How it all started?
Beer is the oldest recorded recipe in the world. The ancient Egyptians first documented the brewing process on papyrus scrolls around the 5,000 B.C. mark.
All of today’s many varieties and types of beers can trace their origins back through this Beer family ancestry.
Even before this time, and as far back as 10,000 B.C., the primitive cultures of Mesopotamia are believed to have been the first known ‘brewers’ but never officially recorded anything, but did leave lying around some malted barley scraps, and bowls with a definite beer like residue. It’s thought that this residue was probably the remnants of a grain porridge which fermented naturally with yeast, effectively giving an intoxicating effect to the consumer at the time, after which he naturally would have repeated the process. Beer lovers everywhere are glad they did.
Of course, such an invention eventually made its way across the globe, from its origins across the Mediterranean to Europe where it became and is to this day, an integral part of life. The abundance of barley in northern Europe provided the necessary ingredients needed for brewers. Beer became valued for its nutritional values and was a safe alternative to drinking water, which in many instances at the time, water sources had become contaminated. This, during the Middle Ages is a time when we generally consider to be the dawn of the modern beer.
Monks started to add the many different herbs and spices to beer concoctions to balance the sweet malt flavours, and eventually hops made it into the mix. Hops, it was found, added a very pleasing and thirst-quenching bitterness, and as an added bonus, the hops also with its preservative properties extended the life of the beer.
What is Beer?
With a history stretching back millennia, the answer could get a little over complicated. But let’s simplify it.
For beer aficionados, beer lovers and beer newbies everywhere, the basic formula for beer has remained the same for centuries: beer is the fermented, alcoholic product of the careful combination of water, malt, hops, and yeast. That’s it folks – no more – no less.
There’s usually someone trying to mess with it, but inevitable it always returns to basics, and that’s because you don’t mess with the simplicity of a good recipe. Looking a little more closely, we learn that beer, is the product of starch-based yeast fermentation. Grains, most often barley, are allowed to partially germinate and are then combined with water, creating a kind of cereal mush into which the brewers then add the brewer’s yeast.
Different varieties of grains, hops or even the yeast strains used, ensure, just like wine, that beer can then sometimes assume a somewhat local feel, depending on the geographical location and surrounding environment, (local yeast strains, water content, local fruit or indeed the various hop flavors). But wherever water, malt, yeast, and hops come together in the magic that is the fermentation process, the result—which you enjoy out of a bottle or can or is BEER.
Beer colours vary greatly and can look anything from ultra-light golden to a deep, dark, rich brown, because the base of the beer is a grain mush, final colors usually tend to be classed somewhere in the brownish spectrum.
Alcohol in a beer is often recorded on the label as ABV – Alcohol by Volume.