What is beer?
The term beer covers a multitude of varieties which can be covered by the two most common terms; Ale and Lager, underneath these you’ll find a style to fit any palate.
How is it made?
Beer has four main ingredients: water, grains, hops and yeast. The basic process requires the extraction of the sugars from the grain through a process called mashing, once you have the wort you can proceed to the boil. It’s during the boil that hops are added, these provide the bitterness, aroma and unique flavouring to each beer. Once the wort has cooled it’s time to add the yeast – this is responsible for the fermentation process. They type of yeast added also affects the type of beer produced. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast at warmer temperatures whereas Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeast at cooler temperatures.
Common types of Ale
One of the most common Ale styles is the Indian Pale Ale or IPA and these are generally around 4.5% ABV or stronger. These are very hoppy beers and are known for their bitterness.
Pale Ales are usually a lower ABV alternative to IPAs and are more commonly characterised by a crisper more citrusy hop flavour. You’ll also find Stout’s, Imperial or Double IPAs, Wheat Beer’s and Gose’s under the Ale style.
Common types of Lager
Lager is the most popular beer style in the world and has seen something of a renaissance in recent years. The term coming from the German word for storage and relates to the cooler temperatures at which the beer was brewed.
One of the most common styles is the Pilsner, or Pils – noted for its high carbonation, crisp lightly hopped flavour and floral notes. Helles, Vienna Lager, Bock, Kolsch and Dunkel’s are other common lager varieties.
Sussex is blessed with a wide range of breweries each offering their own take on these beer styles.
Harvey’s is one of the most well-known of the Sussex breweries, their ‘Best’, an amber coloured bitter, is considered a classic of the style.
Burning Sky’s Petite Saison is a light, delicate beer that could be a great introduction to Ale’s for white wine drinkers.
Long Man Brewery’s Helles and Bedlam Brewery’s Pilsner offer examples of Lager style beers that will provide a different flavour experience to what you might be used to.
They all brew beer but they all offer something different – there’s a beer for everyone!