Beer has a very long history dating back till 10.000 BC. But it was not the alcohol that mattered but the nutrient value of dissolved grains that made it a healthy food – liquid bread so to say. As mentioned in the Post about Grasses and Grains, beer is one of the first beverages with the usage of biotechnology. Grains contain starch and that has to be converted into fermentable sugars by amylases. Chewing on the grains and spitting into a vat is still done nowadays in Africa or South America by natives.
I won’t tell too much about the beerbrewing process or the Reinheitsgebot. If you are inquiring you can read books or find the whole history an the Internet, watch videos on youtube and so on. There are very interesting stories about Porter and how it flooded the streets of London and IPA which was used for shipping from Great Britain to India in the 1900 Century or the Brewing History of German Cities with it’s big houses with high roofs for the storage of grain/malt and big doors for the big brewing coppers where nearly everyone was his own master brewer. But I can reveal a secret: beerbrewing and meadmaking was always in the hands of women because it belonged to housework and cooking and good beer was the embodiment of her womanly skills.
To make it short beer is produced by yeast, water, different grains (malt) and hop. There are different styles from light to heavy, mild to bitter and pale to dark. So much infos to fill beer blogs and to blow this posting. If you are more interested and want to try it yourself, I recommend The Apartment Homebrewer. It’s another blog writing about Brewing and offers a whole list of further informations and links about this topic. But the advanced homebrewer will pobably find more infos on the various forum’s about brewing and chatting with others.
Beer was always the drink of the working class. It was massively consumed while the pyramids were built and outlasted the centuries. In the middle ages beer brewing was in the hands of monks. Later nearly every household in germany produced it’s own beer. Then big companies took over and produced interchangeable beers without USP – without uniqueness and flat taste.
Today small batch breweries and small businesses arise and produce craft beers. Handmade and in small quantities with very unique taste and flavour. They play with different malts and hops and create new beer styles. Which inspire companies to produce more unique beers too and some are bringing back old recipes from 1800-1900 and brew them again. Like the Wiener Lager from the Schwechater Brauerei.
Beerbrewing is a very technical but also a very creative process. Nearly everything can be different in the outcome although you are using the same ingredients. It’s like cooking. Water, Malt and hops is like milk, flour and eggs. Roasting, the kind of grains or the mixture, the length of the mashing process, the temperature of the cooking process, the hops, the water, the yeast strain and so on. Everything has an impact on the finished beer, from colour to residual sugar to bitterness and taste.
More Beer? Ok!
Beer on tour with Bierpapst Conrad Seidl from Vienna: find out more, he writes for the STANDARD and about politics
A good blog: Mareike from Munich writes about Craftbeer: feiner Hopfen