Cheers to Beer!
Water, barley, hops and yeast; it sounds like a pretty simple recipe. These four simple ingredients are essential in making one of the world’s most popular adult beverages, but simple variations in these four components can produce an endless variety of results.
The craft beer industry has been on the rise in North America since the early 90s, and with the creative potential of hundreds of brewers at work, an ever-growing variety of flavours have been produced. We are slowly seeing a decline in the “more hops, the better” style of brewing that in the past has enabled inexperienced brewers to hide a less than stellar beer. Instead, we’re seeing a return to some of the more traditional brewing styles — and even some ancient ones. Europe has been the birthplace of most of the traditional brewing styles, and here I highlight a few of my favourites.
A higher proportion of pale malts give this beer a light a colour. A light to moderately hopped character makes this approachable beer a popular choice. Some of the most famous examples come from the region of Burton upon Trent in England. There are also a few great tasting local versions.
A brewing style familiar with anyone born in Saskatchewan, the Pilsners of today often bear little resemblance to the traditional beers which came out of the Bohemian city of Pilsen in the 1800s. Pilsner Urquell is the most famous example, and it’s still brewed in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
There are examples of this beer which originated in both Germany and Belgium. It gets its name from the fact that there is a large proportion of wheat used in the brewing process, which produces a light coloured and mild beer. Belgian styles often include flavours of coriander and orange peel. Wheat beers seem to have hit the mainstream in North America as of late.
Guinness is an example of this brewing style that most folks are familiar with. Roasted malts give this beer a dark brown or almost black appearance. My grandmother was actually prescribed Guinness back in the day to bring her iron levels back up. I wish this was still a treatment plan practiced today! Often feared by the faint of heart, this brewing style is seeing a new popularity with micro-breweries producing more approachable versions with pleasing chocolate and coffee undertones.
Saskatchewan has a growing collection of local micro-breweries that are producing some great beers. If you would like to take some fresh beer home from your local tap house, might I recommend our uKeg line of pressurized growlers at Smith & Best – The Male Room? A double-walled construction means your beer stays cold for hours after you pull it from the refrigerator, and a built-in carbonation systems keeps your beverages bubbly for up to two weeks. Enjoy your beer responsibly.