What is Beer?
Beer is a drink with so many flavors and textures to tantalize the taste buds. It can range from mouth-puckering sourness to nutty malty sweetness or floral and fruity hints. But at its core, all beer starts with four simple ingredients: water, grain, hop flowers and yeast.
Grain is the foundation of all beers and can include a variety of grains like barley, wheat, rice, corn, oats, or rye. The grain must be malted first, a process that simulates the seed’s germination, which releases starches that yeast eats during fermentation and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. The resulting sugar is then boiled with hops and other ingredients to produce the liquid base of all beers, called wort.
Yeast are single-cell organisms that eat the sugars in wort and excrete ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide (similar to what happens when you bake bread). There are hundreds of different strains of yeast and each has its own distinct characteristics, which can contribute to the overall flavor and aroma of the finished beer. Ale yeasts love a warm environment and can add fruity, spicy or earthy flavours while lager yeasts like a cool temperature and lend crisp, clean and complex flavours to the final product.
Water is a key ingredient in any beverage, and the water used by breweries must meet strict quality standards to ensure it is pure and safe for brewing. The brewers also control the mineral content of the water to achieve their desired results.