Beer is in a renaissance. Fueled by small craft manufacturers, brewers are reassessing the confines of classic stouts and IPAs. And with virtually no limitations on what can be added to beer (unlike most wines, which are confined strictly to the artful manipulation of grapes), the sheer variety of what’s on the market is astounding. Beer has become a cuisine unto itself.
But while every modern beer drinker may be a bit of an expert, this entertaining infographic reminds us that we’re all amateurs in comparison to our forefathers. We drink about 22 gallons apiece each year. Our medieval Europeans drank triple that (66 gallons). And the Egyptians who built the pyramids? They guzzled a gallon of beer every single day, or over 300 gallons each year. That’s more than 1,000 40s, but they certainly earned it.
Yet all arguments of beer’s importance historically aside—ignoring its sterility in dirty environments, its ability to preserve grain, and its insights into the world of microbes and modern medicine—the most incredible thing about beer isn’t all the things it’s done. The most incredible thing about beer is that we’d still drink it even if it weren’t incredible at all.