Beer's history precedes that of wine, and probably was discovered by accident, when some cooked grains that an early nomadic hunter-gatherer carried, came into contact with water, and fermented. Mesopotamia is thought to be the origin of brewing, when the Sumerians produced bread from barley, and dipped it in water to ferment...basically "liquid bread". There is even some thought that the words "bread" and "brew" were once the same word.
Lastly is the yeast. While this may seem like a minimal part of the beer, it will in fact affect the final product. There are three types of beer: Lager, Ale, and Lambic. Each of these is determined by the type of yeast used. Lagers use a yeast that ferments at lower temperatures. These yeast move to the bottom of the fermentation tank, and ferment from the bottom. Lagers are cleaner, rounder, less fruity, and drier than ales. Ales, on the other hand, ferment at warmer temperatures, and ferment from the top of the tank. Ales leave behind complex esters and sugars. Lambics are wild yeast beers, and are only produced in Belgium (in the Zenne Valley).
|Bacon Jam Appetizer|
So what are your favorite beers, and beer pairings? I'm sure my friends from the local home brewers club will chime in.