Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Beer
What is it about a cocktail umbrella that screams girl drink?
I’m not sure, but it doesn’t really matter because any drink that comes with one is off limits for a man anywhere pants are required, which means anywhere outside your house, or anywhere another living person is present. People wonder why the divorce rate is so high, but with husbands ordering Chi-Chis and Margaritas across our nation, is there any wonder? I mean who really wants to raise a family with a guy who thinks a Pina Colada is a good choice for an after work beverage?
Still, guys get thirsty. What then, are we to do? Beer. Beer is almost universally loved by men, is easy to find and comes ready to serve. That is why, for our first liquor feature, we are going to cover some of the basics of beer. Beer is traditionally brewed using only four ingredients – water, barley malt, hops and yeast. In the 16th century Germans were so concerned with beer quality that in 1516 they passed a law called Reinheitsgebot which set forth that only those 4 ingredients could be used to make beer. Today, most breweries stick to the same basic ingredients, although there are many breweries that add other ingredients such as fruit or even coffee and chocolate to get the flavor the brewmaster is looking for.
The Ultimate Mans Drink begins manufacture when water, barley malt and hops are boiled together to create a wort. Once the wort is complete, yeast is added and the mixture is sealed in a container to ferment. After a period of time, the mixture is bottled and shipped.
Ales vs Lagers
Beer is most easily broken down into two types – Ales and Lagers. While both types of beers share the common ingredients, there are profound differences in the yeast and manufacturing processes involved.
Ales are the oldest type of beer, with evidence of their existence going back over 6000 years into Sumaria and Egypt. Ales are brewed with a top fermenting yeast at warmer temperatures. The color range for ales varies from light to very dark, with shade being determined by the amount of roasting the barley has received. These beers are best served slightly colder than room temperature and tend to be the type of beer you can relax with, amidst conversation and friends.
Ales also encompass sub categories such as Stouts and Porters. The most famous example of an ale is Guinness Stout – probably the world’s best beer. Slightly bitter and with a rich, dark appearance, and a thick frothy head.
Lager beers are made with the same basic ingredients as Ales, but with a bottom fermenting yeast. First brewed in the 19th century, they are a relative newcomer to the beer scene. Lagers are brewed at cooler temperatures than ales, and for a longer period of time. Lighter in color, lagers include most modern North American beers and encompass the Pilsner sub category. Beers of this type are best served cold, and go great with pizza, hot wings and traditional barbeque fare such as ribs and hamburgers. Famous examples of lagers would be Heineken, Budweiser and Labatt Blue.
In your trip down the beer aisle you may see other labels such as: Ice Beer, Dry, Cold-filtered, or Malt Liquor. Most of these labels are merely sales gimmicks, designed to make you reach for their brand over another. Malt liquor is essentially beer with a higher alcohol content.
I hope this helps you to understand The Ultimate Mans Drink a little better. In the coming weeks and months we will discuss topics such as wine, whiskey and even a few cocktails. Check back often, or sign up to receive updates when new articles are published.