Ah, beer. First discovered back in 9,500 BC, it is one of the oldest prepared drinks in history. Fast forward to thousands of years, and this blessed brew remains to be well-loved by many people today. Ironically, most beer drinkers think that their favourite drink doesn’t go beyond that bottle of Bud or that pint of ale.
In actuality, there are now about 400 types of beer, with more flavours added by the day. We’re living in the age of beer renaissance—amid lagers, stouts, Belgians, and the other 397 types of “fancy beer.” Whether you enjoy tasting different brews or are loyal to your favourite bottle, expanding your beer knowledge would do wonders for your social skills.
Here are some interesting little-known facts about this bubbly drink:
1. The main ingredients needed to make beer are the same in bread-making.
Grain, hops, yeast, and water are the four main ingredients, and each one plays a huge part in crafting that perfect bottle. Grains provide the sugar to kickstart the fermentation process. Hops act as a preservative and give the beer its bitter taste to balance out its sweetness. Yeast is the hero of all, as it’s the one ingredient that makes beer an alcoholic beverage by converting sugar into alcohol. But without water—and a good 95 per cent of beer is made of H2O—all this is nothing. Water acts as a background for all these chemical reactions.
Did you know that this process is so time-tested that it’s even been legislated? In Germany, there’s a set of regulations called Reinheitsgebot. These “purity laws” ensure that the German beer retains its authenticity by using the same ingredients used back in the 1500s.
2. There may be hundreds of beer varieties, but each one falls under two main camps: Ales and Lagers.
Ales and lagers are two categories of beer. Their difference lies in the kind of yeast used during fermentation. Ale is top-fermented, which means the yeast is applied to the top of the wort. It also needs a warmer temperature. This process produces a brighter, bolder flavour. Common examples of ale are the crowd-pleasers Hoegaarden and the Stout Guinness.
Lagers, on the other hand, are known for their lighter flavours. This type of beer is bottom-fermented at a cooler temperature. The old-time favourite Budweiser is a lager.
3. Other ingredients are added to either change a beer’s flavour or cut costs.
Most beers contain other fermentable ingredients, such as wheat, oats, corn, rice, and sugar. These are called “adjuncts” or additives to change the flavour or body of the brew. Adjuncts are also used to cut corners. Many cheap beers add a lot of corn and rice because the malted barley is more expensive. Brewing companies use adjuncts to offer beers that are lighter and more affordable. While some beer connoisseurs may balk at lighter flavoured brews, it merely boils down to one’s preference.
4. Less colour does not mean less alcohol.
Contrary to popular belief, lighter-coloured beers do not contain less alcohol. In the same way, darker beers don’t necessarily have higher alcohol content. For instance, the golden pale ale Duvel has an 8.5 per cent ABV. This amount is double than the jet-black stout Guinness Draught, which clocks in at only 4 per cent.
5. The bartender is not ripping you off by serving foamy beer.
Another misconception about drinking beer is that getting a foamy pint means you’ve been ripped off. Some types of beer need a bit of a head to deliver their distinct aromas and textures. Having an inch to an inch-and-a-half allowance is still a “perfect pour.”
Whether you’re a serious beer-drinker or just a regular guy at the bar, it pays to know a bit of trivia. The next time you’re out for a round of drinks, whip up these fun facts and start a fun, beer-soaked conversation!
If you’re looking to go on a beer tour in Geelong, get in touch with us today to book your visit! A high-quality brewery tour operator can choose the perfect tour for you, offering quality service that you could not get elsewhere.