The healthy properties of beer when consumed in moderation are not well understood, according to a new report.
The drink is a rich source of vitamins, fibre, minerals and antioxidants and has a relatively low calorific value compared with many other alcoholic beverages, the study says.
The report, commissioned by The Beer Academy, which aims to help people enjoy beer sensibly, found that when drunk in moderation, beer is one of the healthiest alcoholic drinks available.
A spokeswoman said: "Beer contains vitamins which can help you to maintain a well-balanced healthy diet, fibre to keep you regular, readily absorbed antioxidants and minerals such as silicon which may help to lower your risk of osteoporosis."
A survey found that while 68% of people consider beer to be Britain's national drink, some 10% wrongly believe that beer contains fat, and 13% incorrectly believe that beer is made from chemicals rather than malted barley and hops.
The report also explores the psychological and sociability benefits of people enjoying a pint in their local pub - yet pubs are closing at a rate of 39 a week.
It argues that the pub is at the heart of every community and a place where people go to enjoy company and find out local news and information.
Pete Brown, an award-winning author, said: "Still, we persist in the myth that somehow beer is an inferior drink to foreign imports such as wine. From Government receptions through to weddings and business occasions, wine rather than beer is served.
"It has been fashionable to look down on our own national drink in favour of overseas imports. But to do that is to turn our backs on our great British success story and our own heritage, and miss out on the myriad tastes and complexities that beer can offer."