Beer, the golden liquid

Beer, also known as the golden liquid, is one of the oldest beverages in the world. Some historical studies show that the first brewing process started by mistake when they were making bread between 3500-3100 BC in Mesopotamia, which is known as Iran nowadays. Beer was being drunk with a straw to filtrate pieces of bread and herbs, due to it being created as a “happy” mistake in the storage of bread during its making.

During the first examples of civilization, especially in Egypt, beer was used mostly as a currency and medicine. In the Middle Ages, it saved people’s lives, mainly because the water wasn’t safe to drink, and it was the only safe source to keep people hydrated. What we know nowadays as beer was “invented” by the Bavarians that added hoops (the main ingredient in beer today) to make beer while the previous recipe only contained water, cereal (malt) and yeast. If it wasn’t for this change, we probably would eat/drink beer from a straw up to this day and wine would probably be the most popular drink. 

For some people, regular beer that we know is not that special and, beer isn’t just an alcoholic drink. When drinking beer theres only one type of beer that comes to their mind and it’s – CRAFT BEER. Nowadays, craft beer is growing a lot in popularity and it’s easy for customers to buy it. Some of them have started to be sold in supermarkets, instead of more specialized shops, where you can find many beer styles and different breweries (companies that produce beer).

But what distinguishes a craft beer? Due to the growth of its popularity is hard to define. We can tell that it is beer made by independent breweries in small batches. A more specific description given by the Brewer’s Association is: “must come from a brewery that brews no more than 6 million barrels of beer per year, have under a quarter of the brewery owned or controlled by the alcoholic beverage industry, and has at least half of its volume in all malt beers.”. Another aspect that is very characteristic for craft beers is the different and unique label presented on the bottles, as well as the detectable flavors and aromas, that change a lot according to the beer style. You can find an example for this in Macedonian beer: SKOPSKO and ZLATEN DAB are regular beers, while Pivolabs and Old Town Brewery are craft beers.

In the beginning of craft beers history, for a stranger it looked like craft beer didn’t come from any European country as no European country was infamous for it. In the United States, when homebrewing became legal in the 70s, this fact helped and encouraged people to start making alcohol at home, even though the traditional artisanal brewing existed in Europe for centuries. 

There are more different types of beer than when it comes to wine. Is it hard to say how many types of beer exist, but most experts say that there are over 100 of them. The styles of beer are divided into two main groups: Lagers and Ales. The key difference between them is while the Lagers ferment on the bottom at cold temperatures, the Ale is the opposite, fermenting at the top in warmer temperatures. By understanding those two main categorizations of beer, we can classify other subcategories of beer. The most common types are:

  • Lagers (Mostly the Regular Beers)
    • Pilsen 
    • Bock 
    • Dunkel
    • American Lager
    • Munich Dunkel 
  • Ales
    • Pale Ales (Indian and American)
    • Porter
    • Stout
    • Barley Wine
    • Tripel

This is just the beginning of getting an assorted type of beer. You can get other types of beer, by using different types of hoops and mix them; the same goes for the malt as well (for example, they used to roast them). That’s how we can tell that producing beer is more complicated than it looks like, especially in comparison to wine.

José Rodrigues

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