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What is Beer?

A carbonated alcoholic beverage made from various combinations of cereal grains that undergoes several steps of treatment and fermentation, producing an alcoholic drink ranging in color from lightly golden to dark amber to black. The four typical main ingredients are water, malt (crushed germinated barley), hops, and yeast. In the hands of a skilled brewer these simple ingredients can be transformed into hundreds of different beer styles and thousands of unique beers.

Beer is the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage. Beer brewing dates back to 6000 bce, with evidence of beer production found on Sumerian tablets and reliefs on Egyptian tombs. Today, there are tens of thousands of breweries and hundreds of unique beer brands.

Craft beer is brewed by independent breweries and made with traditional ingredients such as malted barley, hops, and water in small batches with careful attention to detail, resulting in higher quality and a wide variety of flavor profiles.

The brewing process begins with milling the grains such as malted barley, wheat, rye, oats, or corn into smaller pieces that can be more easily dissolved in water. The crushed grains are then mixed with hot water in a mash tun to activate the enzymes that break down the grain starches into sugars for yeast to consume and ferment into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Yeast converts the sugars from the malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide by a series of chemical reactions in a vessel called the wort. Once the alcohol has reached the desired level, the wort is transferred to a storage tank where it is chilled to near freezing temperatures, which slows the fermentation. It is then kegged, canned, or bottle-conditioned for a period of time where it can be stored until it is ready to be enjoyed.

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