Beer, it seems is on the rise. In fact, there are over 1,700 breweries here in the UK, the most breweries since World War II. This means that our shores are practically brimming with a variety of lager, ales, stouts and beers, not that we are complaining.The trouble with so many great beers is that there are so many to sample, and how will you know whether or not a drink is a great drink or not?
This is where we have some great news for you. Believe it or not, it isn’t that hard to become a bit of a beer pro, in fact, to help you to seem like an expert in ales or a connoisseur of lager, we have put together the easy ways you can paint yourself as a beer loving professional!
The first step to your beer based education is learning about how it is made. All beer that is produced is around the 95% water mark. The key ingredients of hops, water, yeast and malt is then added to the water to create the beer that we all know and love.
The type of malt that is used to make the beer will be what gives it the colour you see in the glass. Pale malt is the most popular used malt in the UK, this means that the barley used to make it is only lighted roasted. There are other malts available, with Vienna malt an expensive option, roasted malt which gives a heavier, chocolate flavouring and crystal malt which is used in darker coloured ales.
Your nose is more sensitive than your taste bud’s when determining the flavour of a beer. However, it isn’t a great idea to go sticking your nose in a full to the brim pint. Instead, take a few good sized gulps from the glass (we are sure this won’t be a huge problem for you) and then give it a good smell. Taking in all the aroma and flavour of that delicious beer!
To some people beer just tastes like beer, but for the professional, there are some definite differences with the flavours that you get. This is in large due to the hops that are used during the beer making process.
Some beers are made with wheat rather than malt which has a lemonier taste, lagers use yeast to ferment the liquid, which comes in a variety of different flavours even including bubblegum.
When we think about matching a drink to a dish, the majority of us will think about wine rather than beer, but your pint can be perfectly matched to some particular foods, just like good old fashioned grape juice.
Golden Ales work brilliantly with fish, and if you are a cheese fan then you may find that some of the stronger golden ales work well with brie and camembert. Bitters have the perfect kinship with lamb or other red meats and when the time comes for pudding, a dark beer is going to be the ideal finishing touch!
So, now you know the secrets to appearing as a beer pro to your family and friends. Why not grab your favourite tipple and get sampling? You never know what you might discover by taking your time to really appreciate a good pint! Check out our Craft Beers page to sample some for yourself.