Before we dive right into the depths of Beerworld, I think we need to get some of the terminology down. Here are some words that I will be using or that you might hear from other people, defined in my own non-scientific words.
Ale - The oldest type of beer and one of two beer categories. Ales are made using top-fermentation (aka brewed at warmer temperatures) and aged for no more than a few weeks. Typically more complex/flavourful and served at room temperature. I imagine the name stems from the ailments drinkers felt the next day.
Aroma - Strongest when first poured into the glass, the smell of the beer will reveal the type of grains or malt used. Usually beer aromas are described as nutty, sweet, grainy or malty (sounds like a family reunion). Before you sip, have a sniff!
Barley - A cereal grain that is malted and used as a key ingredient for fermentation. Also, the background of this blog. Feeling gnarly drinking barley.
Barrel - Where the beer ages. Mind yourself though, barrel sizes vary from country to country, so check it out before you start buying your beer by the barrel in a foreign land. No wonder this blog is a barrel of laughs.
Body - The consistency of the beer - full (thick) or thin. The personification of beer.
Carbonation - The fizz or tiny, little bubbles in beer. Comes naturally from yeast eating fermentable sugars or forced in by pressurized carbon dioxide. Gettin' fizzy with it.
Cider - Similar to beer, cider comes from the fermentation of apples. It can come in other flavours, such as berry or pear, and is lighter than most beers. The type of cider mentioned in this blog is not the kind to share with your kids.
Craft Beer - Beer brewed by small, traditional breweries who are still sticking to the basics. Who says tradition is dead?
Draught/draft - Beer that is served from a cask, keg or barrel. When you ask what is on tap at a bar or restaurant, you are asking what draught beers they have. Putting new meaning to draft picks.
Fermentation - The reaction of all the ingredients that makes beer alcoholic and carbonated. Sounds like a good match-maker.
Hops - This is the ingredient that makes beer bitter. It comes from a plant and is available whole, as pellets or plugs. Hops to it!
IBU - International Bitterness Unit. The higher this number, the more bitter the beer. Who said being bitter didn't score you any points?
Lager - The second type of beer. Made with bottom-fermenting, aka colder temperatures, and is aged for a few months. These are the lighter beers; simple, clean and crisp. That's why I go by The Lager Lady - I'm not that complicated... I swear.
Malt - To make a long process short, the grain is made sweeter through a bunch of steps. No need to get malticated.
Mead - A beverage from fermented honey. Sounds like the bee's knees.
Microbrewery - A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels per year. Quality over quantity.
Mouthful - How the beer feels in the mouth. Two options: thin or full. At least the description won't be a mouthful.
Pint Glass - A thing of beauty. Typically holds 16 oz. but some will hold 20 oz. What you should drink your beer from for the true experience (if only for the pleasure of saying, "A pint of _____, please") and what will display what you are drinking to everyone else in the bar. Please note, some bars/restaurants will give you a generic glass which does take away from the whole experience. From the title of this blog, I'm sure you can tell that to me a pint is how beer should be enjoyed.
Wit - What you will find in every blog post. Kidding. It is also known as White beer and is a cloudy wheat beer, spiced with coriander and orange zest. Often served with an orange, this should probably count as one of your daily servings of fruits and veggies. It's always good to have your wits about you when enjoying a pint.
Wort - Beer before it is officially ready, but it's in the process. Like me when I first wake up in the morning.
Yeast - What makes the alcohol in beer. It also makes bread rise. Getting the yeast of it?
Zymurgy - The branch of chemistry dealing with fermentation. I had to include a 'Z' word.
This is a basic introduction to some of the terminology. If you want to read more, I found these websites very helpful:
The Lager Lady