Depending on what is used to make it, beer can be anything from strong and hoppy to smooth and malty. But regardless of style, what every beer has in common is that it’s a fermented, alcoholic beverage made by combining water, barley or other grains, hops and yeast. Adding spices, fruits and other flavorings is also an option that can give the final product some unique nuances in taste.
Brewing is a complicated process with myriad variables from the things that can be controlled (the types of grain and the additions) to those that are not (the ambient environment, even the mineral content of one’s water source). Mastery of these elements, plus the patience to wait weeks for the yeast to do its work, is what makes up the art and science of brewing beer.
In the past, there have been numerous variations on the beer recipe but it always came back to a combination of water, malt and hops. Today, however, there are countless different options for those who want to savor the taste of an IPA or the crispness of a pilsner. And that’s what makes the craft beer craze so exciting – the fact that there are always new beers and breweries to discover.