Beer is the New Black

 

by Doruk Gurunlu

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Few beverages are as closely tied to history, culture, technology, sociology and evolving human taste and trends as beer.

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made from malted cereal grains such as barley that are flavored with hops, brewed, and finally fermented by the action of yeast. Although brewers can add almost anything to beer, there are four essential building blocks- malt, water, hops and yeast.

  • MALT aka” the soul of beer”: Wine grapes have sugar ready and waiting for the yeast to metabolize but in order to create alcohol in beer, grain needs an extra step to produce fermentable sugar. The grain is allowed to partly germinate by mimicking the plants growth cycle as it gets ready to produce a new shoot or plant. Enzymes begin breaking down carbohydrates stored inside the seed, making them available to be converted into sugar so fermentation can occur. Barley is considered the best grain for brewing but corn, wheat, rice, rye and oat are also used. After malting, the grains are kilned or roasted. This process can make the beer varying shades from very pale to a medium amber to an intense black hue. Also, roasting allows the addition of flavors such as cracker, biscuit, nut, grain, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, raisin, and prune.

     

  • WATER: 85 to 95 % of beer is water thus creating the opportunity to bring flavors like chalk, flint, and sulfur to the brew. Historically, in classic European beer cities, breweries were built close to suitable supplies of good water. In the modern age, with the introduction of industrial water treatment technology, breweries can mimic the water compositions of classic brewing cities.

  • HOPS: There are hundreds of varieties of hops and just like grapes, each has different combination of oils and levels of bitter resins. Germany, England, Belgium, and Czech Republic are considered the classic regions for hops while in the United States, Washington state is the largest producer. Hops can add flavors and bitterness to balance the sweetness of malt and protect the beer from antimicrobial properties. 

  • YEAST: Yeast metabolizes sugar and creates alcohol. There are 4 types of yeast, wild yeast, sour yeast, ale yeast and lager yeast. The first two are rarely used, while ale yeast, aka baker’s yeast, and lager yeast are commonly used. Ale yeast works at warmer temperature and creates fruity, spicy compounds which produce a thick layer of yeast foam close to the top. Lager yeast prefers cool temperatures, sinks at the bottom and creates more subtle and clean flavors.  

At Pescado, we have refreshing local and international lagers, aromatic hefeweizen, mild and easygoing American amber and American ale. We also offer moderately hoppy pilsner or intensely hoppy American pale ale, dark and rich Irish or American stout.  Come see us and we will gladly pair those beers with our menu items. Cheers

 
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DORUK GURUNLU

Originally from Turkey, Doruk Gurunlu has lived in the United States since 2005 when he came to South Walton. Doruk has many passions – wine being one of them. He truly enjoys talking about wine with his friends and guests at Pescado in a way that makes the knowledge of wine accessible and relatable.