Recent Developments in the Beer Industry

The beer industry is one of the most competitive segments of the food and beverage indus-try.This competition has led to new technologies, new innovations, and new products. At the same time, there has been remarkable growth in the microbrewing industry, and a return to traditional or craft brewing practices. It is now possible to find nearly every type of beer at the local pub or retail outlet (Box 9-8). Thus, the beer industry, from the smallest to the largest brewer, continues to

There are two general types of beer, ales and lagers. However, while it is certainly true that ales and lagers represent the major beer categories, this simple distinction is not really adequate to describe the many varieties that are produced throughout the world. In reality, there are so many different versions of these two styles, that to refer to a particular beer simply as an ale or a lager provides little useful information about the actual nature of that beer. In addition, beers made in a similar manner, but from different geographical regions, often have quite different characteristics, and are classified accordingly.These differences in beer characteristics are due, in part, to the manner in which the beer is produced, but perhaps more importantly, to the specific ingredients used in the particular recipe. For example, one of the key ingredients that distinguishes one beer from another is the water used in the brewing process.

Of course, hops and malt have a major impact on the flavor, aroma, and color properties of the beer. Thus, beers are often classified based on their malt and hop type and content. For example, the Saaz hops used in Belgian pale ales and Czech Pilsner impart a flowery and fruity flavor to the beer. Listed below are some of the major categories or styles of beer and brief descriptions for each.

Ale—Top-fermented beer, produced throughout the world, but most commonly in the U.K.Ales generally have more hop aroma and bitter flavor than lagers, and are usually less carbonated. Altbier—A German style ale, historically made in Düsseldorf. It is copper-colored, with a modest bitter flavor, and only slight bitterness.Altbiers are lagered (and served) at lower temperatures than typical ales. Bitter—A typical British-style ale, with a strong bitter flavor.

Bock—A German lager with strong malt flavor and sweetness, but little hop bitterness and little or no hop aroma.The color ranges from light to dark brown, and these beers generally are full-bodied.

Brown Ale—An ale originated from Newcastle upon Tyne (in northeastern England), that is characterized by its full body, dark color, malty and generally sweet flavor, and low to moderate hop aroma and bitterness.

Cream Ale—An ale made in the United States; it has a mild sweet flavor.

Dunkel—The classic Munich lager; characterized by its dark brown color, sweet and nutty malt flavor, and full body. Bitterness and hop aroma are usually mild.

Lager—Bottom-fermented beer that originated in Bavaria, probably in the fifteenth century. Lagers generally are less hoppy and are more carbonated than ales, although exceptions exist. In the United States, lagers are amber or golden in color, with medium body and flavor.

Lambic—A specialty beer that originated in Belgium that is noted for several unique characteristics. First, it contains unmalted wheat as a major ingredient (as much as 30% or more). Second, aged hops, having decreased iso-a-acids, are used, minimizing the antimicrobial activity and bitter flavor.Third, microbial growth (including lactic acid bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, and various yeast), and subsequent acid development is encouraged. Finally, the fermentation is entirely natural or spontaneous—no yeast is added, and it may take place over a period of several months. Lambic beer variously described (even by its followers) as "sour, thin, leathery, fruity, cheesy."

Malt Liquor—An American-style, pale colored lager, with low hop bitterness or aroma, thin body, and little flavor, but with a higher-than-normal alcohol content (>4.5%)

Pale Ale—Typical British ale, with a medium body and malty flavor and light bronze color. Pale ales are moderately dry and bitter, and have a hoppy aroma. Carbonation is generally light and ethanol content high.Adjuncts are often added. India Pale Ale is similar in most respects to conventional pale ale, except it contains more hops, which promotes shelf-life (hence, this style was developed for export from England to India).

Pilsner—A classic lager that originated in Pilzen, a city in the Bohemia region of what is now the Czech Republic. Pilsners are among the most popular lagers in Germany (Bohemia was once part of the Austrian Empire and has a heavy German influence), as well as other regions in Europe. Pilsner (or Pils) has a strong malt flavor and hop aroma, medium body and sweetness, and a golden color. German Pilsners generally are lighter in color and body, and are less sweet compared to Czech Pilsner.

Porter—A British ale that has characteristics of both stouts and pale ales. Porters have light-to-medium body and malty flavor, are well-bittered, have dark color, and usually contain adjuncts.

Steam beer—Introduced (and trademarked) by the Anchor Brewery Co. in San Francisco in the late 1800s. Steam beers have both ale and lager properties, in that they are bottom fermented, but at a high ale-like temperature.They are fermented in wide, shallow tanks.

Stout—A type of ale that is noted for its very dark color (due to heavily roasted malt), rich malt and hop flavor, and moderate to high bitterness. Stouts have a creamy head, and vary from sweet to dry.The Irish stout, Guinness, is the most well-known example.

Zwickelbier—A German beer that is unfiltered.

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