the pre-pee

Six months back, I introduced my blog to Mead and decided to highlight other beverages throughout the year.  Traverse City and the surrounding area love to ferment, brew, and stomp on anything and everything they can to produce spirited libations to make people ‘hoppy’.  Then I realized the vast amount of information and varieties of beer and wine.  Mead was easy to present.  Beer and wine – not so much.

Because I am a pretty basic dude, I wanted to showcase beer in a similar fashion.  Otherwise, anyone who read this post would be reaching for a cold brewski just to get through it.  That is not my intention.  So, here is beer, presented in simplistic glory.

the big  pitcher

All beers are either lagers or ales, and that’s determined by the type of yeast used during the fermentation process. Lagers are made with yeast that ferments at the bottom of the beer mixture (Saccharomyces uvarum), and ales are made with yeast that ferments at the top (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). There are also spontaneously fermenting yeasts, which make wild or sour ales.

Once you’ve figured out if your beer is a lager or an ale, there is further differentiation determined by the flavor, color, and aroma of the beer. These determine what style family a given beer falls into. Within that style family, there are varieties, which have even more distinct characteristics.

It all began in the Middle Ages when Bavarian brewers discovered that their beer continued to ferment while being stored in cold ice-caves during the winter. The result was a greatly improved, very smooth, mellow tasting brew. They would brew in late fall and store the beer, covered with ice harvested from nearby lakes and rivers, until early spring. They called it lager beer because of the long storage period. After a few wars and prohibitions, lite beer, dry beer and ice beer became popular due to the decreased alcohol content.  The lager beer revolution had reached its ultimate end-point.  Beer drinkers were NOT hoppy enough.  Ale was revisited and microbreweries found just what beer drinkers needed: beer with flavor and character. They  had come a full circle.

the draft difference 

  • both are fermented from grain
  • cerevisiae is the most common type of yeast that has been around since Babylonian time
  • main difference is the temperature of the fermentation – chemical reactions happen more slowly at lower temps which slowed the fermentation process yielding ‘aged’ product
  • ale – greater tolerance to alcohol = stronger beer; hoppy and heavy
  • lager – ability to ferment sugar melibose = more sugar remnant; lighter, crisp flavor

my final call

I AM a lager dude –  Stella Artois to be exact.  Stella was my grandmother’s name, so it kinda stuck.  And,  Stella is light and refreshing, so that kinda stuck, too. I’m really not a beer drinker, though. Thus another reason I hesitated with this post.  Once the information is broken down to the basics, it’s not that overwhelming.  Now the only real question is where the hell did CollegeHumor come up with some of those beer slang words. Pre-pee? Guttorade?

I decided to close this post by raising my glass with  Cheers  to a famous beer lover.


bottoms up!

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