Apr 04, 2016
The Backstory to Beer
For centuries, in big cities and small towns all over the world, people from all walks of life have gathered together to unwind over beer.
Meeting up over a pint is practically inherent to the human condition—it's part of what makes us, well, human. While the world's thirst for beer has never been quenched, our collective palates have changed in recent decades. In much the same way that we enjoy expanding our tastes for food and wine, we've broadened our taste for different types of beer. As a result, we've seen an explosion in craft beers that range from stouts as dark as the night sky to hoppy IPAs as light as a summer day. In praise of the world's growing infatuation with the nuances of beer, REAL, Ward Village's very own Gastro Pub, is pioneering the inaugural Honolulu Beer Week, which begins on April 17th and runs through April 23rd. "This is going to be an amazing time for all of Honolulu's craft beer enthusiasts," said Lisa Kim. "If you love craft beer, you're going to love Honolulu Beer Week." To sharpen your beer game heading into the festival, we've taken the liberty of highlighting a few of our favorite pours below and the history behind them. Of course, always remember to enjoy responsibly.
All beers are classified into one of two variations: ales and lagers. The difference between the two is actually tied to the yeast used to make the beer and the temperature at which the beer comes of age. Ales, which hold a much lengthier lineage that dates back thousands of years, are typically brewed at warmer temperatures with top-fermenting yeast. During the Middle Ages, beer was a staple part of the European diet—regardless of age—and was so rich in nutrients that it actually served as sustenance. Today, there are a mind-numbing variety of ales to choose from when you head to your favorite watering hole. As a general rule of thumb (but not always so) ales typically carry more complete flavor profiles. Within the ale family you'll find pale ales, brown ales, IPAs, stouts and wheat beers, just to name a few.
Ales We Admire: Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Ballast Point Sculpin
Unlike an ale, lagers are brewed at colder temperatures with bottom-fermenting yeast. While ales can trace their genealogy back thousands of years, lagers came onto the scene fairly recently and are only a few hundred years old. Often defined by their distinctly crisp and effervescent taste, the word "lager" actually comes from the German word lagern which means "to store," or "to lay down"—an homage to the bottom-fermenting yeast that defines the beer's character. Today, lagers have grown increasingly popular (in the United States, lagers outsell ales by a landslide) and are often described as easier to drink and hold a lighter taste and more carbonation than ales. Common lagers include Coors, Corona, and Budweiser.
Lagers We Love: Ballast Point Fathom IPL, Stoudt's Gold, and Stella Artois
Dark and complex, stouts gain their rich texture and flavor by roasting barley and malt. Also commonly referred to as porters, stouts date back to England in the 18 th century. The term stout, originally referenced the potency or "strength" of the beer and played into the beer's robust flavors. Guinness is the world's most popular stout and derives its dark color from roasted malt. Every day, more than 10 million glasses of Guinness are poured.
Stouts Worth Sippin': Guinness Extra Stout, Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, Velvet Merlin
In the 1840s, brewers in Plzen, Czech Republic smuggled in bottom-fermenting yeast from Germany and incorporated the latest scientific advancements of the time to give rise to the pilsner, a blonde lager that would quite literally change the way the world drank beer for centuries to come. Unlike ales, pilsners are meant to be consumed in a glass. Quickly, these refreshing beers became a sensation in Europe and in just a few decades, they were readily available throughout Europe. The original pilsner, brewed under the Urquell Beer flag, is still in production today.
Pilsners We're Proud to Drink: Summit Pilsner, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Sam Adams Noble Pils
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