The most popular alcoholic beverage in the world is beer. And while the selection of brews available can seem endless, there are certain beers that are held in high regard by beer drinkers around the world.
What makes a beer the best is ultimately up to each individual, though it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various styles and ingredients before making a decision. Beers can range from light lagers to dark stouts, each with their own unique flavors and tastes.
Regardless of the style, beer is brewed using water, grain malts (such as barley, wheat and oats), hops and yeast. Different types of these ingredients will create varying flavors, aromas and textures. Beers can also be infused with spices, fruits and herbs to add additional flavor and complexity.
In addition, the brewing process can alter the alcoholic content of beer. During brewing, the sugars in the malt are converted into alcohol by yeast. Then, the wort is heated in order to separate the sugars from the grain, a process known as lautering. The resulting wort is then boiled in order to rinse away any remaining enzymes and to stabilise the liquid so that hops can be added.
Hops will add bitterness, and they are also used as a natural preservative. After fermentation is complete, the beer can be filtered, kegged or bottled and then distributed. The majority of beers are meant to be consumed fresh, but some can be aged for a period of time in order to further enhance their taste and texture.