Beer has existed for almost as long as human civilization has existed. Regardless of the geographical location, society, or culture, the oldest known fermented drink in history has never lost its popularity. Traditions and techniques begun in ancient Middle Eastern societies were refined hundreds of years later by European monks and eventually modernized in the 20th century by industrial breweries. Today, in North Carolina there are 300+ active craft breweries, over 50 in the Charlotte area alone where they compete with big beer corporations, and succeeding, by producing countless varieties of tasty, artisan beers. One of our favorites at DoorXDoor Delivery is the Birdsong Brewing Company located 1016 N. Davidson Street.
It all started with the cultivation of barley back in the Neolithic age, around 4000 BC. In the Middle East, farmers would harvest barley and store it in earthenware jars. As the barley aged and developed fermentable sugars, beer was born. In Mesopotamia, the beer was called sikaru. Later, Egyptians made their own beer and enhanced its flavor with herbs and honey. Archeologists have discovered ancient jars with the beer residue still inside.
Regardless of who is doing it, making beer has always been an art that starts with barley as its raw material.
These are the three phases of beer production:
Malting is the process of forcing barley to germinate and create enzymes for saccharification — the turning of starches into simple sugars. Malting is done by soaking the barley for one or two days at between 12°C and 14°C. When complete, the barley is drained and kept moist for an additional four to eight days so that it will germinate. Next, the germinated barley is dried, put on trays, heated with hot air, and stirred. The length of time for this process depends upon what type of beer they are making.
The germinated barley, or malt, is cleaned and any non-germinated grains are removed. Then, the malt is crushed and mixed with heated water, forming the mash. Eventually, the mash will yield wort, the sugar liquid that will be fermented with brewing yeast to make alcohol. The wort is extracted from the mash and then filtered and boiled with hops, flowers from the hop plant. At this time, spices or sugar for flavor can be added to the mixture. After boiling, the hops are removed and the wort is left to cool in the vat.
This is the transformation of the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is separated from the alcohol, saved, and eventually added back to the beer after fermentation in a process called racking. Now, the wort goes into the vat, and yeast is added. Finally, the sugars in the wort have been converted to alcohol. After a maturing time, this product will officially be beer.
Depending on the type of fermentation, there can be three types of beer:
This is a traditional method that involves the yeast rising to the top of the wort while it’s kept for three days in the vat at between 15°C and 25°C. This process produces a beer with higher alcohol content and with nuanced aromas and flavors.
Just like the name implies, here the yeast stays at the bottom of the wort for between seven to ten days (sometimes longer) while inside the vat and is kept between 6°C and 10°C. This method was invented in the 19th century in the Bohemian town of Pilzen.
Originally called mixed fermentation, this ancient method uses natural, airborne microbes to ferment the beer. A lambic is a type of spontaneously fermented beer known for its distinctive, sour flavor.
After the beer has been fermented, it matures until ready to be sold and delivered by your favorite alcohol delivery company. If it’s put into kegs, it is left unpasteurized. If it’s put into bottles or cans, it must be pasteurized.
Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert on the science of beer production to enjoy a nice cold brew. All you need to do is contact DoorXDoor Delivery and in no time, we’ll be at your door with a fabulous assortment of all your favorite beverages, and maybe even some delicious food to go with it. Just order online by checking out our selection available, and schedule a delivery.