Last Updated : Sep 28,2017
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Beer is a widely accepted alcoholic beverage with an alcohol strength ranging from 3 to 6%. The base for beer is cereal grains like barley, wheat, maize, corn, rice etc. But the commonly used base for beer remains malted barley. Malted barley gives the beer its characteristic pale amber colour. Dark colour is obtained when the malts have been roasted for a longer duration. The process of making beer is known as brewing. Brewing converts the starch from the grains into sugar (wort) which is then fermented with the use of yeast into an alcoholic beverage.
The basic ingredients that go into the brewing of beer are water, starch (cereal grains), yeast and hops (bittering/ aroma).The yeast used is called Brewers yeast. Hops add flavour and give it the distinct characteristic which differentiates it from other beers. It also acts as a preservative. Hops comes in two varieties: Aromatic and Bittering.
There are two main types of beers based on the brewing process:
Ale: The beer is brewed using top fermenting brewers yeast. This yeast ferments beer quickly. They are brewed at higher temperatures. It usually takes around a month to brew but some varieties can take longer. The flavour of most ales are bitter since they are brewed with bittering hops.
Lager: The beer is brewed using bottom fermenting brewers yeast. They are brewed at a low temperature. Lagers are stored for at least three weeks before being served and thus take longer time to brew than ales.
How to select
Purchase beer from a well stocked alcohol store. There are various brands under which a variety of beers are sold. Choose your brand as per your taste preference. Always check the packaging to see "best before" dates before purchasing. If having beer in a restaurant etc, you can choose from a bottle, pint, mug etc. Whatever you choose, ensure that the beer served is chilled and at the right temperature.
· Beer is an accompaniment to food and is harmonious when ever eating out or having a party at home or a close dinner with family. It is best served chilled.
· Apart from being consumed on its own, it is also used in cooking. Since beer has a much lower boiling temperature than water, it evaporates quickly, thereby leaving only the characteristic taste of beer. Many meats can be marinated in beer and then grilled, pan fried, baked etc.
· Beer marinated meats and vegetables go very well with barbecues.
· Use beer instead of the moist ingredients in a bread recipe to make "Beer Bread".
· Use as a substitute of water or stock in soups and stews.
· Add a drizzle to give the unique zing to gravies etc.
· Add beer in fritter batters. Deep fried meat or vegetable fritters will have a taste incomparable to none.
How to store
Store beers in an upright position in a cool, dark place for ageing. Always maintain the temperature of the beer and thus it is advisable to store your beer away from sunlight and under refrigerated conditions at all times. Sunlight can aid the hopsin the beer to get stale. Never store beer for more than 6 weeks unless you are ageing it.
· Moderate consumption of beer is associated with a reduced risk of cardiac arrests or strokes.
· Brewers yeast, which is used in the fermentation of beer, is a rich source of magnesium, selenium, potassium, Vitamin B, phosphorus etc.
· Beer is fat free and cholesterol free.
· It has proven to have positive effects on elderly people. It helps to promote blood vessel dilation, sleep, and urination.
· It has a relaxing effect on the body and thus can help reduce stress and sleep better.
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