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Writer and Geek Show

A Society, Culture and History podcast
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We are Writer and Geek, we make our listeners get excited about boring stuff one episode at a time. Writer and Geek Show is a science and tech podcast and we love geeking about tech, history, science, music and any other topic they can think of. In this show, we discuss a variety of topics and ramble on and on about them.


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074: Oh beer, oh beer!
Beer is undoubtedly the most popular drink around the world. Today, we are trying to get some insights into the origins of beer; discuss the methods of preparation and debunk some myths while bouncing off some fun facts about the drink.The study of Beer is known as Zythology.The term Beer originated from Latin, which means “to drink”. It has its roots in the Proto-Germanic word “beuwoz”, derived from “beuwo”, which means barley.At any given time, 0.7% of people in the world are drunk. Which is approximately 50 million people.History and Brewing methods:Beer is the oldest drink produced by humans. It is traced back to 7000 years, in ancient pottery jars in Iran.In Mesopotamia, Sumerian tablets from 6000 years ago depict people drinking beer.First beer recipe was found in the 3900 years old Sumerian Poem honouring Ninkasi, goddess of beer. It was made from the bread made from barley.5000 years ago, in China, beer residue made from barley and other grains were found on pottery.Traces of beer were found in Sumer, Southern Iraq from 5400 BC.Charlemagne considered beer to be an important part of life. He used to train brewers himself to get his desired taste of beer.Most of these recipes followed both malted grain and use of moulds cultivated on rice carriers. And the rice method was considered more efficient.Malted barley was used for making beer as it is a good source of fermentable sugar.Before hops, Herbs and spices, called Gruit, were used to mask the sweetness of beers.By the twelfth century, hops were used as a flavouring/bittering agent and we should thank German monks for that. Hops provided a pleasing flavour, thirst-quenching feeling and also acted as a preservative.In the 7th century AD, European Monasteries produced and sold beer. Almost every monastery had a brewery. They used to improve the flavour by lagering and cold storing.The difference between ale and beer is that ale did not use hops.Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus.Top-fermenting was the preferred method earlier on but was replaced by bottom fermentation.Top fermentation is a violent alcoholic fermentation at a temperature of 14 to 30° C during which the yeast cells are carried to the top of the fermenting liquid used in the production of such liquors as ale, porter, and wines of high alcohol content and in distilling. (Merriam Webster)Bottom fermentation is a slow alcoholic fermentation during which the yeast cells collect at the bottom of the fermenting liquid, which takes place at a temperature of 4 to 10° C and which occurs in the production of lager beer and wines of low alcohol content. (Merriam Webster)A shift from home brewing to commercial brewing, with the use of hops improved quality of beer. And the per capita consumption of beer in Hamburg went from 300 litres in the 13th century to 700 litres in the 15th century.In 1516, William IV, Duke of Bavaria, adopted the Reinheitsgebot (purity law), which states that the ingredients of beer are to be restricted to water, barley, and hops. Yeast was added to the list after Louis Pasteur's discovery in 1857 (Pasteurization).Beer was sold domestically before the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution led to the development of hydrometers 1770 and thermometers 1760 changing the scale of brewing. Today it is a global business with multinational companies and brewpubs or regional breweries.Beer became an integral part of the British Army. The army in colonial countries needed beers that lasted longer. This led to the brewing of Indian Pale Ale, which had higher alcoholic content and more hops for preservation.European colonists on the way to the US stopped at Plymouth Rock to make more beer.New York had 42 breweries 1810. New York and Philadelphia were known as the brewing centres of the US.American had British style ales until mid-1800, but they moved to a heavier, darker ale with the influence of new immigrants from Northern and Central Europe.Demand increased till the prohibition era from 1920-1933. Only some breweries who made malt extracts, ice cream, and soda survived.Mass-produced cheap beer survived after prohibition due to the Great Depression.Craft beer breweries came back in fashion, thanks to Jimmy Carter when he passed the home brewery for personal use bill in 1978.133 billion litres sold every year and it amounted to $294.5 billion in sales in 2006.India:Beer is not as popular as stronger alcoholic beverages like whiskey. Strong beers are more popular in the country.Beer is mentioned in Vedas including Ramayana. It is Lord Indra's favourite drink and is called Sura in Vedas.Ancient Greek historian, Megasthenes, has documented rice beer in India in his writings.Kautilya/Chanakya has mentioned beer in his work (Medaka and Prasanna).Elephants used to attack villages due to their acquired taste for beer.The local beers had some health benefits as it kept away diseases like beriberi.In India, the traditional beers are made using rice and millet.The British introduced European beer in the 18th century.The Indian Pale Ale (IPA) was invented in 1787 at Bow Brewery. It was produced to ship out to Indian Empire.Asia's first brewery was incorporated in 1855 (started in 1835) by Edward Dyer in Kasauli under the name Dyer Breweries. It is currently known as Mohan Meakin.The price of beer in 1967 was ₹6.5.United Breweries came to India in 1999, Cobra beer in 2005, Anheuser-Busch Inbev (Budweiser) in 2006, and Heineken in 2011.Craft Beers were introduced in 2009 in the form of Brewpubs in Pune (Doolally) and Gurgaon Ahirwal (Howzat). But it didn’t gain much popularity and closed down shortly. But bottles craft beers came back in 2016 in the form of White Rhino.There are around 200 breweries in India in 2019 with around 60 of them in Bangalore and Gurgaon.Bira 91 is one of the most popular craft beer available right now in India.Facts:Beer drinking more than water is a myth because most of the towns and villages were set up next to rivers or any other kind of freshwater sources.Cenosillicaphobia is fear of empty beer glass.The strongest beer has an alcohol level of 67.5%.Beer was not considered an alcoholic beverage in Russia until 2013.Beer was the national currency in Egypt.Carlsberg added a pipeline of unlimited beer to Niels Bohr’s residence after he won the Nobel prize.In the 13th century, Norway, beer was used to baptize.There is a brewery in Germany operating continuously since 1040.In 1956, a test was conducted where beers were kept in the atomic bombs blast perimeter to see whether it would be safe to drink after the explosion. The experiment found out that it is safe to drink.The world's longest hangover lasted 4 weeks after a Scotsman consumed 60 pints (28 litres) of beer.Sources:History of beerHistory of beer in IndiaHeartland BreweryMerriam WebsterRandom Facts
073: Why do we remember things?
In this episode we talk about how memory works.
072: Serial Killer Files Part 7 - Cyanide Lady
Kerala was recently shocked to the news of a series of murder suspected by using cyanide by a lady. In this episode, we talk about Jolly Joseph and the mystery surrounding the deaths around her. As of today, she has confessed of having committed the crimes.Image: Unsplash

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    Podcast Details
    May 27th, 2017
    Latest Episode
    Nov 24th, 2019
    Release Period
    No. of Episodes
    Avg. Episode Length
    34 minutes

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