The Beverage Antenna is a traveling wave antenna
The Beverage is a traveling wave (slow wave) antenna like the fast wave Rhombic, if it's not terminated it will be bi-directional, if it's terminated it will be directional and a true beverage. A BOG (Beverage on the Ground) is not a Beverage, just laying out a couple hundred feet of wire out on the ground is not a beverage antenna, and it will not be effective for many of the reasons. Laying a wire on the ground sounds very easy, but there are better solutions for receiving if that's all you're going to do.
The inventor was Harold Beverage 1921.
Most Hams don't know that a key concept with traveling-wave type antennas is that there are no standing waves on the antenna itself, which means that the current and voltage levels are the same everywhere along the antenna conductors. That type of antenna therefore has the distinct advantage of working over very wide frequency ranges. By using switches to change between antennas there is No waiting for a rotator to turn, just every direction, every band, every time, by selecting the proper antenna. The antenna wire and the ground under it together can be thought of as a "leaky" transmission line (slow wave) which absorbs energy from the radio waves. The velocity of the current waves in the antenna is less than the speed of light due to the ground. The velocity of the wavefront along the wire is also less than the speed of light due to its angle
The Beverage antenna relies on "wave tilt" for its operation. At low HF frequencies, a vertically polarized radio frequency electromagnetic wave traveling close to the surface of the earth with finite ground conductivity sustains a loss that causes the wavefront to "tilt over" at an angle. The electric field is not perpendicular to the ground but at an angle, producing an electric field component parallel to the Earth's surface. If a horizontal wire is suspended close to the Earth and approximately parallel to the wave's direction, the electric field generates an oscillating RF current wave traveling along the wire, propagating in the same direction as the wavefront. The RF currents traveling along the wire add in phase and amplitude throughout the length of the wire, producing maximum signal strength at the far end of the antenna where the receiver is connected. Laying on the ground will probably force you to add an additional preamps. Induced current and changing ground conductivities will definitely affect this antenna. These in antenna are all about signal to noise. I have had a number of 1500 foot beverages up over the years, at one time I had six 2 wire switchable antennas up. I started putting them at 3 foot high but the deer always got them. So I hung them up about 10 foot and they would droop to about 7 foot high in the between supports which I put up about every hundred feet. I drove steel T posts in the ground to about 4 foot and then put 2" pipe 10 ft long over the top of them, it makes a great support. They have to be run in straight lines, I find the shortest beverage that is effective is at least 600 feet for 80 and 1000 foot for 160, and those are elevated off the ground. Much shorter and you're probably wasting your time, if you don't have the space I would go with a loop. Sure you can hear signals on shorter beverages but they're not really true beverage if they're much shorter than a wavelength or two. Military telephone wire will definitely work. Resistance isn't really going to hurt you much on a traveling wave antenna, after all you plan on terminating them in all probability.
Don't waste your time if you can't get one or two wavelengths on your lowest band there are better Solutions, EWE and loops. You'll need a 9 to 1 balun for the beverage. Your terminating resistor needs to be a non inductive type resistor (very important). It doesn't have to have a very big value since you're not transmitting on it, how ever expect them to burn up in lightning storms where there's a ton of induced current or differential potential. You're dealing with a very long piece of wire. A standard variable resistor as you described it's not what you need it has to be non inductive, the value is not too critical somewhere between 300 and 600 ohms will work, it's not critical at all for receive.
The ground system mainly provides an RF and lightning ground. Having a very low ground-resistance is not especially important. The antenna needs a stable ground, not necessarily a low-resistance ground. If you are in an area that has large T-storms expect your 9 to 1 matching Network to be blowed apart also, so I currently use larger toroids and I haven't had any issues in the last few years. I use RG59 or RG6 cable TV coax and F Type connectors which is very cheap, and I have had runs of 500 feet or more to my main control boxes.
Baluns should have an inductive reactance that is 10 times the impedance. Using 50 ohm coax go for 500 ohms. The impedance of the Beverage wire is 500 ohms so we’d like to see the balun present 5000 ohms of reactance. With the losses at the terminating resistor end of a Beverage have somewhat less effect on signal output than losses at the feed end of the wire so you can use 5000 ohm down to 2500 ohms.
A dual-wire variant is sometimes utilized for rearward null steering or for bidirectional switching. I worked 200 countries on 160 meters and I would not have been able to do it without the beverage in antennas.