Don’t be overwhelmed the next time you visit a bottle shop, brewpub, bar or go over to one of your friend’s houses who has an extensive collection of Belgian Trappist Ales for example.
Understand the basics of Beer here, so that you can have a more enjoyable Beer experience. This month we have a guest post from Tales from the Froth.
What is Beer?
Beer is a fermented, malt based beverage that is usually carbonated and bittered using hops.
All Beers are made up of the same base ingredients:
- Malt – Primarily Malted Barley is used. Other grains can also be used but you will always have barley as malts can be roasted differently giving you different color and flavor options. The sugars in the malt help the yeast convert it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
- Water – Beer is up to 95% water. Water is first purified or rather stripped of its minerals once passed through the RO (Reverse Osmosis) system. The brewer then adds the required minerals to match the water profile for the beer style being brewed.
- Hops – Think of hops as the “spice” of Beer. They help balance out the sweetness from the malts used with their bittering properties. Hops also have preservative qualities and help protect the beer from spoiling. Hops from different parts of the world have different flavor and aroma properties besides being able to provide bittering. A brewer can use a single type of hop or multiple types at various stages of brewing to create a unique flavor and aroma profile in the beer.
- Yeast – The magic ingredient in Beer without which you would have no alcohol. Yeast feeds on the sugar from the malt converting it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. During fermentation, yeast cells produce other flavor compounds as well – some desirable and others not. Certain yeast strains can produce fruity and spicy flavor profiles.
There are 2 broad styles from which all Beer styles originate from – Ales and Lagers. They both have to do with the general type of yeast used for both.
Brewed with top fermenting yeast at cellar temperature (7-13 degrees C), ales are fuller-bodied, with hints of fruit or spice and a pleasantly hoppy finish. Generally robust and complex with a variety of fruit and malt aromas, ales come in many varieties. They could include Bitters, Milds, Abbey Ales, Pale Ales, Nut Browns, Porters, Stouts etc.
Ales are often darker than lagers, ranging from rich gold to reddish amber. Top fermenting, and more hops in the wort gives these beers a distinctive fruitfulness, acidity and pleasantly bitter seasoning. Ales have a more assertive, individual personality than lager, though their alcoholic strength is the same.
Lager originates from the German word lagern which means ‘to store’ – it refers to the method of storing it for several months in near-freezing temperatures. Crisp and refreshing with a smooth finish from longer aging, lagers are the world’s most popular beer (this includes pilsners).
A lager, which can range from sweet to bitter and pale to black, is usually used to describe bottom-fermented brews of Dutch, German, and Czech styles. Most, however, are a pale to medium colour, have high carbonation, and a medium to high hop flavour.
How to Sample?
Keep an open mind and keep trying as many Beer styles as you can! There are literally thousands of Beers out there – Happy Sampling!
Before you start the process, make sure you have the right glassware that is clean.
Always sample from light to dark and lightest in alcohol content to the heaviest. Have a glass of water between samples, not food. Here are the parameters you are looking for:
- Appearance – Raise your glass to the light and look at your Beer (Color, Clarity, Head Retention) What does the beer look like when poured? How much head (top foam) does it have?
- Aroma (Malt/Hops) – Bring the glass to neck level and pass it under your nose from right to left and back. Then take a short sniff of your beer. What does the beer smell like? Is it sweet, smoky, toasty or nutty from the malts used– any hints of chocolate or caramel or fruity? The Hops – grassy, citrusy, herbal, piney, resin-like or floral? Are they are any fruity or spicy distinct, sharp aromas from the yeast used? Have they added anything else into the beer?
- Taste – Take a big enough sip to cover your entire palate. What flavors can you pick out? Often the aroma will give you a few clues. What flavors do you start with, what do they evolve into and think about the finish – the aftertaste.
- Mouthfeel – What sort of body does the beer have (watery/light, medium, heavy) and how much carbonation is in it – is it crispy on the palate or creamy?
- Overall – This is your opinion of the beer. Did the beer smell a lot different than it tasted? Did you like or dislike something, in particular?
Example: A Stout will be darker in color, have a chocolate/coffee like aroma, low hop character, have a similar taste, full bodied with some carbonation.
What are common beer brands?
Although its origins are in Europe, you can find beer produced and consumed all around the world. From New York to Singapore you can enjoy beer-based drinks from a variety of brands.
Some of the most common beers found in Singapore are the following:
Where can I find the best-priced beer in Singapore?
Paneco.com has an amazing selection of spirits, wine and most importantly, beer. You can find premium beers like Belgian style ales as well wheat beers like Paulaner Hefe-Weisen.
Best prices in Singapore for online beer
If you’re in Singapore and looking to shop for beer online, used Paneco.com to find a wide assortment of beer and other spirits delivered to your doorstep with no hidden fees. Top-shelf alcohol straight to your house, with minimal hassle and absolutely nothing coming between you and the brands you love.
Thanks to the good folks at Paneco.com for allowing me to be a guest blogger. For more information on all things Beer, please visit my Beer Blog, Tales Of Froth – www.talesoffroth.com
What is International Beer Day?
International Beer Day (IBD) is a global celebration of beer, taking place in pubs, breweries, and backyards all over the world. It’s a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to our brewers and bartenders and rejoice in the greatness of beer!
The purpose of IBD is threefold:
- To gather with friends and enjoy the deliciousness that is beer.
- To celebrate the dedicated men and women who brew and serve our beer.
- To bring the world together by celebrating the beers of all nations and cultures on this one remarkable day.
- International Beer Day takes place annually on the first Friday in August
- First celebrated in August 2008
- August was chosen for its summer weather and distance from other beer celebrations
- Celebrated in over 200 cities globally