Why do people like beer so much? One of the possible answers is the presence of various brewing types, each with specific organoleptic characteristics to satisfy all tastes, even the most sophisticated.
What makes everything even more magical is the presence of very few ingredients: it’s the different combination and the different treatments that make the nectar of Gambrinus so varied!
The ingredients of beer are essentially: water, cereals (mainly barley), yeast, hops and only for certain beers flavoring agents. Let’s try to understand some of the characteristics of each of them:
– Water: present between 90 and 93%, its characteristics give a special flavor to the beer, according to what is there, for example, a specific hardness and a certain concentration of mineral salts: try to taste the same type of beer but from different places like a lager produced in mountain resorts and one produced in seaside towns, you’ll taste the difference!
– Grains: the most used is barley, but let’s not forget the presence of wheat beers or also of other grains such as spelt. The difference is not only given by the variety of grain but also by the various drying times (roasting) which can give completely different characteristics to the final product.
– Yeasts: yes, precisely that! These microscopic unicellular fungi that can transform sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide are the agents that allow for this natural process without which there our beloved drink would never be formed: fermentation. Saccharomyces cerevisiae for top fermentation, Saccharomyces carlsbergensis for bottom-fermented, Brettanomyces bruxellensis for spontaneous fermentation.
– Hops: Humulus Lupulus, the climbing plant of temperate regions. It is mainly the female flowers of this plant which contain a substance that makes beer unique: lupulin, characterized by tannins and essential oils that give a bitter taste and even a longer shelf life. Depending on the area in which they grow, we can find more or less bitter hops, for example, the American ones, far more bitter than the European “cousins”.
– Flavoring agents: spices, herbs and fruits: all components used to enrich and characterize the special or seasonal beers (such as Christmas Beer). Some flavoring agents were initially used for error corrections or adjustments of the production process, until they became a feature which made the product unique in its kind.
Let’s not panic knowing about all this diversity: the end product is always very welcomed!
Peace and Beer!