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Beer is an alcoholic beverage made from malted grains, hops, yeast, and water. The grain is usually barley or wheat, but sometimes corn and rice are used as well. Fruit, herbs and spices may also be used for special styles.
In the distant past, the terms “beer” and “ale” meant different things. “Ale” was originally made without using hops, while “beer” did use hops. Since virtually all commercial products now use hops, the term “beer” now encompasses two broad categories: ales and lagers.