What is Beer?
Beer — It’s your favourite drink, but how much do you actually know about it? What is beer? Who invented beer? How is beer made? Continue reading to have all your questions about beer answered.
By The Beer Community on Jul. 30, 2019
Beer. It’s your favourite alcoholic drink and you’re always willing to try new, local, craft brews, but how much do you actually know about beer? If someone who had no idea what beer is asked you about it, would you be able to answer all their questions? Continue reading to start working out your answers…
And if you seriously think you know everything there is to know about beer then maybe you should consider becoming a cicerone.
What is beer?
“Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea.” – Wikipedia
What is beer made of?
I know the ingredients in beer… But how is beer made?
There are five steps in the brewing process — Malting, mashing, boiling, fermentation, and bottling/ageing. The point of the brewing process is to extract the sugars from grains (like barley) to make the yeast turn into alcohol and CO2.
In the first step of malting, the brewer will harvest and process a grain through heating and drying it out. Once the enzymes in the grain are isolated, they are ready for the mashing stage. During this stage, the grains go through a process called “mashing”. They are steeped in hot water to break down the grains and release their sugars. Once everything is drained, the mash that comes from this process is called wort. In the third stage, the wort is boiled while hops and other ingredients of the brewers choice and added to the boil. Once the boil is over and the wort has been cooled, strained, and filtered, it is put in a fermentation vessel with yeast. The beer will be stored while the yeast works its fermentation magic. The yeast will essentially ‘eat’ the sugar in the wort and in exchange, ‘spit out’ CO2 and alcohol. Once the fermentation is done (which depends on the style of beer), the beer can be bottled and aged for carbonation purposes. After a few weeks to a few months, the beer will be ready for distribution and consumption!
Still confused? Watch this video where the brewing process gets explained in less than 30 seconds.
Who invented beer?
It is difficult to credit the invention of beer to a particular person. It has also been hard for beer experts to know when or where beer started but a lot of people believe that the fermentation of drinks likely started with the development of cereal agriculture about 12 thousand years ago. Many anthropologists say that when hunting tribes settled into agrarian civilizations they may have also started the fermentation process and brewed beer using their crops such as wheat, rice, and barley.
How is beer categorized?
More questions about beer you might have:
Interesting in learning about the different types of beer styles?
Still feeling like you don’t know all you need to know about beer? Check out JustBeer University to become a beer know-it-all!
Are you a beer lover that’s just looking for a good laugh? Check out these posts:
What are Beer Varieties? – The Origins
David Nuttall is an instructor at the Alberta Beer Festivals’ Beer School. He has worked in almost all aspects of the liquor industry. He is the current Judging Co-ordinator for Calgary International Beerfest and completed the Beer Judge Certification Program in 2012. He is passionate about beer and beer culture. This article is the first of a fascinating series on different beer styles.
Beer Styles 201: What is a Porter?
Porters: where they come from, their appearance, flavour & aroma, palate & mouthfeel, food pairings and serving suggestions are all explained in this Beer Styles 201 article.
Beer Styles 201: What is a Amber, Red, & Dark Lager?
Amber Lagers, Red Lagers & Dark Lagers: where they come from, their appearance, flavour & aroma, palate & mouthfeel, food pairings and serving suggestions are all explained in this Beer Styles 201 article.
Beer Styles 201: What is a Berliner Weisse?
Berliner Weisse: where it comes from, it’s appearance, flavour, aroma, palate & mouthfeel, food pairings and serving selections are all explained in this Beer Styles 201 article.