Beer is one of America's most popular beverages, and everyone has a favorite.
“My favorite beer would have to be a German beer,” said beer drinker Gene Kelly Smith.
But biochemists say there’s more to beer than its delicious taste.
“It’s a great vehicle for understanding science,” said Charlie Bamforth, a biochemist at the University of California, Davis.
Beer is made of four ingredients: barley, hops, water and the most important: yeast.
“A yeast is a single cell fungus,” said Kyria Boundy-Mills, a biochemist at UC, Davis. But, of the 1,600 known species of fungus, yeast is considered a good fungus.
Making beer involves mixing, heating and draining ingredients. The yeast causes fermentation, a process that converts sugar to alcohol and forms carbon dioxide bubbles. Different types of yeast produce different flavors of beer, something that still impresses Bamforth.
“How can you turn something as unpalatable as barley and turn it into something as delicious as beer?” said Bamforth.
And, when enjoyed in moderation, beer will not cause the fabled "beer belly." In fact, it can provide some necessary nutrients to the body.
Something to remember next time you pick up a glass.
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