Beer is an alcoholic beverage that is made from the fermentation of cooked starches. Its ingredients include malted barley, hops and water. Its flavor varies widely. Some beers are sour from lactic acid, others have the funky, fruity notes of brettanomyces (a type of wild yeast), while others have a smooth, sweet quality resulting from a high concentration of brewing grains. Its body can be light, syrupy or thick depending on the style of brewing. Typically, it is fizzy, due to the natural brewing process.
Many people enjoy beer because of its taste, aroma and carbonation. Others enjoy it as a social activity with friends, or to celebrate an event. It can also be used as an ingredient in cooking. It can be drunk cold or at room temperature, and has a wide range of styles.
The first beers were probably brewed about 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Archaeological finds include vessels with residues and inscriptions referring to beer making.
A beer’s flavor is influenced by the ingredients it contains, the method of brewing and the storage conditions. Beer can be bitter or sweet, dry or hoppy, fruity or sour, and many varieties have a distinctive aroma.
The beer industry is changing rapidly, and some of its new trends are challenging the way beer is produced. These changes are affecting the popularity of different styles of beer and the reputation of some breweries.