Prost! Zum Wohl! Today (28 Sept 2019) is the day where you should raise your glass of that malty golden elixir even higher. It’s National Drink Beer Day! As the Oktoberfest season comes to an end, let us take a moment or a few glasses to celebrate this popular beverage.
To most of us, beer is not just a drink but a drink that marks our transition from teenhood to adulthood. To some of us, beer is not just a drink but a drink that triumphs camaraderie over rivalry during a football match. To very few of us, beer is not just a drink but a drink that found you your other half at the end of the counter bar. So what makes beer so special in today’s society?
History of Beer
Do you know that beer is the oldest recipe in the world? The earliest mention of beer dated back to 5000 B.C and was found in ancient Egyptians writings, documenting the brewing process of beer. During that period, beers were brewed using ingredients like dates, pomegranates and indigenous herbs.
The Egyptians used beers for religious ceremonies, whereby today, drinking beer is humorously considered a religion. Eventually, beer made it to Europe and became an integral part of European society. This was evident in most part of northern Europe as the abundance of barley crops provided sufficient supply for brewers.
However, it was only until the Middle Ages that modern beer was born. Before that, brewers had been using malted barley to brew beer, but it was during the 12th century, that the use of hops as a bittering and flavouring agent was introduced. Brewers discovered that hops have a pleasant flavour of bitterness and acted as a natural preservative.
Across the English Channel, the British Isles too produced innovative beers. Beers such as pale ales, porters and stouts are indigenous to England and Ireland, and they remain as favourites among beer drinkers across the globe.
Types of Beer
There are two major categories of beer, namely ale and lager. Ales are the oldest type of beer, dating back to thousands of centuries, whereas lagers beer are relatively new (several hundred years old). The main difference between them is their fermentation process. Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for a short period, whereas lagers are cold fermented for longer periods.
Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeasts, whereby the yeasts float on top of the beer during the fermentation. Lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeasts, whereby the yeasts sink to the bottom of the beer during the fermentation.
Lager is an excellent choice for new drinkers. It has a light and little malty taste, which is a good start for you to work up your flavour ladder.
Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) consist of several styles of beer, and they are mainly characterised by the use of hops and herbal, citrus or fruity flavours. IPAs taste a little bit bitter and contain higher alcohol levels, depending on the types of hops used.
3. Pale Ale
Pale ales are usually hoppy and contain lower alcohol levels. Most pale ales, such as American amber ale and English pale ale are malty and easy to drink.
Pilsners are indigenous to the Czech Republic and Germany, and they fall under the lager category. The Czech pilsners have a dark colour with higher bitterness, while the German pilsners have a pale gold colour with a crisp flavour.
Stout is a dark beer that has a distinct flavour, depending on its origin. The English and Irish stouts have a sweet flavour and less bitter. Ireland’s Guinness brand produces some of the world’s most famous stout beer.
Like stouts, porters give off dark colour due to common ingredients such as chocolate or dark-roasted malts. Porters have a chocolatey feel, and they taste less like coffee than stouts.
7. Belgian beer
Belgian beers include pale ales, dark ales, fruity beers and sour ales. Belgian beers are generally associated with fruity, spicy and sweet flavours with high alcohol content.
8. Wheat beer
By using wheat as the main ingredient, wheat beer gives off a light colour and alcohol level. It is perfectly combined with fruit, such as a slice of lemon or orange.
9. Sour beer
Sour beer is considered a new addition to the list of beer palates. With its highly tart flavour, sour beer takes many forms, including Belgian-style Lambic beer, fruity Flanders ale and lemony Berliner Weisse beer. With the addition of fruits, sour beer tastes like a union between sweet and sour, which is the complete opposite of ale or lager.
Despite the lack of awareness on this particular holiday, it has accumulated enough attention for people to raise a glass and make a toast every September 28. In honour of this beverage, simply gather a few of your BFFs and head down to the nearest supermarket and crack open a beer for a fun-filled day.
If you are craving for some shellfish, grilled steaks or anything good with beer, you can always log on to foodpanda and discover the highly-rated restaurants or bistros nearby you.