What Is Beer?

Beer is a fermented alcoholic drink made from water, barley malt, and hops. It is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and it forms part of the culture of many nations, with traditions like beer festivals and a rich pub culture involving activities such as drinking games, quizzes, and drinking competitions.

Depending on the style and process, beer can be pale or dark in color, with flavors ranging from sour notes to spiced fruit to chocolate. Many beers are brewed unfiltered, creating a cloudy appearance and often a thick, syrupy body. Others are brewed with a variety of ingredients other than barley malt, such as sorghum or rice in Africa; cassava root in Brazil; and agave in Mexico.

The alcohol content of beer can vary from as little as 3% to as much as 12%, depending on the recipe and brewing process used. Generally, breweries that produce beer with higher alcohol content have a higher quality brewing process and are more likely to be considered craft beers.

The word “beer” is derived from the Germanic words bier and höfe, which translate to “brewery” and “liquid bread.” Beer is a common beverage at social events, where it is commonly paired with food. Beer is also a staple in sports bars and restaurants, where it is often served on tap or by the glass. The popularity of beer has led to the creation of a wide range of breweries, which are often independent and locally owned. In the United States, local governments set state regulations regarding labeling, hours of sale, and sanitation.