Beer Basics 101


Beer is awesome! Now that we've established that, what exactly is it about God’s nectar that gives it its awesomeness?

If you’ve ever caught the all-too-familiar line “I’m not sure what I like, but I know when I taste it” coming out of your beerhole, then allow us to pull you from the darkness and into the golden-ambery light and get you started down the path of beerlightenment.

There’s nothing more we love than talking about the good stuff, so come on down and visit us, or jump onto our Twitter or Facebook. We can help you track down a new favourite, or an old one that’s become hard to find.

For now though, let's break it down...


If beer had a soul (who are we kidding, of course it does!), it would be malt. Whether from barley, wheat or rye, this magnificent grain contributes the flavour, body, aroma and colour. During the brew, starches from the grain are converted into fermentable sugars - this provides the food for the yeast. Roasted malt imparts coffee, chocolate, toffee and nut characters.


Gorgeous cone flowers that can grow 20 feet from the ground and each variety with their own name and characters. If you hear someone talking about Amarillo, Calypso, Citra, Admiral, Goldings, Galaxy, Topaz or Green Bullet, chances are they have a face full of beer! Hops, like malt, add flavour and aroma, but also bitterness. And, whether fresh or dry, they also act as a natural preservative. Next time you're sipping a brew, if you pick up fruity, earthy, floral or citrus characters, you are identifying the hops.


This this is where the magic occurs. When the yeast is added, this super micro organism devours the sugars and turns it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. We are finally producing beer!!! Some yeast cells rise to the top, where ales come from. Some yeast sinks to the bottom, this is used for producing lagers. Some special Belgian beers, Lambics and Gueze, rely on airborne yeasts.


Water is reasonably important in the brewing process. The region where the water is from can dictate the amount of minerals in the composition which can then highlight different characters in beer. Water quality cannot be overstated. Lagers of Pilsen in the Czech Republic or Stouts in Dublin are examples of the connection between water quality and region.


International Bitterness Units is the measure of hops contribution to the bitterness of beer. It can range from low, Light Lagers (10 to 20 IBU), to very high, Imperial India Pale Ales (80 to 100).


Alcohol by Volume...the measure of alcohol in beer.
Beer can range from 3% to 20% in alcohol. 



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