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At the Café by Édouard Manet, circa 1879

Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. Beer is brewed from cereal grains--most commonly from malted barley, though wheat, maize (corn), and rice are also used. During the brewing process, fermentation of the starch sugars in the wort produces ethanol and carbonation in the resulting beer. Most modern beer is brewed with hops, which add bitterness and other flavours and act as a natural preservative and stabilizing agent. Other flavouring agents such as gruit, herbs, or fruits may be included or used instead of hops. In commercial brewing, the natural carbonation effect is often removed during processing and replaced with forced carbonation.

Some of humanity's earliest known writings refer to the production and distribution of beer: the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours, and "The Hymn to Ninkasi", a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, served as both a prayer and as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.

Beer is distributed in bottles and cans and is also commonly available on draught, particularly in pubs and bars. The brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. The strength of modern beer is usually around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (ABV), although it may vary between 0.5% and 20%, with some breweries creating examples of 40% ABV and above.

Beer forms part of the culture of many nations and is associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling and pub games.

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Victoria Bitter, bitter lager
Australian beer is mostly now lager. Although Australia was settled predominantly by the British, it was found that, before the availability of modern temperature control systems, the brewing, distribution and storage of British style ale was difficult in many parts of Australia due to high summer temperatures and often sudden day-to-day weather changes in Southern parts of the continent. The introduction of refrigeration lent itself to lager production, as well as enabling beer to be served cold.

The oldest brewery still in operation is the Cascade Brewery, established in Tasmania in 1824.

The majority of the large Australian breweries are now owned by the conglomerates Foster's Group and Lion Nathan. A notable exception is Coopers, which is the only large brewery that is still privately owned. Boutique brands of beer are fast becoming the flavour of the masses which is forcing the large brewhouses to change their ideas on what the drinkers want. Australia's numerous microbreweries are gaining decent market share.

Despite its heavy international presence, the so-called original Australian beer, Foster's Lager, has relatively low appeal throughout Australia.

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A six pack of Corona Extra
Corona Extra
Produced by Grupo Modelo

Corona is a pilsner brewed by the Mexican Grupo Modelo. Corona is light straw in color and has a very mild flavor, with little hop bitterness and 4.6% abv. Unlike many beers, Corona is bottled in a clear bottle, increasing the opportunity for spoilage. It is common in countries outside of Mexico to serve Corona with a slice of lime or other citrus in the neck. Much of the barley used to brew Corona originates from the United States and Canada and is transported by railroad.

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William Knapman (4 December 1830 - 24 June 1908) was a hotel owner, brewer and businessman in the young colony of South Australia. He founded the hotel owning firm of Knapman and Son which survived past the mid-20th Century. His descendants included four of South Australia's most famous sportsmen, a well-known pianist and numerous publicans. Read more...

Beer lists

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" Give me a woman who truly loves beer, and I will conquer the world. "
-- Wilhelm_II_of_Germany

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United Breweries Group or UB Group, based in Bangalore, is a conglomerate of different companies with a major focus on the brewery (beer) and alcoholic beverages industry. The company markets most of its beer under the Kingfisher brand and has also launched Kingfisher Airlines, an airline service in India, with international flights operating recently. United Breweries is India's largest producer of beer with a market share of around 48% by volume.

The group is headed by Dr.Vijay Mallya who is also a member of the Indian Parliament. United Breweries now has greater than a 40% share of the Indian brewing market. Recently UB financed a takeover of the spirits business of the rival Shaw-Wallace company giving it a majority share of India's spirits business. The group owns the Mendocino Brewing Company in the United States.

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Credit: Riflemann

A Kwak beer served in its traditional glass

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The following are images from various beer- and brewing-related articles on Wikipedia.

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WikiProject Beer is an association of Wikipedians with an interest in beer and beer-related subjects. They have come together to coordinate the development of beer and brewery articles here on Wikipedia. Additionally, other groups have formed other projects that entertain subjects that are directly related to beer, bartending and pubs. Additionally, the mixed drinks project covers topics that include beer cocktails. If any of these subjects pique your interest, please feel free to visit their projects. These groups would love to have you participate!

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