Learn about beer

Anyone that claims that all beers are the same, or they try to narrow it down by labeling IPAs as being the same never understood how many variables go into creating each type of beer. It is true that there are a lot of similarities and in it’s most basic description there are really only two types of beer… ales and lagers. The differentiation comes from the type of yeast used.

Ale yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) produce esters in levels that give fruity flavors to finished beers. Some ale yeast also possess phenolic flavors such as clove, nutmeg, and white pepper.

Lager yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) generally do not produce esters or phenols in any quantity that will impact the flavor of the beer. Therefore, the malt and hops become that much more crucial in influencing the flavor if the beer.

As I started learning more and more about different varieties of beer I found that to produce the flavors that we love so much in each variety of beer has a multitude of influences. There are the obvious aspects like malt and hops but things as simple as the minerals in the water are taken into consideration and are even essential when developing the perfect brew. What can be even more surprising is that there is a very systematic and delicate balancing act that goes on when adding different ingredients. Slight changes to the ingredients can have significant impacts on the flavor, aroma, color, and other qualitative aspects of the beer.

So, the next time you are sitting and enjoying that cold beverage that injects a peaceful moment into a potentially bad day. Spend a little extra time to take notice and appreciate what went into giving that beer the qualities it needed to make it worth drinking instead.