What would we do without beers?
Beer is delicious and everybody knows it. Beer is a perfect accompaniment for a casual dinner with your mates, its great to open up a cold one on a sunny afternoon over the Barbecue , it’s perfect for most occasions! Over the last few years we have seen a massive increase in craft beers as well. It all used to be the mass produced beers from germany, the USA or other countries. But now it’s all turned around in that small irish breweries are popping up everywhere we look. There are now countless IPAs, pale ales, Rye ales, american pale ale and dark ales, the list goes on! People are in love with them, and so are we! Bord Bia gives us the facts in that the number of craft breweries in Ireland has grown by more than 500% in the last 5 years, with 72 now in operation, up from just 15 in 2012! Employment in this area exceeded 500 for the first time ever, increasing employment in local and rural communities.
The History of beer goes back years and years and years. The recipe for beer is one of the oldest recipes in the world. Ancient Egyptians first documented the brewing process on papyrus scrolls around 5,000 B.C. It first made with figs, dates, herbs and many other fruits that were found. It was made with barley and It was fermented with wild yeast that was found at the time. In these times, it was usually made for religious ceremonies and very special occasions. Because it was so easily made and very intoxicating, it spread to europe and so more and more beer was being made all over the world. Hops was only added to beer to increase flavour in the 12th century. We can see how it has grown since, with new coffee or chocolate or orange flavours being added to beer to enhance flavours. How its changed!
So how is beer actually made? It’s a fascinating story that all begins with with the grain. There are 7 main steps in the brewing of beer, these include mashing, sparging, boiling the wort, cooling the wort, fermentation, carbonation and packaging.
- Mashing: This takes place in a big vessel called the mash tun. This is where the grain is malted. The grain is soaked in hot water for an hour or more to release the vial sugars that make beer. The sugars are necessary for the fermentation process because sugars are the food that the yeast later ‘eats’ in during fermentation in order to produce alcohol. No sugar means no alcohol, which means no beer. The malting process also adds sweetness, body, flavour and aroma.
- Sparging: In this stage the grains are rinsed in hot water to extract even more of the sweetness. The grain is then separated from the water in a process called lautering. The liquid is then transported to the larger tanks to await the beer brewing process. This is the wort what will turn into beer.
- Boiling the Wort: The wort is boiled to kill off any bacteria that remains. The boil lasts up to an hour and in this stage the hops is also added. The hops is boiled to release all the flavours that make a delicious beer. When and where you add the hops to your beer is up to what the beer is and the flavour you wish to produce.
- Cooling the wort: After an hour of boiling the wort is then cooled rapidly. The yeast needs to be added to the wort and if it is too hot they yeast will die, and the yeast is vital for beer. Sanitation is vital here as the yeast is added, special care must go into ensuring that no bacteria get in while added the yeast sneaks in, the the temperature is no longer hot enough to kill anything off.
- Fermentation: This is one of the most important steps. The mixture is left for 1-2 weeks.The yeast consumes the sugars and as this happens the sugar converts to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
- Carbonation: If you were to drink this product it would be flat, carbonation puts those little bubbles in your beer that make it pop! The beer is directly injected with carbon dioxide or the other way to carbonate beer is to put small amounts of sugar in the bottles so the leftover yeast will feed off it making carbon dioxide. This is called ‘bottle conditioning’.
- Packaging: This is the final stage of beer making. It is bottled or kegged and shipped off. And now you know all about how beer is made!
Here in the ridder we have a classy range of beautiful beers. On draft we have the dark delight that is guiness and cooling Carlsberg. In our 500ml bottles we have a craft beer from wexford, known as the Clever Man. A gorgeous brew! We also have the galway hooker beers in a pale ale and and amber ale, both delightful. We also served up some sweet cider from cider mill slane. In our 330ml bottles we have have a Bru red ale, IPA and lager. Only the best for our beer lovers! Why don’t you drop by and have a taste yourself, Check out our website for more details!