Beer, Cider & Hard Seltzers
Beer is one of the oldest, and greatest beverages known to man. For centuries, humans have been downing mugs of frothy mead. Year ago, beer was even used as a form of currency. It’s not just a beverage — it’s a pastime.
Many early cultures grew grains and fruit, which were fermented and used to make beer. One of the most popular ingredients was barley, which has been used in beer since 3500 BC. But it wasn’t until the Europeans added hops to the mix in 822 that beer started to resemble its modern form.
In the 1500s the Purity Law was enacted. From then on, the only ingredients allowed in beer were water, hops and barley-malt. During the Industrial Revolution, beer became commercialized and brewed on a large scale. Today, more than 133 billion liters of beer are sold per year on a global scale.How Is Beer Made?
Brewing is a complicated process. It starts by converting a malted barley into a sugary liquid called wort. The wort is mixed with hot water in a process known as mashing.
Malt is then added to the and processed in a mash turn for 1-2 hours. During this process, the starches are converted to sugars, and the wort is removed, leaving a sweetened pile of grains.
Next, the grains are washed in a process called sparging (I swear I’m not just making up words). After waking the grains, they’re separated from the wort in a process called lautering (seriously guys?).
Next, the wort is separated into a kettle and boiled. During the boxing process, hops are added as a source of bitterness to counteract the sweet, sugary flavors.
After the boiling process, the wort is cooled, it’s sent to the fermenter where the yeast is added. Over several weeks, the wort slowly turns into sweet, delicious beer. The length of the fermenting process varies depending on the type of yeast and the strength of the beer.
Like your Mama always said; good things come to those who wait.What Are the Different Types of Beer ?
Beer comes in many different styles. Some are light and fruity, others are dark and bold. Some are smooth as silk and others are grainy and rich. The best part? They’re all delicious.Ale
Brewed using a warm fermentation method, which gives it a full-bodied fruity flavor. Originally, ale was brewed using gruit instead of hops, but that all changed when the Purity Law went into effect.There are many different types of Ale, like the following:
- Brown Ale: Lightly hopped. Mildly flavored. Earthy, nutty flavors.
- Pale Ale: Bitter. Lighter color and body than traditional ale.
- India Pale Ale: Extra hoppy. Strong, bold flavors. King of the homebrews.
Your first beer was probably a lager. It’s an easy-drinking, flavorful beer brewed in low temperatures. They range from pale to golden brown to dark brown in color.Pale Lagers: Mildly flavored. Best served cold. Well balanced — not to sweet, not too bitter, not too hoppy. Most Light Beers are pale lagers..
Dark Lagers: Less common. Higher alcohol by volume. Bolder, richer flavors. Range from amber to dark brown in color.
Pilsner: Originally called a blond lager. Somewhere between pale and dark lagers. Think Heineken, Beck’s, and Stella Artois.
Porter / Stout
Stouts are are dark, rich, and handsome. They’re made by roasting malt and barley hops to darken them and enhance their flavors. They also tend to have higher alcohol by volume. Originally called Stout Porters, they earned their name by being the strongest batch of Porter beers in the 1700s. Technically, there are no differences between Stouts and Porters. But there are a few different types of Stout beers.Milk Stout:Made using milk, these stouts are sugary sweet. Once believed to have natural healing powers. Still up for debate.
Dry Stout: The most popular stout style. A direct response to the sweet milk stouts being made in England. Contains small amounts of unmalted roasted barley. Dry and bitter to the taste. Most famous stout is the Guinness Draught.
Porter: Flavored with roast malted barley instead of unlimited barley like a stout. Tend to be less bitter than stouts, with slightly less ABV.
Flavored Stout: In addition to milk, some stouts are flavored with chocolate or oatmeal.
How Do You Drink Beer?
The best beer comes directly from the source. Bottling or canning requires all of the yeast to be filtered out, which changes the taste. Occasionally, some preservatives are added as well.
The purest form of beer is draught beer, meaning it’s stored in a pressurized keg. Most bars serve select beers on draught, and some retailers even let you purchase your own keg for parties and events.
Storing beer in a pressurized keg causes lots of tiny bubbles to form, which creates a dense head (excess foam), and an almost creamy texture.
When pouring a beer, either from a tap, a bottle, or a can, it’s recommended that you poor slowly to avoid the any excess yeast.
While few can deny the refreshing taste of a ice-cold beer on a hot day, some beer enthusiasts prefer their beer at room temperature, as it brings out its range of flavors. Typically, the rule of thumb is the lighter the beer, the colder the serving temperature.
- Light beers like pale lagers are best served at 45˚.
- Dark lagers are best served a little warmer at 48˚
- Ale and Stout beers start to show the depth of their flavor around 55˚
- Strong dark ales are best served at 60˚ or even room temperature.
Wow. That’s a big question. It’s tough to say, but the best beer is usually a beer shared with friends, so start there.
Maybe you’re a classic, like a Budweiser or a Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Maybe you’re more of a light beer drinker like Bud Light, Miller Lite, or Coors Light.
Maybe you prefer something a little more cultured, like Stella Artois, Corona Extra, or Guinness.
Perhaps you’re more of a craft beer kind of person, like Lagunitas IPA, Goose Island IPA, or Stone Delicious IPA.
You’ll never truly know until you try them all. The world is your oyster, my friend. And beer are the pearls.