar Ali

Feb 2, 2016, 12:22 pm Reply

Full body john shot

Scaly Khajiit

Mar 3, 2016, 11:03 pm Reply

Hey guys what is this competition! Who cares who makes "the best beer", it's just personal preferences.
Plus this goes against the principle of beer: being loud and cheerful and friendly to strangers! United we beer!

Rhys Tucker

Nov 11, 2016, 7:15 am Reply

What do you mean Ales aren't stored at cold temperatures? In Australia we don't drink any beer warm.


Nov 11, 2016, 7:44 am Reply

maybe you can't drink 13 pints of guinness, but that's child's play to me lol

Sun King Brewery & Spirits

Jun 6, 2017, 4:57 pm Reply

I think it's about time John Green come back to Sun King for a second video about beer !


Jul 7, 2017, 9:49 pm Reply

Challenge Accepted

Patrick Montgomery

Aug 8, 2017, 3:19 am Reply



Oct 10, 2017, 10:36 pm Reply

I don't take the Guinness thing as a challenge, just as a Tuesday.

Fleece Johnson

Dec 12, 2017, 6:06 am Reply

beer is awful and any form of alcohol. idk how people drink that stuff

Cyrus Hale

Dec 12, 2017, 7:44 pm Reply

American piss water!


Apr 4, 2018, 2:05 am Reply

TBF beer is way better in the States. Even Germany makes shit beer by comparison. The best there is right about where the mass produced crap in the States is at.

Julia Lilienstein

Oct 10, 2018, 8:07 pm Reply

It's pronounced "vittles", not vic-choo-uhls.

Samantha Smith

Dec 12, 2018, 10:15 am Reply

It’s so crazy you’re at sun king bc that’s right down the road from where I’m watching this video right now!!!! Aka my place haha

Tomas Levin

Jan 1, 2019, 5:50 pm Reply

”26 interesting facts about Sun King…I mean beer!”. Ironically I just read the comments of the previous video about game-changing video games and now I know how those commenters felt…


Jul 7, 2019, 1:32 pm Reply


The Byzantian Prince

Oct 10, 2019, 3:27 pm Reply

Sun King just started playing this on their TVs in the taproom downtown.

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