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Choosing the Best Craft Beers

Choosing the Best Craft Beers

Craft beer uses a delicious beer formula and is a trend of making beers that actually started 7,000 years ago. The art of making beer was eventually lost as mass production came into the picture, which gave rise to the huge alcoholic beverage industry that exists today.

The practice of making beer started as far back as the time period surrounding Noah’s ark. Early civilization would ferment barley in clay pots. There is also evidence of huge communal bowls and straws that ancient Sumerians would drink beer from. There was even a god of beer that Sumerians would worship to, and they adorned it with inspirations for the oldest beer recipe.

As human civilization evolved, so did the practice of making beer. Brews were designed for expeditions done by explorers and English voyages to India. By the 15th century, artisans had developed beer and commercially sold it in pubs, and the brewing process was improved. The Industrial Revolution then marked the beginning of making beer from other types of malt. Commercially known beer is now made in mega-breweries that are actually a small percentage of the total number of breweries in the world, but produce the most beer.

Definition of Craft Beer

In many ways, craft beer making is similar to the ancient way of making beer, and still some of the steps are the same as the making of commercial beer. However, the differences between craft and commercial beer are different in terms of ingredients, quality of hops and fermentation process. Craft beer is made by breweries that are small, independent and traditional. Based on this working definition set by the Brewers’ Association, these three basic traits define a craft brewery:

Craft beer should be made by a small brewery. The brewery must not make more than 6 million barrels a year. Craft beer should also be made in the traditional way, meaning the barley should be cooked in the way that is similar to the old times. The beer should also be made by a company that is independent, which means that the company is not owned by a non-brewer or an individual who has not brewed before.

Why are these guidelines important? These are important so that breweries will remain similar in nature and the product will retain its quality and purity. Many small brewers believe that the quality of the beer was greatly compromised because of the big beer companies that use synthetic or artificial means to produce beer in a great amount. Any brewer that violates these terms will be removed from the craft beer category and will not be able to sell within the craft beer market.

How is the beer made?

The process of making beer starts with choosing the malt. When the fresh water source is identified, the barley is selected and is soaked in water. Craft brewers, unlike bigger manufacturers, can select the variety of malt and make a combination depending on the flavor that they want to achieve. The barley that is chosen will also determine the taste and color of the beer.

The barley is then crushed or milled. The core of the malt is exposed and the husks are left whole. The malt that is crushed is mixed with heat, and boiling it will dissolve the malt into sugar. The mash is then strained in a lautering vessel. The liquid is then separated from the crushed malt. The grains are sparged, or rinsed, with hot water to rinse all the sugar out. The output is a sweet solution called wort.

The wort is then collected and boiled in a kettle. Hops, or green colored flowers, are added towards the end of the boiling process. Craft brewers select the type and quantity of hops that will be added into the mix depending on the flavor that they want to produce. Aside from aroma and flavor, hops are the natural preservative of the beer.

When the solution is cool, the hops are separated from the wort and are clarified. Yeast is added as soon as the solution is cool. Yeast enables the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol as a result of fermenting sugar. Fermentation will last for 10 days and the yeast multiplies 6 times more. The type of yeast added will also define the type of beer that is being produced.

The beer is stored in cellars for 1 to 3 weeks before it is stacked in kegs or bottled to achieve clarity.

Types of craft beer

There are various types of craft beer, and these are mostly referred to as beer styles. These types are produced based on the barley that is used and the combination of the malt, as well as the hops that are used and the amount that is put in the blend. Because they only produce a small amount of beer, craft brewers are more flexible and can make as many variations and combinations as possible.

However, craft beer styles fall into a limited number of varieties. These kinds of beers are the most popular, and some manufacturers make slight alterations, but still retain the basic characteristics.

The most popular type of beer is the lager. This is the most transparent of all beers, with its faint yellow appearance. Head retention varies from one type to another. The lager has a slightly bitter taste and has a character of the sweet malt. There is no after taste and it is highly carbonated.

The pilsner has a deep gold color and is crystal clear. The taste is earthy and the hops are more pronounced. It is highly carbonated like the lager and is best with grilled fish or mussels.

The ale is the style with the most number of varieties, and looks deeper than the pilsner. Variations of the ale include, among others, India Pale Ale (IPA) and Pale Ale. These types of beer are generally golden yellow with a balanced amount of bitterness and sweetness. The hop flavor is more pronounced and the citrus tones are also evident. IPA has a hint of caramel and a higher hop concentration.

Stout is a type of really dark colored ale that has chocolate flavor and has a variable weight. The carbonation is creamy and has a silky texture. The flavors of coffee linger at the end.

What are the benefits of drinking craft beer?

Aside from the warm and comforting feeling that comes from drinking beer, there are many benefits of drinking craft beer, as long as the consumption is moderate. Excessive beer drinking is bad and can cause serious health risks including obesity and diabetes. Moderate beer consumption, on the other hand, causes lower risks of weight gain and hypertension in women.
Men who moderately drink have lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Beer is good for men who have heart bypass surgery and women who have type II diabetes. The moderate consumption of beer leads to a denser bone structure and lower arthritic risk than is found in those who do not drink.

The consumption of beer also helps lower cholesterol by raising HDL levels. Beer also improves brain activity in women and lowers the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Beer also contains Xanthohumol, which is important for colon cancer prevention.

5 Best Craft Beers

Based on consumer reviews and expert opinion, the following beers are the best craft beers. These products were rated based on the quality of taste and the level of enjoyment that the consumers experienced while using the product.

Beer Hawk Sommelier’s Craft Beer

This is a product that offers brews from different parts of the world. The experience is great for entertaining, and this product will deepen the appreciation for craft beers. The product is educational as well as used for entertaining for parties. The beers that are contained in this set come from the USA, Belgium & Italy. The beers have a wide variety and offer different flavors and aromas. Having a worldly taste for beers can be achieved by drinking this product.

The beers that are included in the set are Roosters Fort Smith Can, Williams Bros. Fraoch Bottle 500ml, Vedett Blonde Bottle 330ml, Lindeboom Bottle 500ml, Timmerman’s Kriek Bottle 330ml, Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale Bottle 330ml, BrewDog 5 A.M. Red Ale Bottle 330ml, Westmalle Dubbel Bottle 330ml, Birra del Borgo Key To Reporter Bottle 330ml, Blanche de Bruxelles Bottle 330ml, Mondo Brewing Rider Pale Bottle 330ml, Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted Bottle 330ml.

The bottles may arrive broken or missing when ordered online if the buyer doesn’t pay for additional packaging, especially with fragile shipments.

Pros

• Offers wide selection of beer
• Good for entertaining
• Great conversation starter
• Can be used by beginners to advanced beer drinkers
• Includes 12 craft beers from around the world
• Alcohol content ranges from 4 to 7 percent
• Craft beers are from England, Scotland, USA, Belgium & Italy
• Includes beer that has 330 ml and 500 volume
• Selected by beer hawk’s sommelier

Cons

• Shipment can be fragile

BrewDog Headliner Mixed Case

For the Scottish beer enthusiast, this is a set that will become most enjoyable to have. The set contains 3 bottles of the best Scottish craft beers such as the Punk Indian Pale Ale, Five AM Red Ale, Dead Pony Pale Club, and Vagabond Pale Ale, which are BrewDog’s most special and most sought after beers. The manufacturer uses hops from New Zealand and is explosive to the mouth and has a low alcohol kick.

All beer bottles have 330 ml volume and alcohol content of 3 t 9%. The Punk IPA is the most well-known because the brew tastes like fruit with a little bitterness which beer lovers admire. Punk IPA is similar to the classic brews and has a bitter finish. The Dead Pony Pale, on the other hand, has an ascending kick because its alcohol content is only 3.8%. A keg of this beer will keep the party going. The Vagabond Pale Ale has less gluten and has a 4.5% alcohol content, but gives the palate citrus and tropical fruits in a caramel mix. The 5 AM Red Ale, at 5% alcohol, is a strong, fruity flavored brew with less bitterness. This ale is sweet and has more sugar.

Pros

• Set includes 12 bottles of 330 ml of craft beer
• Contains Punk IPA, Dead Pony Pale Club, Five AM Red Ale and Vagabond Pale Ale
• Made in Scotland
• Alcohol content varies from 3.9% to 9%
• Each bottle is 9 inches long with secure bottle caps
• Contains great-tasting beer

Cons

• Cheaper if bought from a store rather than online

The Best of British Craft Beer Mixed Case

This is a selection of beers that highlights the best of Britain in one package. The selection was made by Beer Hunter’s experts to provide the widest and most flavorful beers. The set includes one bottle each of Camden Pils, Ghost Reaper, Cloudwater Session IPA, Brewdog Dead Pony, Runaway Pale Ale, Thornbridge Jaipur, Vocation Heart & Soul, Big Hug Hibernation IPA, Seven Brothers IPA, Shindigger Session, Thirst Class Kiss My Ace, Toast Pale Ale.

These beers are great for entertaining, especially when appealing to enthusiasts of British beer. The makers are followers the old ale formula and provide straightforward flavor without the fuss of artificial flavoring. The set has an average alcohol content of 5.6%, which is not overwhelming or too light.

Pros

• Contains 12 Finest Craft Beers from the UK
• Has average alcohol content of 5.6%
• Selected beers from England by Beer Hunter
• Can be a gift for special occasions
• Has Beer Hunter packaging
• Unavailable items will be replaced by equally good beer

Cons

• Irresponsible shippers can lose or break bottles

Marston’s Classic Assorted Ales

Marston’s is the biggest and oldest craft brewery in the UK. Their beers are made with all-natural ingredients and the beers in this set have a manageable alcohol content of 3% to 5.2%. The beers are all made with purified water, but the product is crisp and strong. The beers that are included are at Bank’s Bitter, Brakspear Bitter, Jennings Cumberland Ale, and Ringwood Boondoggle. All of the beers are malty and have a dominant fruity smell.

The brews are bitter and have a bold flavor with a fruity smell and hints of lemon. These brews are the same ones that are favorites in Marston’s pubs. The taste is very English and has a good following in the United Kingdom. The set contains Bank’s Bitter which has 3.8% alcohol content and is a lightly structured, east to drink beer. This ale has a deep gold color. The Wychwood Hobgoblin has a 5.2% alcohol content and earthy taste. The brew has hints of chocolate and toffee flavor. The appearance of the beer is ruby in color. The punch is slightly heavy and has a bitter aftertaste. The Ringwood Boondoggle is semi-transparent and has alcohol content at 4.2%. There is a bittersweet aftertaste.

Pros

• Contains 12 bottles of 500ml Marston’s Ales
• Includes Banks’ Biter at 3.8% and 3.4% alcohol content
• Contains Marston’s Pedigree, Jenning’s Cumberland Ale, and Ringwood Boondoggle
• Contains Wychwood Hobgoblin at 5.2% alcohol content
• All beers made in the UK
• Great flavor with Marston’s original formula

Cons

• Excessive beer drinking can lead to high cholesterol and diabetes

Beer Feast Gift Hamper

Beer is not only a comforting beverage, but can also be a great food pairing. This product set is complete with beers, cheeses, pates, and dips. It is a good entertaining set that comes with perfect food pairings. This set comes with 3 bottles of 500 ml Greene King IPA beer, sharp cheddar cheese bits and wedges, Gancedo Giant Roasted and Salted Corn, Tracklements Onion Marmalade, Patchwork Chicken Liver Pate with Orange and Garlic and Crunch Craving Chocolate Coated Peanuts.

The set is highly regarded because the flavors of the food and beer mix well and bring delight when dining and drinking. The beer flavor will come out more as flavors infuse in the palate. This is a set that brings sophistication to entertaining, and is fun for foodies and beer enthusiasts alike. However, the product caters to people who have an interest in beer and food pairings, not for long drinking sessions.

Pros

• Great entertaining piece
• Good for a small party or beer tasting
• Product set is packaged in a box
• Includes 3 bottles of 500 ml Greene King IPA beer
• Set is with sharp cheddar cheese bits and wedges
• Comes with Gancedo Giant Roasted and Salted Corn
• Includes Tracklements Onion Marmalade
• Comes with Patchwork Chicken Liver Pate with Orange and Garlic
• Has Crunch Craving Chocolate Coated Peanuts

Cons

• Not intended for hard drinking sessions

Conclusion

The appreciation for craft beer requires an intelligent palate and an informed drinker that understands the process that is involved in the art of beer making. These products are intended for entertainment as well as comfort for enthusiasts and foodies. The craft that is required for making beer is also dependent on the consumer’s taste, and should always be taken in moderation to avoid potential health risks brought about by alcoholism and depression.