'It' is translated by the word 'Es' thus when the sentence is starting with Das we just translate as That or This as a singular noun is same case if the sentence start with Es is only mean it. Example, Das ist ein Hund: means That or This is a dog. Sorry English is my second language, I only guess.
Bier ist ein essen (and should be consumed) ... sorry, junior student here and don't know how to say/type that last part correctly. If I could correctly translate the mistaken quote of Benjamin Franklin's "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - I feel it would apply here.
well, sometimes you use the word "dies" for "this" and "das" for "that". So "this and that" translates to "Dies und das". NOT "Das und das"! It's all about context like tedexline already said. Example: "This is my dog 'Benji' and that's Sam's Dog 'Justin'." can be translated to "Dies ist mein Hund 'Benji' und das ist Sams Hund 'Justin'." or "Das ist mein Hund 'Benji' und das ist Sams Hund 'Justin'. In written german the second solution is not so welcome (because of the repetition of 'das'), but accepted in spoken german as you normally stand next to the person you are talking to and pointing your finger on the dog (first 'Benji' second 'Justin') in this example. Children tend to use the second solution, too.
FYI, the difference between "das" and "dass" is that:
"das" points at stuff
"dass" connects sentences
DE: "Ich mag das Kleid"
EN: "I like that dress"
DE: "Es ist klar, dass Männer nicht fliegen können."
EN: "It is clear, that men cannot fly"
DE: "Sie sagte, dass das Kleid nicht passt."
EN: "She said that that dress doesn't fit."
Hope this helps!
At a beginning level (nominative), think of all 3 words as 'the':
the dog - der Hund (der = masculine)
the child - das Kind (das = neutral / neuter)
the cat - die Katze (die = feminine)
the dogs, the children, the cats - die Hunde, die Kinder, die Katzen (die also plural)
A parallel to this is 'a' or 'an':
a dog - ein Hund
a child - ein Kind
a cat - eine Katze
As you continue learning, you'll start to come across variations on these words in the context in which they are used:
ex: 'das' can sometimes mean 'that' as in "this or that" = "dies oder das"
Probably best to wait for the lessons to gracefully / fluently present those concepts versus a brief blurb here.