Craft beers have been gaining momentum in recent years and is today one of the top alcoholic beverages puchased and consumed. Although the industry can be seen as a niche industry, craft brewers are responsible for the creation of some of the best beers out there. Craft brewing or microbrewing can trace its roots all the way back to middle age England when many ale houses brewed and served their own unique products. In the 1980's the industry began expanding rapidly worldwide into the craft brew scene we know today. Althogh at first there were only a few brewers and brews to choose from but now there is a selection available that rivals the best commercial breweries in existence.
Craft brewing is not about quantity. but rather about quality and attention to detail. Discerning brewers will use only the finest ingridients when crafting their products and often take immense pride in the exclusivety of the brew. The craft beer industry has also been responsible for creating a whole new niche of people who love tasting these unique beers. This phenomenon is very similar to the well established wine tasting routes that we see worldwide. It is now possible to embark on a craft beer tour and taste some of the best beers that brewers have to offer. Just like we see in commercial breweries, craft beers are available in many different styles such as stouts, pilseners and drafts. The style of beer being produced will determine the process that the brewer has to use in order to create his/her product. The main ingridient in craft beer is barley, also called malt. The barley grains are roasted to turn them into malt and the degree of roast determines the style of beer that will be produced. Higher temeperatures will produce stouts, while lower temperatures produces pale beers. After the malt is ready pure filtered water and yeast is added to begin the process of fermentation which ultimately ends up in beer.
As you can see from the above process, a brewer really needs to know his/her stuff if they want to produce an award winning craft beer. It takes a lot of dedication and patience to get the balance just right. When we taste craft beer, we use almost all of our senses. We observe the colour of the beer, we smell the aroma of the ingridients and we taste the final product. This means that the perfect brew will have a perfect combination of all of these elements. Lets take a closer look at how we can taste the perfect brew like an expert:
1. Pour the beer correctly
Many people underestimate the importance of pouring a beer correctly. Always drink your beer from a glass to ensure that you get the best possible tast experience. When you pour your beer, do so at a 45 degree angle, when the glass is half full adjust your angle to 90 degrees. You can continue pouring until you have about a 2 finger head on the top of the beer.
2. Look at the beer
We experience beer not only by taste, but also by sight. Take a moment to appreciate the beaty of the beer. What does it look like, is it golden brown or pitch black? Only after you have taken a moment to appreciate the looks should you taste the beer.
3. Give it a swirl
Before tasting your beer, give it a good swirl to mix all the ingridients and release the aroma. Although this step is a small one, it can significantly change the taste of your beer.
4. Take a good long sniff
This is where the magic happens, take in all the aromatic characteristics of the brew. Research has shown that up to 95% of the total experience lies in the way we perceive the aroma of the perfect brew.
5. Finally, take a sip!
Now you can take that first well deserved sip! When tasting the beer, allow it to sit in your mouth for a moment before swallowing. Different areas of our tongue experiences different tastes, it is important to give all your tastebuds a opportunity to take in the taste before you swallow.
If you are looking for the perfect craft beer to start your journey with, take a look at some of the great brews available from bringabottle.co.uk. They have brews for novices and seasoned beer lovers alike.
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