What is Beer?
What is beer?
Beer is a beverage made by combining water, barley, hops and yeast to produce an alcoholic drink with a wide range of flavors and textures. The four typical ingredients come together in different ways to make dozens of styles of beer, and in the hands of skilled brew masters these simple ingredients can be transformed into an amazing work of brewing art.
The first step in brewing is called “mashing.” Malted barley is the standard grain used to make beer, but wheat, rye, corn and other grains can be used. The malted barley is crushed and mixed with hot water in a special brewing vessel called a mash tun. This activates enzymes that convert the barley starches into sugars, which are the food for yeast during fermentation. The mixture is then boiled, cooled and yeast is added.
Yeast converts the sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide, which gives beer its distinctive flavor and texture. Yeast also releases a natural ingredient called diacetyl, which can add a butterscotch or nutty taste to the beer.
After the brew is cooled, it can be packaged. Some breweries transfer it into barrels or kegs for aging before distributing the beer. The beer is then bottled or canned to allow for carbonation. Depending on the style, it may be filtered and/or pasteurized. The resulting product is one of the world’s most popular beverages. It is a versatile, low-calorie, high-protein drink that contains many vital nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and selenium. It has been credited with reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure and is used to treat diabetes, depression and cancer.