The countries the climate of which does not allow the cultivation of fully ripening grapes feature the tradition to drink beer rather than wine. Beer (both dark and light) has been brewed for thousands of years. A certain brand of beer was brewed in Babylon as far back as 4000 BC. The brewing skills of the ancient Egyptians were handed over to the Greeks; later on the skill was adopted by the Romans. In the northern part of Europe a mixture of wheat and honey was used for brewing at the beginning.
The following are the main raw materials used for beer brewing: grain, usually barley (wheat, rice and maize can also be used), and yeast decomposing hydrocarbons into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Wider usage of hops (providing beer with aroma and taste) was started in England in XVI century. This is the period when the word "beer" (meaning - dark beer) was started to be used in English in order to distinguish the hop product from the product with no hops in it called "ale" (light beer).
Two main brands of beer are available today. The weak beer is fermented using the yeast the fermentation process of which takes place on the bottom, the yeast used for light beer - ferments on the surface. In the first case the yeast settles down to the bottom, in the second - rises up to the surface.
The beer brewed without hops is mostly produced on the British Isles, in Australia and New Zealand. It can be bitter, strong, light brown and brown. Weak porter and stout are also fermented with the yeast fermenting on top.