Guide to beer:
As one of the world's favourite alcoholic beverages, it’s about time we told you everything you need to know about beer. Whether you’re interested in how it’s made, how best to drink it, or what to drink it with, this guide is for you.
Where was beer invented and where did it originate from?
There is a common belief that beer originates from Germany, and whilst it’s true that many modern-day beer styles have been developed in Europe, research has shown that the first beer recipe can be backdated to around 4,000 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia.
During an archeological excavation, archeologists found an ode to Ninkasi, the patron Goddess of brewing, including a recipe for making beer using the barley from bread. Fast forward 1000 years, to 3,000 BCE, where the Babylonians are producing over 20 different types of beer, believing it to be a true gift from the Gods, and a sign of wealth. In fact, every citizen had their daily dose of beer, depending on their wealth, and some were paid for their work in beer, instead of money. A dream, right?
So, how exactly did it move from BCE, to us cracking open a cold one with a mate on a Friday night? Well, you can thank the Greeks and Romans. Brewing techniques moved their way from Iraq, to Egypt, and then to Greece, with it becoming one of the most common drinks on the outskirts of the empire. Monasteries all across Europe were producing beer in the middle ages, some monks could drink up to 5L a day! (We definitely don’t recommend trying this at home!)
What is beer made up from?
A lot of work goes into those cold beers we enjoy on a weekend, it’s all about proportions and temperature control. What doesn’t change, is the core ingredients. Let’s take a deeper look.
Malted Barley - Many grains have been experimented with, and barley definitely isn’t the only grain, but it’s certainly the most popular. The barley used in beer must be malted first, to simulate grain germination. This is what the yeast feeds on during fermentation. A great amount of heat is then applied to stop the germination, and this heat affects the appearance and flavouring of the beer.
Yeast - Single-celled budding microorganisms. Yeast consumes the sugars derived from malted grain and converts them into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. There are hundreds of different yeast strains and all are suited to making specific beer styles, however the main two are: ale yeast and lager yeast.
Hops - The flowers from the hop plant Humulus Lupulus. You can thank hops for the aroma, flavours and the balancing out of the sweetness and bitterness. As with yeast, there are many different hop varieties that contribute to various different flavours and aromas.
Water - Water isn’t just what comes after beer… It’s actually one of the key ingredients! Infact, many beers consist of up to 95% of water and it therefore has a huge effect on the final taste. Brewers look for pure distilled water and add salts and minerals to match the style.
What types of beer are there?
Including all the major beer styles and all of their sub-styles, there are believed to be over 100 different beer styles in the world!
Ale - An ale and beer are almost the same, however an ale uses an ale yeast during fermentation. It works at a higher temperature, offering fruit, nut and malted notes. Often fuller-bodied and somewhat bitter, with cloudy, darker hues.
Lager - Crisp and refreshing. Lager uses a yeast that ferments at lower temperatures, resulting in a dry, cleaner-tasting beer, with little fruitiness or spiciness. They are often stored at cooler temperatures, and have a low-medium intensity when it comes to taste.
Stout - Much darker in colour. Stouts are often carbonated with a combination of nitrogen and co2 pressure leading to a typically rich and creamy texture.
Lambic - Fermented with wild yeast or bacteria, it is often brewed in open vats to allow the natural occurring yeast in the air to ferment it. This means it takes the longest to brew, and often has a pretty sour taste. It is usually pale yellow or a deep gold in colour.
Pairing guide for beer:
Now of course there are no rules when it comes to what you can and can’t eat with your drinks, but there are definitely some pairings you should know about for your next get together!
Ale: Think gathering with friends. Ale’s tend to have an intense taste, with a perceived bitterness and citrus notes, when pairing your ale, think about rich foods that will match the intensity of flavour, think burgers, steaks and fried food.
Lager: Salads and spicy food are a top tier pairing for your lagers! The crisp, refreshing taste compliments your chicken, seafood and anything zesty like no other drink.
Stout: Known for their malty flavours and creamy, lighter notes, you can rely on chocolate puddings to bring out the drinks' keynotes! The richness of game meat also compliments stout really well.
Lambic: Now this is where we get fruity. Lambic beers pair best with foods that bring out the fruity flavours, such as cherries, strawberries and other sweet-tart fruits.
What are the top 10 best beer brands out there that Threshers Offer?There’s an extensive range of great beers on our website, but here are just a few that we know our customers love:
Why don’t you check them out and find a new favourite?!