Human beings are social animals, but just as important, we are socially constrained as well. Don’t think there isn’t a day that goes by without wondering who would be up for a pint. That doesn’t mean that I need a pint but only goes to highlight the social convention that beer brings us. Without beer I think I would have probably struggled to keep in touch with most of my friends over the years. Whether it be just one after work, a birthday night out or just one for the road it seems that I have a lot to owe to this fermented glass of heaven. We owe a lot to beer in bringing society forward.
If you could imagine what interaction would be like without something to break those awkward social codes of conduct, without something to break that wall, without something to stop the brain sending those signals that say, “I dunno…”. As Henry Lawson stated, “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.”
We need beer.
We can go back through the ages and just look what beer has brought to society. In ancient Egypt people were paid in beer. Throughout history beer has been the only hygienic thing to drink dating back to pre-medieval times. Some evidence suggests that these early brews were also considered aids in deliberation. In Germany and Persia collective decisions of state were made after a few warm ones, then double-checked when sober. Elsewhere, they did it the other way around. Beer was thought to be so important in many bygone civilizations that the Code of Urukagina, often cited as the first legal code, even prescribed it as a central unit of payment and penance.
Beer since has grown into many peoples lives. It has given us jobs, hobbies, interests and stories. It has given us company when no-one will listen and it given us the reason for people to come together so next time we are together we should raise a glass and give thanks to our friend, our crisp refreshing friend, because Plato said it best, “He was a wise man who invented beer.”