BEER

BEER!

                The term “beer” was not a common word until “beor”, a Celtic word applied to the malt-type beverage produced in the monasteries’ of north Gaul. A beverage derived from the process of yeast caused fermentation of a malted grain cereal, typically barley “malt” to which water and hops have been added. The earliest known recipe is inscribed on a Mesopotamian tablet. The true birthplace of beer, much like bread itself, is unknown.

                Credit however, is given to the Mesopotamians and Egyptians for rendering barley much more suitable for brewing by developing the malting process; a process that converts the starches into fermentable sugars. The Greeks brewed beer as well, but with un-malted  grains until learning of the malting process from the Egyptians. Although no firm evidence has been found that brewing beer existed as far north as Britain until Roman occupation, German and Celtic tribes did brew mead. Similar in the brewing process, the main ingredients in mead are corn and honey. It’s believed Gallic monks first used hops, a preservative that gave the beer its aromatic quality.

                The process of brewing beer isn’t difficult. Mastering it though is a whole different story. The near millennia old process of brewing involves four simple steps. 1) Mashing.  A process involving the infusion of malt, water and grains at temperatures that promote the conversion of the grain starches into sugars. 2) Boiling. The “wort” that is derived from the first step, must be boiled and hops added. 3) Fermentation. Adding yeast to the “wort” results in the production of alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. 4) Aging. Proteins’ settle out of the beer or are “digested” by enzymes. This process can last 2 weeks to as much as 24 weeks. When sugar is added at the bottling process stage the end result is carbonation.

                In today’s world we are lucky enough to live in a beer drinker’s paradise. Brewing has become an art again. With more micro-brews than one can keep up with and home brewing at your finger tips you can customize beer to your preference. The equipment is affordable and your local brew shop can answer any question the novice may have. Cheers!~