The Basics of Beer

Beer is a fermented beverage that contains up to 95% water, barley, hops and yeast. It’s a popular drink around the world and one of the most widely consumed alcohols.

The most important ingredient in beer is the grain, or malt. It determines the color, aroma and taste of the beverage. Typical grains include barley, wheat, oats, corn and rye.

Yeast is the single-celled organism that consumes the sugars in the malt, converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast strains are used to produce different types of beers. Some are neutral in flavor, others produce more fermentation by-products and allow the malt and hop character to dominate the beer.

Brewers make beers in many styles, but they all follow the same basic recipe: water, barley or other grains (usually malted), yeast and hops. The German Purity Law of 1516 states that beer can only be made with these four ingredients, and most brewers adhere to this rule.

When the brewing process is complete, the finished beer can be served immediately or transferred to conditioning tanks and aged for a period of time. Depending on the style, the aging process can take from days to several weeks or even months.

Nutritional benefits of drinking beer

Studies have shown that moderate consumption of beer is linked to positive outcomes such as a lower risk for obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis. However, drinking in excess may have negative health effects.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming a moderate amount of alcohol. The recommendation for men is one drink per day and for women, one drink per week. The consumption of more than the recommended amounts of alcohol can lead to negative health outcomes such as liver disease and cardiovascular diseases.