This beer guide will give you all the information you need to know about beer. It will cover topics such as a brief history, how beer is made, the basics of beer, why beer is so popular, different types of beers and their differences, how to drink a beer properly and with good etiquette (don’t laugh), along with how to pair your favorite beers with food.
Beer is one of the most popular and widely consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. On average people drink close to 109 litres of beer a year and it is the third most popular drink in terms of pure alcohol content. There are close to 4,500 breweries worldwide, 1,455 of which are in the United States alone. The oldest brewery in operation today is Weihenstephan dating back to the 8th century.
The beer brewing industry employs over 2.2 million people worldwide and generates $250 billion in terms of revenue. The amount of breweries in Australia is growing at about the rate of 5% each year and is now over 350. We are obviously a country that loves beer and consumer approximately 2.1 million of them each year, that is 90 litres per person.
Now lets get learning about beer.
A Quick History Lesson
Beer originates from a sudsy type of beverage made from fermented barley and herbs. The earliest evidence of brewing is about 6,000 years ago in China. Beer was one of the first beverages to be improved upon with hops being used as an ingredient. The first known beer was produced in China around 3000 BC.
Beer was developed over the years and the process of brewing beer allowed for the fermentation of sugars to occur over time. The earliest known beer was produced using crushed grains. The brewers used fermentation to create alcohol or a drink that gets you drunk. Not much has really changed since the first beer was produced.
The first commercial production of beer occurred in the 15th century, initiated by a Bavarian monk. The fermentation process of beer had changed to unlock the secrets of brewing and they used hops as an ingredient, and yeast to make alcohol.
After the brewers discovered that hops could be used as an ingredient to brew beer, it became a common ingredient for brewing beer. Hops are also known for preserving beer. Beer has been around for thousands of years and has been enjoyed by people all over the world.
The modern version of beer hasn’t changed much. Beer still consists of water, malted grains, hops, and yeast, as well as other ingredients.
How is beer made
Beer is made using the process of fermentation. After the brewing stage, beer is then stored for a period of time in a process called maturation. When beer is made, grains are mashed and then pumped through the brewing apparatus. This produces a mixture of sugars. This mixture of sugar and water is called wort. During the process of fermentation, yeast is added to this wort to produce alcohol.
The amount of yeast that is added determines the amount of carbonation in the beer and also determines how alcoholic it will be. The higher quality beer has less carbonation than other cheaper beers. Beer is stored for a period of time called maturation wherein it is sealed in a container to protect it from contamination. This is usually accomplished by keeping the beer at a temperature between 5 and 37 degrees Celsius. Many beers are brewed in 24-hour breweries.
The typical ingredients of most beers are water, malt (grain), yeast and hops. A typical beer may use the following ingredients:
Malt extract – used in the brewing process to deliver a particular flavour. There are two basic types of malt extract – liquid and dried.
Yeast – a living organism that converts the sugar in malted grain into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Hops – the flowers of a female plant, added to beer to give it flavour, aroma and bitterness.
Water – Makes up the bulk of beer.
Understand the Difference between Types of Beer
The beauty of beer is that comes in so many types and styles. Which makes choosing the right beer for the right situation almost entirely up to you. So, here is a quick guideline of sorts for different types of beer.
A pale ale is a good choice for someone who is just getting into beer. It is an easy to drink, easy on the palate type of beer, and usually has a mild taste. A good pale ale will have a nice bitter, but not too strong taste.
IPA – Indian Pale Ales
IPAs are one of the most popular types of pale ale. It is very strong, and has an almost alcohol taste. A good IPA should have a bitter taste that slightly lingers in the mouth, and has an almost fruity smell. Not a suggested first beer because of its strong taste.
Porter beers are a good choice if you like a strong taste. They have a strong flavor and come in many different types, such as the dry, light or dark porters. It is usually a dark beer, but not as strong as stouts. Porters tend to have a bitter after taste, and tend to be more complex in taste.
Lagers are probably the most popular beer style. They come in many different types, and are usually clear. These beers have a very clean taste and are often very refreshing. Some of the most popular lagers in Australia include Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught and Tooheys New.
Pilsener Lagers are also another lager style. It is one of the lightest types of beers, and has a strong hop taste. They are often cloudy with a golden yellow colour to them.
Amber Ales are more bitter than blond ales, and usually has a heavier taste. They tend to have a nutty or caramel flavour, and are usually stronger than ales. A good amber ale is not as commonly found in Australia, but you can find them in some of the microbreweries around Australia.
A good stout is usually a darker beer, with a stronger taste. It is a wintery beer style that people often prefer for drinking at the end of the day. It has a very strong taste, but not as strong as porters and IPAs.
Belgian beers are a very strong style of beer. They tend to have a strong taste, and are often dryer than most other types of beer. Belgian beers are usually more complex in tastes, with many different flavours to them. Belgian beers also tend to be the same strength as American beers.
A good wheat beer is very popular in Australia. Wheat beers are almost the same as red ales, except they are brewed from a wheat mash instead of barley. The end result is a semi-dry beer, with a smooth mellow taste and no aftertaste.
Sour beers are, again, the same as red ales except for the fact that they are sour. Sour beers have a tart taste and usually come in two types – lambics and gueuzes. The sourness in these beers comes from the bacteria used during the fermentation process.
Fruit beers are a fairly new style of beer. Fruit beers are usually brewed the same way as other types, with the only difference being that fruit is added to them. They come in a variety of fruit flavours, such as raspberry, mango and orange. Fruit beers are also known by some as filtered wheat beers (because they have the same flavour) because they use wheat similar to that of a lager.
Strong ales are stronger versions of ales. They are usually sweeter and have a heavier taste. They also come in many varieties, such as marzens, old ales, strong bitters and winter warmers.
Why Beer is So Popular
If you drink beer for the first time you’re probably wondering why beer is so popular. The answer to this question is simple, beer is extremely popular simply because it combines two of the most ancient and fundamental human needs – drinking and eating. Wine is not the only beverage which can satisfy the need to eat while drinking; wine itself can play this role.
Australian’s love beer and ranks as one of the world’s biggest beer drinkers. Australians drinks approximately 500 million litres of beer every year, more than all the other English-speaking countries combined. This is pretty crazy when you consider that the population of Australia is only around 25 million.
One of the other reasons people love beer are the pubs of Australia. Anyone who has ever been in Australia’s pub knows that its a social place where people meet up with friends over a beer. Drinking beer at pubs is an institution and right of passage in Australia, and perhaps that is why people love drinking beer so much.
Australian’s love their beer and it shows, they are willing to wait in line for hours to get their hands on some of the worlds best beers. Especially in summer where we enjoy it at sports such as AFL, NRL, Cricket. Music festivals also play a huge part in Australia’s beer culture. Music and beer goes hand in hand , we have many festivals around Australia which embrace this idea, from the yearly Splendour In The Grass festivals, to the legendary Byron Bay Blues festival.
Australians also love their beer because they can drink safely at home. Unlike other countries where you have to go to a bar or club to buy beer most Australians can buy it from their local bottle shops and supermarkets.
How to Properly Drink a Beer
Drinking beer is great but drinking it properly is super important. There are a few simple rules to follow that will make your beer tasting experience more enjoyable.
Beer is best served cold . If the beer is too warm, it tastes more bitter than it should and carbonation will be lost.
Choosing the glass is a very important step in drinking beer. Different beers are best served in different types of glassware. The most common type of beer glass in Australia is a tall glass that has a narrow opening tapering to a wide bowl at the top. This kind of glass is best used for lagers, pilsner and wheat beers. Another kind of glass is the pint glass which looks like a short version of the tall glass.
Pouring your beer in a glass with a large head (mistakenly called a “frosty glass”) will help preserve the head and perception of carbonation and provide a better head-to-body ratio. The best way to pour is with a glass with a wide opening so that you will not fill it too much. The angle of the bottle should be close to horizontal so that all of the beer dispenses at once.
The best way to taste your beer, especially the first time is to smell it first and then drink it. The smell is much stronger than the taste but still a good way of checking the quality of the beer and finding out if you like it.
Lastly, remember to drink responsibly and that beer is really meant to be enjoyed with friends.
The role of alcohol in tasting beer
The amount of alcohol in a beer is super important for many reasons.
- The higher alcohol content, the more you feel the alcohol and it might blind you from tasting the rest of the beer. Therefore, it could lead to you not liking the beer because you are focused on the alcohol. Alcohol can ruin a great beer.
- The lower alcohol content, the less you feel the alcohol. You might end up getting a lot drunker than you expected, since you haven’t felt that much alcohol going down. And it might lead to people binge drinking.
- Alcohol can ruin a great beer by enhancing flavour in a bad way. The stronger flavour can make you feel sick, and it might ruin the rest of the beer.
- Alcohol also numbs the taste buds. You won’t enjoy the tastes properly.
- A beer with a very high alcohol content, like 5%, could give you an upset stomach.
How to Pair Different Types of Beer with Food
It important to know what kind of beer goes with what food. Choosing the right beer to drink with your food is so important because you want the two to complement each other. A good example is that you do not want to pair a light beer with a steak. Beer should add flavor, not detract from the flavor of your food. Therefore, it is important to choose your beer wisely when eating food.
Lagers: Lagers go well with fish, chicken, and white meats like lamb and fish.
Stouts: Stouts are enjoyed by those who enjoy desserts. They taste well with nuts, cheese, chocolate and desserts.
Wheat beer: Wheat beers go well with pork, poultry, sausages and stews.
Ales: Ales go well with red meat and game meats. It also goes well with soup and salad.
Brown Ales: These go well with medium rare steaks, sausage and pork.
Pale Ales: These are best enjoyed with beef, lamb, pork and stew.
IPAs: IPAs are good with sausages and poultry.
Porters: Porters are enjoyed by those who enjoy chocolate and roasted coffee. They also go well with stews, stewed meats and pork.
How to Store and Serve Your Beer
People who take their beer seriously know that proper storage and serving techniques are critical elements to enjoying beer. Many people simply do not bother with storing or serving their beers properly, and this is a big mistake, as it can ruin your beer experience. There are a few different things you can do to ensure that your beer is served and stored properly.
One of the most important ways to store your beer is to be sure it is in the dark. Light, especially direct sunlight, can degrade beer over time. It also makes a beer skunk, which means it becomes very bitter and unpleasant to drink. Beer will stay fresh longer if it is stored away from light in its original packaging. If you are storing your beer in a refrigerator, make sure that the temperature is not too warm or too cold. If you are storage in a refrigerator, it is important to keep the door closed at all times, so that you do not allow light to enter.
Another thing you can do to store and serve your beer is to make sure it is stored on its side. This helps to keep the carbonation in the beer. It also creates an environment where yeast does not form at the bottom of the bottle or can. This is important because when that happens, it can ruin your beer. Also, make sure that if you will be drinking your beer from a can, that you leave the tab on. Leaving the tab on keeps the air out of the can, which helps to preserve the beer.
Australian Beer Glass Size Guide
Beer drinkers around Australia funny enough deal with different sizes. Here is a handy glass size guide for you to keep in mind when you are choosing which beer glass to use and which would be the best for your drinking occasions.
Beer glass sizes vary from state to state you can check out the chart below to see which glass size fits best with the type of beer.
- Pot: This is a beer glass which can hold up to a litre of beer. The amount of mls in a pot is 285 ml.
- Pint: A pint is very common in Australia and it holds up to 0.568 litres of liquid. The amount of mls in a pint is 285 ml again.
- Schooner: This beer glass holds about 0.41 litres of beer. It is a popular size in the US as well.
Learn The language of beer – The need to know glossary
This is where all beer begins. It is the process of extracting sugars from grains such as, barley. The process includes boiling water, steeping grains and mashing the grains, filtering and rinsing them.
- Sessions Beers vs High Gravity Beer
A session beer is less strong and it is meant to be drunk for a long time. A high gravity beer on the other hand is stronger, and it is meant to be drank in smaller quantities.
Filtering is the process of removing all particles from a beer. The particles in a beer are unwanted and they are called sediment.
Foaming is when a solution becomes unstable and it starts to expand, or bubbles at higher temperatures or lower temperatures than normal.
Attenuation is another name for how much alcohol is left in your beer. You can increase attenuation by adding more yeast to the beer, and it will take longer to ferment.
A head is created when a liquid comes into contact with bubbles. The head on beer is usually small and should not interfere with your drinking experience.
20 Amazing Beer Facts
- Styles of beer go from light to dark, low to high in carb content.
- Most beers, including the popular Budweiser, are made with hops and barley.
- Everyone likes a cold beer, which is why the temperature of a beer matters.
- There are more than 12,000 kinds of beers.
- Nothing beats a good Guinness
- Beer is made from water, barley and hops.
- Beer is used as a seasoning in foods such as sauces, soups and stews.
- The main ingredients of beer are barley, hops, water and yeast.
- According to the Beer Institute, the beer industry, directly and indirectly, supports 53.7 million jobs.
- Beer is good for our health. It relieves stress and can help you sleep, among other things.
- The nutritional value of beer is low because it is only made from water, hops and barley (and maybe yeast). However, it contains B vitamins and has micronutrients like phosphorous.
- The human body cannot digest the hop acids in beer because of a stomach enzyme called “hopslim.”
- Beer is the third most popular drink in the world after water and tea.
- The first beer was brewed in 3500 B.C.
- The first recipe for beer was found in ancient Mesopotamia.
- The first brewery in the world was built in modern day Iraq over 6,000 years ago.
- Beer was first introduced to the United States in Colonial times.
- The oldest brewery in the world is only over 600 years old. It is located in Dublin, Ireland.
- Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world after water.
- Beer drinkers typically only drink one beer a day, on average.
Hopefully, after reading this ultimate beer guide you know everything you need to know about beer. In the end, it’s all about taste, so have fun trying different beers and decide what you like. Then go out and buy some! Also, have fun with all the new beer facts you learned.