Three things you didn't know about beer

Ok, I’ll admit it, when we built the Beer Quiz, I tried to find some obscure stuff to stump you all. Turns out that wasn’t as easy as I had thought. In fact, the overall results were fairly impressive. 

About 200 of you that took the challenge and collectively scored an average of 75%. While that might be a C grade in school, given the esoteric nature of the questions we thought you did really well.

The questions that you did struggle with were also the most obscure. For example: only 30% of you knew that the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Laws) were only 500 years old. Also, fewer than 50% of you knew what that a lack of added yeast distinguishes the lambic from regular beer. Lastly, you didn’t know the noble hops from the hybrids. Therefore we thought we would give you a little primer on these three questions, so you will have confidence in your beer knowledge in the future.


Lambic is a type of beer brewed in the Pajottenland region of Belgium southwest of Brussels and in Brussels itself at the Cantillon Brewery. Lambic beers include Gueuze and Kriek lambic. Unlike most beers, which are fermented with carefully cultivated strains of brewer's yeast, lambic is fermented spontaneously by being exposed to wild yeasts and bacteria native to the Zenne valley in which Brussels lies. This process gives the beer its distinctive flavor: dry, vinous, and cidery, usually with a sour aftertaste. Lambic beer is widely consumed in Brussels and its environs, and frequently featured in Belgian cuisine. They are not widely brewed outside of Belgium, which might account for why you didn’t know much about them.

Noble Hops

The term "noble hops" traditionally refers to varieties of hops which are low in bitterness and high in aroma. They are the European cultivars or races — Hallertau, Tettnanger, Spalt, and Saaz. As with grapes, the location where hops are grown affects the hops' characteristics. Much as Dortmunder beer may within the EU be labelled "Dortmunder" only if it has been brewed in Dortmund, noble hops may officially be considered "noble" only if they were grown in the areas for which the hop varieties (races) were named.

Hallertau must be grown in the central Barvarian region known as Holledau.

Saaz is the Bohemian style hops that flavors Czech lagers like Pilsner Urquell. 

Spalt is from Nuremburg Germany.

Tettnang is also from Germany in the southern area known as Baden-Wurttemberg.

Reinheitsgebot – German Purity Laws

This year is the 500th anniversary of the German Beer Purity Law. The Reinheitsgebot (literally "purity order” and sometimes called the "German Beer Purity Law" in English) is the collective name for a series of regulations limiting the ingredients in beer in Germany and its predecessor states. The best-known version of the law was adopted in Bavaria in 1516, but similar regulations predate the Bavarian order, and modern regulations also significantly differ from the 1516 Bavarian version.