|'Beers' by Evil Sivan |
under a CC license
They say it's the oldest fermented beverage and it's the third most consumed drink after water and tea.
The bare basics of beer production are dead simple:
1. Germinate cereal grains and then dry them to make malt
2. Extract the sugars from the malt using warm water
3. Put aside the solids, add hops to taste and boil the liquid to increase sugar concentration, destroy the enzymes extracted, extract the bitterness from the hops and sterilize the solution
4. Let the mix cool down (and add more hops to adjust the flavour if desired)
5. Add yeast and let it ferment (for about a week up to about a month, depending on the yeast and the fermentation conditions)
6. Filter the output if desired
7. Add carbon dioxide if needed
8. Bottle the beer
9. (Chill to taste, open and enjoy)
As with many drinks, a main factor defining beer's sensory profile is water. That is despite the fact that hops' bitterness and flavour may be the most profound component in the overall profile of beer. Then, of course, there are all the flavour compounds produced during the malting process (that were then passed on the water during the extraction phase) and those produced by the yeast during the fermentation.
With such variety available beer tasting has been a fact for a while (e.g., Belgium Beer Lovers) and beer connoisseurs (and their services, e.g. Beerology) have become increasingly popular figures in the beer world.
Beer is also a major exported good; in 2011 the total beer exports reached a value of about $11.6B (source http://atlas.media.mit.edu/bji3e8):
And the corresponding map for beer imports (from the same source - http://atlas.media.mit.edu/8qp2r5):
Brazil had to introduce a beer law specifically for the 2014 World Cup (lifting a horizontal ban on the sale of beer at matches that was enforced for more than 10 years).
Ah, well, nothing is ever 100% pure, is it?
Let's all enjoy a pint then.... under the sound of the obligatory Charlie Mopps song (the lyrics are in the description space of youtube)...