Brewing beer is a fun, rewarding hobby that allows you to explore a wide range of ingredients and techniques. It can be a great way to learn new skills and impress your friends.
Unlike commercial breweries, craft brewers focus on quality over quantity and often use interesting ingredients to make their beers unique. This can include local and regional foods, fruits, herbs or spices, as well as traditional ingredients like malted barley and hops.
The term “craft” was first used to describe small beer breweries in the 1980s, when microbreweries began to challenge large alcohol conglomerates such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors for space in stores. This is because a brewing company’s success depends in part on its ability to offer customers a diverse range of flavors, aromas and textures that set it apart from the competition.
A key ingredient in making beer is germinated barley, which brewers crush to create what is called a mash liquor. The mash liquor is mixed with hot water in a mash tun, which activates the enzymes in barley grains that convert complex starches into sugars and eventually ethanol.
Specialty grains are another ingredient that can add flavor and aroma to your brew. Adding these grains can give your beer a richer taste and color, as well as added body.
Using specialty grains can also provide health benefits. For example, barley is a rich source of nitrogen, which boosts protein synthesis in the body. Nitrogen helps the brain to function properly and is essential for the growth of hair, nails, muscles and blood cells. It can also reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart disease risk.