The term “sommelier” used to be autonomous with wine, but no longer! Wine sommeliers typically carry a far amount of knowledge regarding beer. The history of beer is long and today’s options and styles — endless. So today, not only do you have a fair number of wine experts leading you through the cosmos of wine, you have the Beer Sommelier who can help you understand why this tasty beverage is so, well, tasty. I am all for the wine, but for the beer too! Here’s a brief synopsis about what it takes to make beer:
The process of making a fine batch of beer is quite complex. In the most basic form, ingredients include malted grain, water, hops and yeast. To begin, the grain (before it becomes ‘malted grain’) is steeped in water so that a certain enzyme is released and turns starch (that’s already in the grain) into sugar. Next, the grains are malted, meaning that they spend some time in a hot kiln. This step determines the color of the beer. (The shorter amount of time in the kiln, the lighter the end resulting beer.) Then, the solid sugars and liquid are separated through extraction. The remaining goo is deemed wort, the solids, no longer needed for the beer. The boil is next. Hops (a type of flower) is added to the wort. Hops were originally added to beer as a preservative but the bitterness that they impart has become favorable and led to many different styles of beer. Yeast is then added and fermentation (conversion to alcohol) takes place. This process can take weeks to months and may include the addition of more hops, herbs, spices or fruits. Then, in the bottle is goes.
There is a lot more to making beer than explained above, but here are your basics.
My favorite summer beer (today): Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy: Weiss beer with Lemonade