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Doctor touts health of craft beer

http://galvestondailynews.com/story/343866 - August 28, 2012

The BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival is around the corner, and Galvestonians might be surprised to learn the health benefits of the star of the show — craft beer.

First — let me be clear — alcohol abuse is catastrophic to your health.

Multiple fatal health conditions and an association with crime and social problems make alcohol use a serious public health issue.

However, there was a time in history when the health benefits of beer were actually praised. Beer brewing can be traced back to 6000 BC in Mesopotamia and was found in dozens of prescriptions on Egyptian papyrus dating from 1600 BC.

The alcohol content of beer made it safer to drink than water and likely prevented the death of entire civilizations from waterborne illness.

Moderate alcohol consumption — no more than one drink per day for women or two for men — has been shown to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease the risk of stroke and heart attacks by as much as 30 percent.

The same studies, however, found complete reversal of all benefits once alcohol intake rose above the recommended levels.

In ancient Egypt, grains grown during warmer months were soaked in water, and spontaneously fermented by wild yeast in open ceramic pots.

This fermentation effectively stored the carbohydrate energy in liquid form for consumption during colder months when crops were no longer producing, and the most successful strains of yeast were naturally saved in the walls of the ceramic vessels.

Today, most yeast is strained from commercially available beers, but when present, (as is often the case in homebrewed varieties) it is an excellent source of protein, folic acid and other B-vitamins. In fact, as a dietary supplement, “Brewer’s Yeast” is found at most health food stores.

Hops originally were used as a flavoring spice, but were soon found to have antibiotic and antiseptic properties. The more hops added to a particular brew, the longer it could keep before spoilage.

This gave rise to the highly-hopped “India Pale Ale” — ale brewed in Britain during the 18th century that could be shipped to India without ruining.

Today, the antioxidants found in hops have been shown to help treat insomnia, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms and anxiety.

Most health benefits are found in darker beers and are likely to come from smaller, local breweries — especially homebrewed beer.

Hobbyists nationwide have been legally homebrewing in the U.S. since 1978, and have recently experienced a renaissance of sorts.

By controlling every aspect of the brewing process: grain type, boiling time, yeast strain, hop variety, flavor additives, and fermentation time, homebrewers can create literally hundreds of thousands of unique combinations that are not available commercially — all on their kitchen stove.

I personally have a summer selection of Raspberry Golden Ale and a Belgian Witbier on tap in my apartment, and am gearing up to make a hearty Pumpkin Ale and syrupy Imperial IPA for the fall.

Each batch takes about three hours to boil and cool, then from four to six weeks to properly ferment. Stouts and other hearty beers can even be aged for a year or more before serving.

In the Galveston area, we are lucky to have some incredible local breweries nearby — No Label, Southern Star, Saint Arnold and Karbach (a personal favorite — try the Rodeo Clown) to name a few.

Remember, moderation is key — and if you find yourself at Moody Gardens this weekend, drink to your health, and thank a homebrewer for keeping the tradition alive.

Dr. Myers R. Hurt III is the chief resident in the University of Texas Medical Branch Department of Family Medicine and an avid homebrewer
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The Moleskine Beer Journal Help You Remember Your Favorite Brews

TRENDHUNTER - Nov 22, 2012

The Moleskine Beer Journal Help You Remember Your Favorite Brews

For the beer connoisseur or the occasional drinker, the Molskine beer journal can help you keep tabs on your favorite brewed finds.

Each page is designed to encourage the drinker to write down some of their notes while trying a new libation. It’s the perfect way to help remember what you’re drinking and how you liked it before you get too tipsy to recall. The journal also features a glossary for quickly finding your notes, advice on how to perform the perfect pour, types of glasses to use and how to analyze a new brew. In addition, the Moleskine beer journal features handy tips for homebrewing your own beer with space to jot down recipes and addresses. When you’re using the Moleskine beer journal, be sure to write in your thoughts quickly before the brew begins to cloud your judgement.

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