30 March 2017
Got enough craft beer knowledge to impress, or do you need a few party tricks? Learn a few key processes brewers use to ensure their brew is consistently great, bottle to bottle, and pint to pint:
Dry hopping is the art of adding hops after primary fermentation has finished. Think of those big juicy aromatics you find in the most delicious IPAs. Next time you huff some heavenly hop aroma, thank breweries like us for their heavy hand when it comes to the hops.
Bottle or Can Conditioning
Did you know that oxygen is the biggest enemy of beer (but critical to brain cells… the irony, right)? When light and heat get through to a beer, they lead to the growth of bacteria, which feeds off the oxygen trapped in the head space at the top of those bottles. Conditioning is an extra step of adding a tiny bit of yeast right when the beer is packaged, then those cases go into a climate controlled warehouse to kickstart the secondary fermentation process in the bottle. The yeast dines on the residual sugars in the beer, but most importantly consumes the oxygen left in the head space. This mini science lab makes sure that the beer stays fresher, much longer, naturally.
Look at a typical beer from one of the big boys – it’s super light yellow and virtually see-through, right? And that’s the way it’s supposed to look, right? Hogwash! Their filtering process has stripped all the natural goodness in the beer, because you can’t filter out hops and yeast without filtering out flavor too. So next time you see a hazy brew, lean back and enjoy!
Beer is food! With great craft brews, you want to drink them as fresh as you can with all the natural flavors still bursting at the seams. Of course there are some specific styles that do mature and evolve in a good way (think: barrel aged brews), but for most beers – get em while the getting is good! The most popular styles like IPA’s and pale ales are not meant to be aged. Drink em fresh, and always check that BIEB date (Best if Enjoyed By). It’s how brewers check to ensure their beer is always tasting its best once it leaves the brewery. The longer you can keep it cold and dark (that’s why brown bottles are best) the better and fresher your beer will be.
You ever stick a steak in a microwave and set it on high to cook it? Big fat NOPE. You’d be taking that beautiful meat and nuking it, killing all the natural flavors that make a beer some damn tasty. Pasteurizing is an artificial process designed to allow beer to sit on a shelf for years No bueno when you’re going for the tastiest brews possible.
Well hopefully we learned ya a thing or two! Want a brew that ticks all the boxes, and will be a crowd pleaser at your next party? Grab a SweetWater 420 or any of the other lip smackin brews from SweetWater Brewery.