Beer in a Nutshell

It’s Wednesday, hump day as some would say.  A fine time to to talk about beer, not wine.  No need to rhyme.  I enjoy beer, but I don’t know how it is made.  I have friends that brew, but knowledge I did not gain.

Just fermentation and hops, right?  Who knows!  I’ll do just enough research to justify referencing my favorite Seattle-area brew, Mac & Jacks.

Background: Beer has been around for thousands of years.

Basic ingrediants: water, fermentable starch (e.g. malted barley), brewer’s yeast, flavoring (e.g. hops)

Basic process: There are a lot of great diagrams out there, and the basic steps all seem to be about the same.  However, not all of them had a cow, so here you go.

  • Milling: grinding the grain
  • Mashing: add water and stir
  • Lautering: separate the grains from the sugar water (wort), feed spent grains to your pet cow, Lucy

Fun facts:

  • In the past, beer has prevented illness when used as a substitute for drinking water because it is sterlized during the brewing process.  There is a great book called The Ghost Map that touches on it, while telling an interesting story of cholera in 1800′s London.
  • Coors Light unseated Budweiser for the No. 2 top selling beer in the U.S. in 2011.  Bud Light still reigns surpreme as No. 1.  Article here.

Who’s thirsty?

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