1. Beer is the oldest alchoholic beverage and has been around since at least the ancient Sumerians of 2600 B.C., and was probably discovered much earlier. The ancient Sumerians even had a proverb that went "No children without sex - no drunkenness without beer." Beer has had an important place in human history and here are 19 more amazing beer history facts.

2. The Sumerians loved beer so much they even had a goddess of brewing called Ninkasi.

2. The Egyptians brewed a fruity beer called Heqet or Hekt. It was the beverage of choice for adults and children alike.

3. The Babylonians (circa 1800 B.C.) had more than 20 different varieties of beer according to clay tablet recipes found by archeologists in northern Syria.

4. In A. D. 1200, it was customary throughout Europe to baptize children with beer.

5. In the Middle Ages, beer was the everyday all day drink of choice for men, women and children. Why? --Because no one wanted to drink the polluted water supplies. The brewing process took most of the nasty stuff out of beer and made it much more desirable to drink than the local water supply.

6. IN the 1600's, midwives created "Groaning Ale." It was a special ultrastrong beer meant to ease the pain of childbirth. It was also often used to bathe the newborn (since it was likely cleaner than the water available at the time).

7. In 1774, British scientist Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen after pondering the source of the bubbles rising from a vat of beer.

8. One of the very first acts of the Continental Congress was to issue rations of a quart a day of beer to all Revolutionary War soldiers.

9. The first know American brewhouse was called Block and Christiansen's and it opened in 1612 in New Amsterdam (which became lower Manhattan, New York). And in that brewhouse, the first nonnative American was born. His name was Jean Vigne and he grew up to become a brewer.

10. In 1809, United States President James Madison tried to establish a National Brewery. He also tried to create a position on his cabinet for a Secretary of Beer. Both efforts failed unfortunately.

11. The first "pilsner" beer was created in Pilsen, Bohemia, hence the name, in 1842. Now over 90% of the beer produced worldwide is pilsner beer.

12. Louis Pasteur is best know for "pasteurization" of milk. But in 1876, he originally came up with pasteurization as a flash heating method for killing bacteria in beer, enabling it to last much longer after being bottled.

13. 1933: Prohibition ends on December 5th in the United States. President Roosevelt says, "I believe this would be a good time for a beer!"

14. In 1935, the beer can was introduced. Canned beer was mostly prohibited in 1942 to save metal for the war effort, but was otherwise a big hit.

15. Pull tabs on beer cans showed up in 1963 and lasted until 1975 when they were fazed out in favor of the more environmentally friendly stay tabs.

16. Vikings were huge beer drinkers. They would even stop mid-battle for a beer break, drink huge quantities of beer, and then rejoin the bottle "bare shirt" - armor and shirts removed. The Norse word berserk means "bare shirt" and this is where the term "going berserk" came from.

17. The term honeymoon is also connected to beer. In ancient Babylonia, the father of the bride would gift the groom a month's supply of mead, which is a honey beer. This month long beer session came to be known as the honey month and that morphed into the term "honeymoon."

18. The term "the real McCoy" came from a Prohibition-era bootlegger named Jim McCoy. His beers were so close in taste to real brands they were known as the Real McCoy.

19. During World War II, in 1943, all US brewers allocated 15 percent of their beer production for military use. Beer cans were even painted drab olive, like military Land Rovers, so as not to reflect and make soldiers easy targets.

20. In 2003, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) lobbied Wisconsin Governer Jim Doyle to change Wisconsin's official beverage from milk to beer. PETA argued that beer is healthier than milk - PETA claiming that milk is linked to heart disease, cancer, allergies, diabetes, and obesity.