We will talk about world’s oldest alcoholic drink. Yes you guessed it right, beer. Beer is most widely consumed beverage after water and tea. It is made by fermenting cereal grains like barley, wheat, maize, rice, oats etc. The main components of beer come from hops, herbs or fruits. These raw materials add flavours to the drink and act as a preservative and stabilizing agent. There is unimaginable number of beers depending upon the volume of alcohol, types of brewery and fermentation period and technique. It is evidently impossible to list all the types of beer but in a plain sight, there are three basic categorisations-
- Top fermented
- Bottom fermented
- Spontaneous fermented
Top Fermented Beers
- Ale- Ale beers are distilled and matured with added hops (humulus lupulus). Almost 70% of beer varieties come under ale type like pale ale, brown ale, blonde ale, farmhouse ale etc. These beers use gruits (mixture of herbs and spices) as the flavouring agent.
- Stout- This category of beer can be identified with their roasted flavour. The distinct comes because of the use of roasted grain in the malting process. Other than this, hops, water and yeast play a major role in the making of stout beer.
- Porter- A classic pub drink originated in 18th century London has a dark appearance. Porter beer uses brown malt and that is why they have sharp image. These beers contain warm caramel flavours, charred bitterness and delicious sweet tinges. Porters and stouts are almost same with only distinction being in the kind of malt used. Though you can find them separately in stores and online beer shops.
Bottom Fermented Beers-
- Pilsner- These beers generally carry golden colour and have a lighter drinking profile. They are usually referred to as thirst quenching and refreshing drinks. These are ideal for beginners who averse the bitter taste.
- Lager- Apart from ale the other bifurcation that carries maximum varieties of beer are lagers. Lagers are made with bottom fermenting yeast and operate in colder temperature. Lagers take longer fermenting time so that the yeast can settle at the bottom of the vessel.
- Bock- Bocks are typically stronger. They are matured in cold storages for longer period which in turn smoothens the intense flavours. Bocks generally reflect strong malt character, moderate carbonisation and a rich, smoky taste with sweet notes of caramel. There are many such beers that you can find in the catalogue of online beer shops.
Spontaneous fermented beers
- Lambic- Lambic beers are fermented without yeast. They are the most traditional forms of beers that exist today. They have a unique outline of dry and sour taste profile. You can smell its tartness ciderness from a distance. The ABV of these beers are low, somewhere between 3-5% so they are like a pro biotic drink.
- Kolsch- Kolsch beers are light and slightly fruity. These beers originated in Germany. They have a crisp taste and sparkling appearance. They have low to no bitterness. The hops that are used in kolsch work wonderfully to enhance the flavours. These additional ingredients are also used in balancing the malt.
- American sour- They are made with wild yeast and bacteria. These beers have a tart taste and they are highly acidic. The colour can range from light pitch to dark. It contains salty and earthy notes.