on Thursday, 05 May 2011. Posted in Beer
The Brewers Association has created a definition of what a craft brewer is- small, independent and traditional.
Many craft beers are unfiltered and bottle or cask conditioned.
Beers are generally characterized as Ales or Lagers.
Ale uses top fermenting warmer fermentation yeast strains- fruitiness and esters are often part of ale’s character. An ester is a volatile flavor compound naturally created in fermentation and is often fruit, flowery or spicy.
Examples of Ales:
American Ales- includes American Double-IPA, Porter, Stout and Wheatwine
Belgian/French- included Lambic, Tripel, Witbier
English- includes Porter, Stout, Oatmeal Stout, and Winter Warmer
German Ales- includes Altbier
Lager uses bottom fermenting yeasts- colder fermentation inhibits natural production of esters and other byproducts creating a crisper tasting product.
Examples of Lagers:
American- includes malt liquor, imperial pilsner
German- includes bock and doublebock, pilsners, dortmunder
Hops are the flowering cone of a perennial vining plant. Males and females flower on separate plants and the female cones are used in the brewing process. They ward off spoilage from wild bacteria and bring balance to sweet malts. They also lend a hand in head retention, help to clear beer (acting as a natural filter) and please the palate by imparting their unique characters and flavors. Basically, hops put the “bitter in beer”. There are many different varieties of hops.
Malts and adjuncts provide the fermentable sugars that are required to make beer (and to make beer sweet).
Many beers benefit from extended aging (no not the light beers produced by the big brewers with sell by dates).
For more information, check out the wonderful website at the Beer Advocate.
Beer glasses are not just pilsners and mugs- think of flutes, snifters, goblets, pint glasses, tulip, authentic Wiezen glasses and oversized red wine type glasses. The shape of the glassware will impact head development and retention. In Europe, especially Belgium, each brand of beer will often have its own glass.
The Beer Advocate site recommends the following types of glasses:
Flute- like the champagne flute but with a shorter stem-this glass enhances and showcases carbonation- use for Dortmunder, German pilsner, Lambic fruit, American Wild Ale
Goblet or Chalice- designed to maintain head. Wide mouthed for deep sips- use for Belgian IPA, Tripel
Mug- easy to drink, holds plenty of volume- use for American Amber, American IPA, Black & Tan, English ale and lager
Pilsner- showcases color, clarity and carbonation, promotes head retention- use for American Malt liquor, Bock, Doublebock
Pint glass- easy to store and drink out of-use for American and English ales and lagers
Snifter- captures and enhances aromas- use for American Double/Imperial, American IPA, stout, lambic-fruit, wheatwine
Stange – tall and narrow like a Tom Collins glass- promotes a tighter concentration of flavors- use for Lambic, Altbier, and Bock
Tulip shaped- induces and supports large foamy heads-use for American Double, American IPA, Belgian Ale
Weizen- authentic Bavarian glass for wheat beer
Oversized Wine glass- use for American Ale, Belgian Ale
Never chill glassware- condensation occurs and dilutes the beer and alters the serving temperature.
The general rule is the higher the alcohol content, the higher the temperature and the lower the alcohol content, the lower the temperature at which the beer should be served.