5 Crazy Things You Don’t Know About Beer
In fact, in 1944, Winston Churchill told his Secretary of War “Make sure that beer – four pints a week – goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop.”
Yes, it can be a rewarding thing…
- I mean if you are going through a break up, have a beer.
- Had a tough day at work? Have a beer.
- Want to celebrate something? Have a beer.
But before you do so, let me tell you 5 things you do not know about beer.
1. Beer is made with barley, hops, yeast and water.
All these ingredients are readily available to most people in the US and to people across the world. Those should be the only ingredients going into your beer, but if you are drinking commercial beer then you may want to look into what you’re drinking.
Some commercial brewers add ingredients like sugar, rice, and other stuff to give beer a boost in ABV % the cheap way. Craft brewers use nothing but the sugar that comes from malted barley which actually adds flavor unlike regular corn sugar.
To preserve this quality the Bavarian Purity Law (Rheinheitsgebot) of 1516 dictated that the only ingredients for beer were water, barley and hops (later amended to include yeast.)
2. Domestic beer during happy hour is not really domestic beer.
By definition, domestic means that it comes from home. In the case of beer, it should be home country. However, if you were to go to happy hour and ask for a beer which is brewed by an American brewery such as Fat Tire from New Belgium brewery in Colorado, then you’d be told “I’m sorry that is not domestic, try something by Anheuser-Busch InBev headquartered in Leuven, Belgium or perhaps SABMiller headquartered in London, England.”
3. Beer does have health benefits.
Oh, and I am about to piss off a bunch of physicians, but The New England Journal of Medicine stated that light to moderate beer drinkers could decrease their chances of suffering a stroke by 20% (November 1999).
However, that is for beers made with barley and wheat which have a variety of vitamins that survive the fermentation and filtering process. Sugar and rice? not so much.
The yeast also has vitamin value, but it does not survive the filtering process of most commercial brewers. However some craft brewers don’t filter their beers.
4. Beer styles have a story behind it.
Ever heard someone order an IPA, a Porter or perhaps a Scotch Ale, and wondered what the heck they were or tasted like?
Simple, IPA stands for India Pale Ale. It was a regular Pale Ale that was heavily hopped because hops are a natural preservative which was used to help beer survive during the long sea voyages when being exported to India and other countries. What does it taste like? A heavily hopped ale.
Scotch ales were the opposite. Hops had a hard time growing in Scotland and were too expensive to import so brewers opted for less hops in their beer. What does it taste like? A not so hopped ale.
Porters became famous because physical laborers in London, such as porters preferred that beer style over others. It was an ale made with caramel, chocolate and hints of roasted malted barley. Which leads me to the last point…
5. Malted barley can be given different flavors by heating
Heating or roasting malted barley will caramelize the sugars and turn the flavor of the sugar into caramel, chocolate, roasted and other flavors. This is how different ales get their flavors.
Amber ales or red ales, use malted barley with caramel flavor which turns the beer reddish and gives it a caramel like flavor.
Brown ales are made with chocolate flavored malts which gives the beer a brown-like color and similarly many styles will be a combination of these different types of malts known as “specialty malts” in the brewer’s world.
If you were to learn how to brew beer, you would be combining these malts just like you would with cooking. Does caramel go good with chocolate, or better with a toasty and bready malt?
Anything that I missed?
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