The brewing industry has exploded in popularity, with breweries popping up all over the world. In the past, beer was localized to the region, but modern technology has made it possible to brew just about any style anywhere. Hops can be shipped from around the world, water profiles can be adjusted and yeast strains can be transported. This has opened up new styles of beers, and many brewers are trying their hand at creating their own unique variations.
The four main ingredients in all beer are malted barley, water, yeast and hops. Barley is a key ingredient because it is high in starch and provides the sugars that the yeast convert to alcohol. But other grains, called adjuncts, can be used to change the flavor profile of the beer. Wheat beers, for example, have a smooth body with a hazy appearance and citrusy or tangy flavors. Other beers use sorghum, millet, rice or other grains to create their flavor.
Adding hops adds bitterness to balance the sugary wort and acts as a natural preservative. The type of hops used can vary the flavor of the beer, and brewers experiment with combinations all the time to try new recipes. Beers are also flavored with spices, fruit, coffee, etc., to add to their complexity and uniqueness. There are many different definitions of beer, but most agree that it is a fermented beverage made from a cooked mass of starch. It is also important to note that beer is not necessarily drunk warm, and the term “beer” does not refer to a specific temperature.