What is Beer?
Beer is a drink that has brought people together in social settings for thousands of years. That is the least you need to know about it to enjoy it, but there is a lot goes into beer to make it so enjoyable.
Beer consists of four (4) basic ingredients: Water, Malted Barley, Hops, and Yeast. In addition to the four basic ingredients there are other things added to beer to give each brew a distinctive taste. Some are: other grains, such as wheat & rye; Spices such as Coriander & Clove; Non-Grain Adjuncts such as Honey, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Corn Syrup, & Brown Sugar; Non-Malt Adjuncts such as Corn and Rice; and Fruits, fruit syrups, Lambics, and Chardonnay grapes.
Olde English 800 Malt Liquor - All time favorite beer of NRSV. Many songs have been written about this wonderous libation - "Olde-E", "New 64", "22 oz. of Pain", "Olde-E, New-E", "Olde-E Fever", and "The Olde-E Fight Song". Olde English is available in 12 oz., 16 oz., 22 oz., quart size, 40 oz. and the massive 64 oz. It is rumored that there is an 80 oz. size in the works!!!
Brooklyn Brewery Many styles of great local brew available. Some include Brooklyn Pilsner, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, Brooklyner Weissbier and Brooklyn Abbey Ale. The FREE tour Saturdays 12-6 is highly recommended by the NRSV brew crew.
Guinness Good for what ales ya. Served up correctly at the NRSV favorite summertime chill spot on St. Mark's Place - Bull McCabes Pub. If you've never had Guiness, you're probably a fool.
Pilsner Urquell The world's first Pilsner, brewed and bottled in Plzen, Czech Republic. One of the world's best beers, definitive of the Pilsner style. Now readily available for mass consumption at any local bodega.
Magic Hat Pull this one outta your hat. This small regional brewery is responsible for some of the best and most hard to find beer outta Vermont. Great brews include Magic Hat #9, Blind Faith Ale, Fat Angel Ale, Heart of Darkness, etc.
Heineken Drink it by the bottle, drink it by the case, Heineken beer is fucking great! Even though Heineken is brewed and bottled in Amsterdam, Holland, it's name is derived from the Egyptian word for beer, "Henneka". The Heineken brewery in Amsterdam offers daily tours for the price of 1 American dollar. At the end of the tour, you are let into a huge beer hall where you are allowed to consume as much Heineken as possible in 1/2 hour. Not only is the beer F-R-E-S-H outta the brewery's kegs, it's also F-R-E-E. The NRSV record for consumption is 8 beers in 1/2 hour. If you're in Amsterdam and not too stoned,the tour is highly recommended. (note: in Holland, Heineken is served and sold in brown bottles, not green.)
Paulaner Bavaria's top brewer - founded by Munich's Pauline monks in 1634. If you want to try awesome, traditional German beer, any of the Paulaner products are a great start. Styles include the Paulaner Salvator ("Savior")-7.5% ABV, deep brown color, rich maltiness - strong stuff! -- Paulaner Hefe-weizen, a wheat beer -- Paulaner Premium Lager, a quintessential NRSV beer hall favorite. It is recommended that responsible beer drinkers enjoy their Paulaner beer using the proper beer glass so as to allow the distinctiveness of each style develop in your mouth.
Budweiser Budvar Never mind that piss water "Budweiser" that your fat-gutted slob of an old man drinks - this is the real deal, Bud. Brewed and bottled in the Czech Republic. You can now find this great beer in the U.S. under the name "Czechvar". It can also be found at the Marquee Club in Hamburg, Germany, where Dean from NRSV is said to have consumed the bar's entire supply and then some.
Carlsberg Official beer that is drunk by the royal family of Denmark and NRSV (when in Copenhagen). You may have sampled this beer on a drunken night (or two) when nothing else was available but rest assured it tastes a lot fresher in Scandanavia. Sold in green bottles - beer does not travel well in green bottles. The brewery offers informative and free tours highlighted by free samples.
Kirin Believe it or not, the Japanese people are quite serious about their beer. That is why NRSV loves the Japanese people. Although Godzilla destroyed most of Japan (several times), she has yet to destroy the legendary Kirin Brewrey. Kirin Lager is a light, refreshing summertime (or anytime) libation that goes good with any type of grilled fish. It is the #1 imported Japanese beer in America.
Sam Adams If you can find Sam Adams in a keg, please let him out. He's one of the fathers of our Nation - Patriot and Brewer. Legend has it that good old Sammy A. used to brew em' up and suck em' down with Dick Van Buttlett, the founding father of NRSV. Don't forget to check the born on date.
Yuengling America's oldest still operating brewery. Brewing many different styles - by far their best being the Lord Chesterfield Ale. This beer gets a bad rap for being known as the Budweiser of Pennsylvania. The fact of the matter is, if NRSV hailed from Pennsylvania, Yuengling would be the official beer of NYHC. The best thing about Yuengling besides its smooth and easy character, is the price per case. In PA, Yuengling costs less than water.
Dogfish Dogfish? What the fuck is a dogfish? I think I ate one of those one night after a long night of drinking. I was probably drinking Dogfish's Midas Touch. Midas Touch is an ale that was brewed from a centuries old recipe allegedly found in the tomb of King Midas. Drink a bottle of this, and you will feel that you slept in a tomb. Strong stuff!!
More on Malt, Hops, Yeast and Water….
Malt is barley seed that has been soaked in water until it sprouts and is then dried. It is the primary ingredient of a quality beer. After the barley has sprouted, it is mixed with hot water (this is called mashing) during brewing so that enzymes convert the starch to fermentable sugars. Malt comes in a variety of colors and tastes from very pale to deep espresso-like roasts.
Hops is a fragrant, fluffy, green, cone-shaped flower that grows on a climbing vine. Its cones contain orange-like resins whose floral and herbal aromas contribute bitterness to beer.
Water makes a big difference when it comes to brewing. Water tastes different all over the globe and so does the beer made from it. This part of the science of brewing is best left to the brewery chemists to pick apart. Suffice to say that modern science has allowed brewers to treat any water available to suit the style of beer that they’re making.
Yeast is a microscopic single-celled fungus that produces nearly all the beer brewed for commercial consumption. With this in mind, one could actually say that yeast is real powerhouse beer maker or all beer makers. It is the yeast that consumes sugars and converts them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Without it, wine would be grape juice and beer would simply be barley water. The flavor effect on the brew is usually subtle, but beers such as lambics actually use wild yeast and other microorganisms to produce beer with a very dramatic fermentation character.
The Brewing Process
Volumes have been written on this subject, and brewers and breweries around the world add their own special touches and flairs where it is warranted in order to create unique beers. This is a very brief overview of the brewing process…
Barley or a similar grain is wetted until the kernels have sprouted. They are then dried or roasted producing Barley Malt or Malted Barley. The malt is then steeped in hot water similar to how one would make tea. The product of this steeping is called wort, which is a sticky sweet juice that is rich in sugars. The wort is then poured off into a kettle and the hops are pitched into this soup to season it for a period of time. It is filtered and drained into another kettle where the Yeast is pitched in. The yeast then begins its work – called Fermentation. Fermentation is the conversion of sugars into chemicals and gas. Yeast feeds on the fermentable sugars in the wort and as a result gives off carbon dioxide and alcohol as well as other flavor chemicals such as esters and aldehides.
Again, each brewer manipulates these different stages as well as the variables to create a unique flavored beer. Fruits can be added, malt adjuncts, etc…depending on what kind flavor of beer the brewer is trying to make. For example J.W. Dundee’s Honey Brown Ale tastes much different from Brooklyn Lager, don’t they? Yes, and they are both fine beers, because the process by which they are brewed is essentially the same.
Types Of Beer and Their Styles
There are many different styles of beer, all of which fall under 2 types – Ales & Lagers.
The main factor that determines whether a beer is an Ale or Lager is the Yeast used during fermentation.
Ale Yeast – remains on top of the brew during fermentation (top fermenting). Top fermenting yeast needs warmer temperatures to do their ever important work (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit). The result of this warmer fermentation is a more complex, fruity, and usually more robust beer.
The older, by far of the 2 classes of beer is Ales. Brewed with top fermenting yeast at temperatures of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, Ales contain an abundant amount of flavor chemicals such as esters and aldehydes. This is what gives Ales their characteristic fruity and spicy aromas and tastes.
Lager Yeast – sinks to the bottom of the brew during fermentation (bottom fermenting). Bottom fermenting yeast needs cooler temperatures to do their work (40-45 degrees Fahrenheit). The colder temperatures somewhat inhibit the production of sugars found in Ales, and need more time to complete fermentation. The result of this fermentation is a cleaner, crisper beer. Lager in the German tongue means “storage”.
The following is a list of some classic types of ales:
Abbey Ale – Strong Belgian or Dutch ales brewed in the style of the Trappist monasteries, and often under license to them. A range of strengths (% alcohol) are available, designated by – enkel (single), dubble (double), tripel (triple), and sometimes quadruple or special. They are usually very rich and complex with exotic spicy fermentation character. Abbey Ales that are bottled almost always contain yeast at the bottom of the bottle – this is because the yeast continues fermenting in after the beer has been bottled.
Alt. style (ahlt) – ale traditional in Germany near the Rhine River. It is a unique top-fermented ale that is aged cold like lagers. Usually ruby brown in color, crisp and bitter.
Kolsch (kelsh) - Altbier style from Koln (Cologne) Germany. It is pale in color and delicate in taste. Some say that it has no “aftertaste” whatsoever, this, perhaps, is because it is very moderately hopped. It is similar to American cream ale.
Amber ale - Vaguely-defined American ale style, where, basically anything goes as long as its amber. Usually not to hoppy.
American ale - Can meant almost anything, but usually interpreted as a blonde or cream ale, pale to golden color, of modest strength, with or without much hop character.
Barley wine - Very strong beers, usually above 8% alcohol, often much higher. Usually amber to medium brown, often highly hopped. Some require several years in the cellar to reach perfection.
Biere du Garde - French for “laying down” beer. Traditionally ales, but lager examples exist. They are usually 6-8 percent alcohol and are pale to deep amber in color; however, not too hoppy.
Bitter - The classic, everyday drink of England. Gold to amber color, low strength but quite bitter. Should be lightly carbonated.
Brown Ale - British ale style, medium amber to deep brown. Usually a typical malt character not found in pale. Traditionally lightly hopped. Weaker version called “mild.”
Cream Ale - American style of golden ale with a delicate hop character. Often aged cold, like altbiers.
Faro (far-oh) - Dilute, sweetened Lambic variant, sometimes seasoned with spices.
Framboise - Lambic or Belgian sour brown ale to which raspberries have been added.
Gueuze (gurz-eh) - Bottled lambic, a blend of old and young. The hard-core essence of the Lambic experience.
Imperial Stout - Very strong stout once brewed for the imperial court of Czarist Russia. Very dark, high in alcohol (over 8% as high as 13), usually quite bitter.
Kriek - Lambic to which dark sour cherries have been added.
Lambic (lahm-beek) - Family of wild fermented beers made near Brussels. All are acidic, vinous, usually well carbonated.
Pale Ales - Broad family of British-styled ales including bitters and others. In Britain, it encompasses a wide range of strength, color, and bitterness. American craft brewers have taken even greater liberties with it. Should be deep gold to deep amber; with some hop aroma and often, quite a lot of bitterness.
Peche - Lambic to which peaches have been added.
Porter - Medium to blackish-brown ales originally created in London. Stronger versions called “stout porter,” hence the origin of that name. Lightly to well-hopped, usually without much hop aroma. American versions are much more assertive than English ones.
Red Ales - American style ale, originally in imitation of fictitious Irish style. Typically deep reddish-amber, but not too bitter.
Saisons: Farmhouse ale from French-speaking Western Belgium. Medium to deep golden color, usually fairly well-hopped. They are fairly strong at 5-6 percent alcohol, with special versions up to 7.5%. Sometimes seasoned with spices such as coriander. Often has exotic spicy fermentation character.
Scottish Ales - The national style of Scotland, also popular in Belgium. Available in a range of strengths from quite light to near barley wine strength. Usually a little darker, sweeter, and less hoppy that their English counterparts.
Stouts - A stronger, darker variant of porter. Usually of modest strength, fairly well-hopped. Typified by two British interpretations: dry Irish stouts such as Guinness and the sweeter London stouts such as Mackesons. American craft brewers are fond of the style, but make up their own rules with regard to bitterness, sweetness and strength.
Trappist Ales - Family of ales brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium and the Netherlands. Only six exist, although other abbey ales have been brewed in their name by secular breweries. For description, see Abbey Ales.
Weizen (yt-tsen) - Traditional wheat ale from Bavaria. Pale golden color, often served “Hefe,” with yeast, and slice of lemon. Very refreshing. Fermented with special yeast that produces a delicate clove like aroma. Very lightly hopped.
Wit bier (white beer / vit-beer) - Delicate wheat and oat beer from Northern Belgium. Named for its opalescent haze, the results of unfermented starch. Pale golden color. Seasoned with orange, coriander and sometimes other spices. Stronger, darker versions exist.
In the 15th century, Germans began fermenting beer in very cool caves to cultivate a type of yeast adapted to cool temperatures, that sank to the bottom during fermentation. At the much cooler temperatures 35-50 degrees F, bottom fermenting beers take much longer to mature, requiring an extended aging or “laagering” time. Cooler temperatures suppress the production of fruity, spicy flavors, generally producing smoother, less complicated aromas than ales.
The Following is a list of some types of Lagers:
Amber Lagers - Vaguely defined American lager style of normal strength. Usually pale to medium-amber, lightly hopped.
Bocks - A springtime beer, required by law in Germany to have moderately high alcohol content - usually lightly hopped. Originally dark, but pale versions are most common now. American interpretations are more often dark, and are not always stronger than normal beer.
Dark Lager - Normal strength lager with deep amber to medium brown color - usually accented by roasted malt character. They are typically very lightly hopped.
Doppelbock - Strong, dark and caramel flavored bock beer with two times the flavor and body of a bock.
Dortmunder (dort-moon-der) - Evenly balanced lager, the style of the city of Dortmund, Germany. They are a pale golden color and traditionally a little stronger than other German lager styles.
Dry lagers - Style of beer in which all carbohydrates have been fermented into alcohol, usually with the aid of industrial enzymes. Brewed with the intention of having no after-taste.
Fruit Beer- Any style to which fruit or fruit flavoring has been added.
Herb & Spice Beer- Any beer to which spices or herbs other than hops have been added. Christmas brews typically use cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove, and nutmeg.
Ice Beer- Beer which has been frozen to concentrate alcohol. American versions dilute beer first, and then freeze. Originally, an authentic method used to make very strong beers.
Light Lagers - Lager beer, which is for all purposes, simply diluted American Lager. Industrial enzymes sometimes used to make carbohydrates fermentable in order to lower calories. Very pale and thin - lightly hopped.
Maibock- Pale interpretation of bock style, usually more assertively hopped as well.
Malt Liquor- Stronger versions of American Lager, often with an increased proportion of rice or corn adjuncts. Malt Liquors are sometimes flavored with fruit or even menthol.
Munich Helles (hell-iss) - Golden colored lager popular in Southern Germany – normal strength, lightly hopped.
Non-Alcoholic Beer- Beer without alcohol usually removed by evaporation or other industrial methods. Typically adjunct pilsners.
Oktoberfest (marzen) - Medium-bodied and malty, literally made for a party.
Pale Lagers- Mainstream American or international lager, most often with corn or rice adjuncts.
Pilsner- Style, which originated in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Pilsner is the first pale lager. Widely interpreted around the world, usually in ways not true to the original. Should be medium to deep gold, very bitter, with the aroma of the Czech Saaz hop. German versions are paler, drier, Czech versions maltier, darker.
Rauchbier (smoked beer) (rowk-beer) - Beers made with malt, which has been smoked, traditionally with Beachwood. Authentic rauchbiers are amber-colored lagers. Other interpretations are possible, usually amber or darker.
Red Lagers- American lager style of the moment, similar to amber lager, but sometimes with a slight reddish cast.
Steam Beer- Unique American style, created in California. Originally, it was in imitation of lager, but not fermented cold. Anchor Brewing is the last surviving brewery to make the style, and owns the trademark on the Steam moniker.
How would you describe the beer you are drinking???
ELEVEN USEFUL BEER TASTE DESCRIPTIORS
Aggressive: Boldly assertive aroma and or taste
Crisp: Highly carbonated; effervescent
Complex: Multidimensional; many flavors and sensations on the palate
Estery: Fruity aromas
Fruity: Flavors reminiscent of various fruits
Hoppy: Herbal or spicy aromas and bitter flavors of hops
Malty: Grainy, caramel-like; can be sweet or dry
Roasty/toasty: Malt (roasted grain) flavors\
Diacetyl: Buttery or butterscotch aroma or flavor
Light Bodied Medium Bodied & Full bodied: Mouth feel - If compared to dairy products -such as skim milk which would be light bodied compared to whole milk which would be Medium Bodied & Heavy cream which is full bodied
Robust: Rich and full bodied
DRINK IT IN THE BOTTLE, 40, QUART, OR CUP. DRINK OLDE-E GET FUCKED UP