Everything You Need to Learn About Beer
From the rich history to the temperature of beer, here is everything you have ever needed to learn about beer! So, next time you’re having a conversation with an old pal or family member about beer, you’ll be well-informed!
Prohibitionists and other conservatives have long viewed beer as the devil’s brew. However, beer itself isn’t so bad; it’s people that have given it a bad rap. When used in a controlled, social setting, beer is nothing more than a cold, refreshing break time treat. Moreover, there is evidence that beer has been around for a long time. For example, chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced as far back as about 7,000 years ago. This discovery is one of the earliest known uses of fermentation. More than that, it is also the earliest evidence of brewing to date. Furthermore, in China, residue on pottery from about 5,000 years ago shows beer was brewed using barley and other grains
Looking at the United States, prior to Prohibition, there were thousands of breweries, mostly brewing heavier beers than modern US beer drinkers are used to. Beginning in 1920, most of these breweries went out of business, although some converted to soft drinks. Bootlegged beer was often watered down to increase profits, beginning a trend. This trend is still on-going. Today, many companies heavily advertise the weaker beers to keep them popular.
Consolidation of breweries have led to the mass-production and the mass-marketing of huge quantities of light lagers. Advertising became supreme. The decades after World War II saw a huge consolidation of the American brewing industry: brewing companies would buy their rivals solely for their customers and distribution systems, shutting down their brewing operations. Average brewery output rose significantly, driven by an increase in output by the largest breweries. By 1895, the largest sixteen firms had greatly increased their productive capacity and were all brewing over 250,000 barrels annually.
Clearly, beer has always been in important element in social gatherings. It’s a staple at sport arenas, card games and dart matches. Problems can arise when beer drinkers indulge or believe they can drink away their troubles. Of course, binge drinking or drinking in excess also brews trouble.
Beer is consumed all over the world. North America, South America, Asia and Europe all have rich beer histories. Virtually anywhere a thirsty traveler stops to rest, a cold pint can easily be found. Beers around the world are imported and readily available to drinkers looking to explore new flavours and know more about beer!
Some avid beer drinkers actually rate the beers they consume, tally the scores and post their comments online to determine the world’s most popular brews. Beer drinkers in America can correspond online with their Russian counterparts and swap bottles of beer through the mail. Others drink a variety of beers to keep and collect the bottles and caps. Pubs sometimes host beer clubs, awarding plaques or personalized steins to those who have purchased and quaffed every brand of beer on the menu.
Glass or Cans?
Some beer drinkers prefer to quaff from a proper pint glass, and others downright refuse to drink from a bottle or can. Drinking from a glass or stein helps to release the aromas of the beer, so the drinker is able to appreciate more than just the taste of the brew. Pouring beer into a vessel also allows a head to form on the beer, an important element for many beer drinkers. Similar to wine and spirits, there are specific glasses available for different types of beer. Many brewers produce glassware intended for use with their own brand of beer.
The ideal beer temperature varies depending on a number of factors. More experienced beer drinkers will tell you that a warmer temperature enhances the flavour, while colder temperatures inhibit the senses of the tongue and throat. Subtle nuances are weakened, and the main flavour is downright destroyed by low temperatures. On the other hand, those who work hard and play hard expect an ice-cold beer, served in a frosty mug. Irish beer drinkers insist that a pint of Irish Guinness is best served at room temperature.
The way beer is poured has influence over the presentation of beer. The flow rate from the tap, position of the pour and the tilting of the glass all affect the outcome. How the beer is poured, determines the size and longevity of the head. Also, the turbulence of the pour affects how the carbonization is released. More heavily carbonated beers, such as German pilsners, need time to settle before they’re served. Many barkeeps will serve the beer with remaining yeast at the bottom of the glass to add extra color and flavor.
Modern Day Beer
Beer has been developed and re-imagined over and over again through the ages and because of this, there are dozens and dozens of styles that have established themselves. Over the years, we have gone from classic ale to over hundreds of different kinds of beer. So what exactly defines a beer?
Many beers are known for where they were first produced. For example, Scottish ales have come from Scotland and are strictly named after the region. Beer styles are also often named for the ingredients in the beer. Raspberry wheat beer is a great example of this as the ingredients make up the name! Furthermore, pale ale is categorized and defined by its appearance. Arguably the most important way to define a beer is the method used to brew them. Lagers and ale are the two major styles of beer and are defined by the different method of production.
Today, the brewing industry is a huge global business, consisting of several multinational companies, and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. Advances in refrigeration, international and transcontinental shipping, marketing and commerce have resulted in an international marketplace, where the consumer has hundreds of choices between various styles of local, regional, national and foreign beers.
Served warm or cold, from a bottle or glass, beer is an important part of society from Montana to Mongolia.
Don’t forget to check out our partnerships with craft beer shops!