Budgie’s beer 101

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Budgie's beer 101In the last few weeks or so Edinburgh Whisky Blog has had its fair share of beer blogs. Now I don’t know about you but my beer knowledge is limited to the beers that I can taste in the local and wether they hit the spot or not. I have never really bothered to delve into the depths of brewing and look at the how and where’s of beer making. I have therefore enlisted self confessed beer geek and occasional fellow drinker Andrew Budge to fill us in with a little 101 on beer. Hope you guys find this as enlightening as I did – Graeme

Whisky geek’s beer 101

As a home brewer and what can only be described as a poorly educated beer geek I constantly find myself fascinated by the shear range of taste, appearance, smell and well… ABV that beer encompasses. As such I’d like to talk a bit about what makes one type of beer different from another. If I had my way I could ramble until the word count of this blog reached truly disgusting levels, but I have been told by the powers that be not to bore you all and more importantly to recommend some very tasty beers for your pleasure.
Apart from the Reinheitsgebot! (Bavarian beer purity law), which states that all beer made in Germany can only contain four ingredients (water, hops, barley and yeast), which to be fair in this day and age is little more than a marketing tool, there is not really much else (speaking legally) saying what makes a beer a certain type of beer. Either way I shall endeavour to give my opinion the matter, giving examples of what I think is a prototypical beer of each category and some of my personal favourites.

Pilsner
Mainstream lager’s cougaresk mistress from Plzeň Czech Republic. Typically light of colour, with a malty caramel body, well carbonated with a well hopped crisp clean taste courtesy of the medium to high bitterness of the saaz hop. Its lack of the any real intense deep flavour profiles makes it one of the most popular beer styles out there.
Prototypical Pilsner:  Plzensky Prazdroj – Pilsner Urquell  4.4%
My favourite Pilsner:  Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu – Spaten Oktoberfestbier

India Pale Ale (IPA)
IPA, pale ale’s bigger brother. In short what separates an IPA from any standard pale ale is increased hopping, (including dry hopping) and alcohol. When talking about what makes a classic IPA, it can get a bit tricky as IPAs can range in colour from, as the name suggests, a pale golden colour to a dark earthy colour, or even black as a stout, with some breweries releasing what has been coined a paradoxical Black India pale ale (but that is for another time). In my mind there are two schools of IPA, the ‘Old’ and the ‘New’.

The old dates back the days of colonial India when the British Raj were keen to enjoy their much loved pales ales, but in order for the beer to survive the 4 month boat ride it would have to have much higher levels of hops and alcohol. Although when comparing the old to the new, the old to seem somewhat tame.
The New comes from our friends across the pond and in true American style they endeavour to make beers bigger than any seen before. The New American IPAs are typically massively hopped many using the very popular the distinctly citrusy grapefruit cascade hop, grassy and pine flavours are also common. In fact you would most likely struggle to find any stateside brewery that doesn’t use cascade in one of its brews. The ABV is also typically higher. �
Prototypical Old IPA: Caledonian Brewery – Deuchars 3.8%
My favourite Old IPA: Stewarts Brewing – Pentland IPA 3.9%
Prototypical New IPA:  Brewdog – Punk IPA 5.6%
My favourite New IPA:  Great Divide – Titan IPA 7.1%

 

Stout
Mmmm stout, dark, mysterious and truly very different kettle of malt from what we have discussed, first introduced by a fairly unknown brewery called Guinness in 1759 as an “extra stout” version of porter which was the beer of choice at that time. The hop element is still important to this type of beer, but the malts are truly what marks a stout. Using darker malts which give the beer rich deep flavours such as coffee, chocolate, molasses even subtle flavours of ash. A full body with a velvety, creamy body with the hop bitterness certainly not being the star of the show.
Prototypical Stout : Guinness 4.1% (It had to be the black stuff)
My favourite:  Brooklyn Brewery – Black Chocolate Stout 10

Budge out!

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