Weekly Therapy: Five beer myths

Every once in a while it is good to revisit these beer myths and set the facts straight.

– The best beer is sold in green or clear bottles rather than “plain brown” ones.

In the years following World War II, in part because there was a shortage of brown glass, European brewers shipped beers in green bottles. It became a status symbol for imports. The color of the bottle no longer says anything about the quality of beer inside, and as we’ve written before green glass gives less protection against beer becoming light struck and developing a “skunky” taste. More on that.

– Ales are served at room temperature in the United Kingdom.

This story also goes back to World War II, when American GIs spent considerable time in England. Cask-conditioned (or “real”) ale is served at cellar temperature, which is in the low- to mid-50s.

– Wheat beers always should be served with a slice of lemon.

This is a matter of personal taste. The tartest of wheat beers, such as Berliner Weisse, are usually served with lemon, woodruff or syrups to cut the acidity. However, wheat beers, from weissbiers to Bavarian weizens to English and American wheat beers, cover a broad range. If you like lemon with your wheat beer, by all means enjoy it that way. But don’t feel obligated.

– Imported beers are stronger than American beers.

This is a function of the alcohol by volume (abv) versus alcohol by weight (abw) issue we’ve discussed here before. Many U.S. citizens think the rest of the world measures alcohol like they do (by weight) and don’t realize that 5% by volume is no stronger than 4% by weight. More on that.

– Light beers are much less likely to give you a beer belly.

A bottle of Miller Lite has 96 calories, while a bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Lager has 160. A brisk 20-minute walk is all that separates those two. So unless you drink your beer a case at a time …

Although beer is partially to blame for beer bellies – it contains no fat, but those calories and carbohydrates add up – the chips, pretzels, pizza, etc. that many people enjoy with beer deserve as much of the credit. A full-flavored beer with a light snack has far fewer calories than a light beer with a pile of nachos.

Want more? Beer Hunter Michael Jackson offers a dozen more.

2 Replies to “Weekly Therapy: Five beer myths”

  1. On lemon with wheat beers: I don’t know where that started, but it was never a Bavarian custom. It seemed to have been picked up in Munich in the ’90s, however, just as the idea of a brewpub was, from Americans. No self-respecting Bayer would ever put a slice of lemon in his Franziskaner or Erdinger. I lived in Munich before then, and never saw anyone at any time in any restaurant, bar or beer garden ever put a slice of anything in a glass of Weizen. Os is a Schanderl, sag i!

    As for the Prussians, well, they’ve had to put those syrops in the Berliner Weisse for years, so I can’t speak for that gimmick.

  2. Response to “Wheat beers always should be served with a slice of lemon.”
    I am a fan of serving a slice of orange with a good unfiltered wheat beer. Give it a try and I am sure you will be happy with the flavor that a slice of orange can provide.

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