Beer & craft beer – the new barley juice generation | Peter Eichhorn
Beer & craft beer – the new barley juice generation
By Peter Eichhorn
Who would want to contradict the author and Pulitzer prize winner Dave Barry, who rightly remarked: "Without a doubt, beer is mankind's greatest invention. Well, I admit the wheel was not a bad idea either, but it does not go quite as well with a pizza as a beer does." However - over the past decades this favourite beverage was put on the siding. Beer styles disappeared, and diversity in gastronomy existed at most in Bavaria, especially in Franconia. In Great Britain, people enviously looked at a dozen shiny taps, which every pub has as a minimum, and from which a wide range of ales and lager beers flow. And then there was also the so-called "craft beer revolution", the new world of beer diversity. From the USA of all places - the country that the local beer drinkers liked to label as the home for bland, thin beers. And suddenly it is from there of all places that the inspiration comes for new brewing processes, a multi-layered approach to hops and the suggestion to regard beer not only as a thirst quencher but also as a pleasurable beverage.
Today, beer is once again a trendy beverage in Germany as well, providing restaurateurs with all kinds of opportunities to surprise and inspire their guests. Come and join us for a quick course on modern beer science, which can be immediately put to use from theory into practice at the numerous stands with brewed specialities at ProWein.
1. Top-fermented and bottom-fermented
These are the two basic variants of the brewing technique, named after the most important ingredient in beer, the yeast. A saying goes, "The brewer makes the brew, the yeast makes the beer." Top-fermented yeasts require temperatures of 15 to 25 degrees Celsius and settle on the surface after the fermentation process. Bottom-fermented yeasts work at lower temperatures of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius and sink to the bottom of the fermentation tank. In the yeast bank at Weihenstephan, approximately 400 different brewer's yeast varieties are stored and available to the brewers. In English, 'ale' is the top-fermented category and 'lager' is the bottom-fermented category. Classic top-fermented beers in Germany are Weizenbier, Berliner Weiße, Kölsch or Altbier. Typical bottom-fermented representatives are Pils, Helles, Schwarzbier, Märzen or Export. The Porter beer style is also traditionally brewed in this country. It is top-fermented and bottom-fermented.
An intriguing bottom-fermented tasting tip at the trade fair is "Helle Aufregung" (pale excitement) of the Landgang Brewery from Hamburg (Hall 7 / D44). A palatable light-coloured beer based on Czech examples, brewed with the hop varieties Hallertauer Cascade, Saazer and Sladek. Excellent brews are also produced in the Baltic States. With Baltas Melas, Genys Brewing from Lithuania (Hall 7 / B53) offers a tasty interpretation of a classic Belgian beer style, Witbier. A sparkling summer wheat brewed with orange peels and sometimes coriander.
2. Aromatic hops
Hops in beer ensure shelf life, bitterness, foam formation and - recently again - a wide variety of aromas. Established pils drinkers perceive a balanced bitter note in their favourite drink. This originates from the classic hop varieties, which are often referred to as premium hops (Edelhopfen) or bitter hops. The craft beer revolution rediscovered aroma hop varieties. Those hop varieties, with names like Amarillo Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Citra or Sorachi Ace, provide beers with exciting fruit or herbal nuances. The Bavarian Hallertau is the largest continuous hop-growing region in the world, and the hop-growers there have recently been busy developing new hop varieties. And thus, we are hearing more and more about hop innovations such as Polaris, Mandarina Bavaria, Ariana or Callista. The latter is the eponym of the Craftwerk Mad Callista. A light session lager beer with tropical nuances of passion fruit and gooseberry. Can be tasted at the stand of the Bitburger craft brand, Craftwerk (Hall 7 / D37).
An old technique, also called cold hopping, is being rediscovered. Hops are not only added to the boiling brew during the brewing process, but a quantity of hops is also added to the storage tank. During the brewing process, the heat ensures that the ethereal oils, and the aromas they contain, evaporate. In the storage tank, the hops release the multi-layered aroma to the beer.
4. Pale ale & IPA
Most probably no other type of beer stands for the new brewing generation as much as pale ale and its big sister, India pale ale, or IPA for short. The top-fermented beer style is particularly suitable for developing the power of aroma hops. Pale ale is considered to be the classic brewing style in Great Britain. In the early 18th century, the factory owner Abraham Darby developed a kiln technique, which made it possible to gently heat the stove and thus produce light malt. A hundred years later, pale ale found its way into the colony of India. This famous development is often described in that the traditional pale ale was provided with more hops and more alcohol so that it would not spoil on the long voyage to the Indian colonies. As of the 1830s, the term "East India Pale Ale" first appeared in Great Britain itself. Returners from the colony missed the strong beer that they had learned to appreciate overseas. The breweries reacted and offered these beers then on the domestic market as well. Today IPA stands for a distinctively hopped, aroma-intensive beer with a higher alcohol content than pale ale.
A wonderfully palatable pale ale is offered by the Vulkan Brewery (Hall 7 / D33) from the Vulkaneifel. 4.9% vol. alcohol content and a balanced hopping with mosaic. The Crew Republic Brewery from Munich can be regarded as a well-established classic of the local craft brewing culture. Its "Drunken Sailor" India pale ale became an IPA classic and is a must try. To be tasted within the framework of the "New Beer Culture" Community (Hall 7 / D31).
5. Beer for wine drinkers
France and Italy are classic wine countries. So why beer? Well, wine drinkers are often more open-minded than classic pils drinkers with their strong brand loyalty. Variety and aromatic diversity are a matter of course for wine drinkers. And even if the countries mentioned show a rather low per capita beer consumption, the consumers here also appreciate the aroma and raw ingredient qualities of beer. Numerous exhibitors at ProWein prove how beer - just like wine - can be a wonderful accompaniment to a meal. For instance, a Triple Grain Strong Ale from the Brasserie Alaryk (Hall 7 / D19) from the south of France. Or a Barley Wine from La Brasserie du Bout du Monde (Hall 7 / D46) from the Atlantic coast of Brittany.
The delectable creative beers from Birra Dell' Eremo (Hall 7 / D35), such as, for example, the Glaciale Imperial IPA with a touch of honey, come from Italy. But especially sour beers fascinate numerous wine drinkers, in particular Riesling enthusiasts. As a tasting tip at ProWein, a Brlo Berliner Weiße might be a good choice (Hall 7 / D31).
A trend that absolutely should be considered in the current development of craft beer is non-alcoholic beer. Thanks to the aroma hopping described above and the use of new yeast cultures, non-alcoholic beers are no longer the car drivers' consolation price but are really enjoyable beverages. As a convincing example, Kapitän (Captain) of the Hamburg Landgang Brewery (Hall 7 / D44) can be highly recommended!