The Basics of Brewing Beer

Beer is the world’s most beloved beverage, enjoyed by billions of people from all walks of life around the globe. The vast selection of brews —from hoppy IPAs to dark, rich stouts —gives drinkers a taste of their favorite countries and cultures. Beer can also serve as a great social companion, helping us bond with friends and family over a pint or two.

Despite the many regional variations, beer has always been made from a very simple formula: water, malt (or grains), hops and yeast. Those four ingredients, in combination and carefully balanced, produce the alcoholic beer that is so familiar to us today.

Brewing techniques and recipes change over time, but the basic process remains the same. Many brewing experts have tried to settle on one definitive definition of what is “beer,” but this only creates endless debates, as many national definitions are quite restrictive (water + malted barley + hops) or so loose that they include every alcoholic drink ever invented.

Our taste buds have a very strong receptor for bitterness, and our genes determine how much we perceive this. But like other flavors, such as sweetness or saltiness, our sensitivity to bitterness decreases with repeated exposure.

In addition to its bitter flavor, some people dislike beer because of the alcohol it contains. This is why, if you want to enjoy beer but don’t feel comfortable drinking too much, it’s important to try different beers and work your way up to stronger ones.