Friday is International Beer Day, and it's great timing -- what better way to start off the weekend than with a cold one? International Beer Day was started in 2007 by a California man named Jesse Avshalomov and his colleagues. They simply wanted to designate a day where people around the country -- and eventually, the world -- could celebrate the alcoholic beverage. Since then, people everywhere from Turkey to Australia have observed it.

They're not alone in loving beer, brewers and the companionship that comes with sitting at a bar drinking with friends. Humor writer Dave Barry once said that beer is "the greatest invention in the history of mankind." Author Charles Bukowski put it more elegantly, writing: "Stay with the beer. Beer is continuous blood. A continuous lover."

Here are 17 interesting facts about beer, collected from BeerAdvocate, Mental Floss and the Huffington Post:

  1. Evidence of brewing goes back about 5,000 years.
  2. The Sumerians had a goddess of beer named Ninkasi.
  3. Guinness once estimated that about 93,000 liters of beer gets lost in the beards of Englishmen each year.
  4. The study of fermentation in brewing is called zymurgy.
  5. Light can make beer go bad, or get "skunked."
  6. First American President George Washington loved beer and had his own special recipe. 
  7. The Texas State Fair is famous for serving fried beer.
  8. The oldest still-operating brewery in the United States is the Yuengling brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
  9. Beer was first packaged in a 12-ounce aluminum can in 1959.
  10. China and the U.S. are the top beer-producing countries. 
  11. Legend has it that about 0.7 percent of the world's population is drunk at any given time.
  12. The fear of having an empty beer glass is called cenosillicaphobia.
  13. The strongest beer in the world is called Snake Venom, with an alcohol by volume content of 67.5 percent.
  14. The Czech Republic drinks the most beer of any nation in the world, followed by Austria and Germany.
  15. Former President Jimmy Carter legalized home breweries.
  16. In 2004, a black bear drank 36 cans of beer at a resort in Washington and passed out.
  17. Beer is the drink of choice for 44 percent of Americans.