Cheers! here is your pint of beerology

By, New Delhi
Aug 01, 2022 07:20 PM IST

Ahead of International Beer Day, we explore variants and flavours of the beverage, served with a side of trivia.

International Beer Day is marked on the first Friday of August, but owing to the Covid-19 crisis, there wasn’t much merrymaking in the last two years. However, celebrations are set to get bigger and better this year across the world.

Hold your glass at a 45-degree angle from the beer while pouring it. (Shutterstock)
Hold your glass at a 45-degree angle from the beer while pouring it. (Shutterstock)

The beer industry has undergone remarkable changes. From fresh flavours to new drinking trends, beer has a renewed feel, but its taste remains uncompromised. Ahead of International Beer Day on August 5, let’s celebrate the love for beer in all its glory!

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“The beer market has registered phenomenal growth over the first five months of 2022, with the number topping pre-pandemic figures, owing to pent up demand. We have clocked a spike of over 15% in comparison to the first five months of 2019 and have amplified production capacity, with tie-ups in Arunachal Pradesh and Jharkhand. With our overall current production capacity over 1,56,000KL, we expect to close FY 23 with a sale of over eight million cases,” says Prem Dewan, managing director, Devans Modern Breweries.

Consistent diversification is a benchmark associated with the global beer market, driven majorly by higher acceptance of new flavours among beer lovers. Dewan says, “During the pandemic, we came up with the only beer in the country with 8% abv, the maximum permissible alcohol content in beers in India. We also launched a strong variant of our Belgian-style wheat beer, infused with desi spices.”

Bira 91 recently came up with niche beer variants — Bollywood IPA, Kokum Sour, Brown Ale and Mango Lassi — to tickle Indian taste buds. Ankur Jain, founder and CEO, says, “For this generation of consumers, beer means flavour. Each beer is brewed with unusual ingredients — local and seasonal — which makes them unique. At Taproom in Bengaluru, these flavours received tremendous consumer love. The flavours were voted as the top-ranked choices by beer lovers, which inspired us to launch them across the country.”

Multiple factors are instrumental in determining the final flavour, taste, look and feel of the product. There are infinite possibilities of experimentation with process parameters and raw material mix, where even a slight deviation of raw materials, additives, process control, etc. can make a stark difference to the final product.

The basic ingredients for beer are always barley malt, rice, sugar (for strong beer) and hops. But, taking a slight detour, wheat beer is having its moment. “People have been accepting different styles of beer and wheat has been the most popular one. The industry noticed a huge rise in the wheat type beers; our wheat beer also has the highest sales. They were launched by almost all brands as it makes sense to Indian communities,” says Ishwaraj Bhatia, co-founder of Simba Beer.

According to Gaurav Gidwani, F&B director, BrewDog India, the fitness-conscious are ditching hard liquor for beer, keeping their health in mind. He says, “The modern consumer has become more health and fitness conscious, and in the alcohol industry, there is a significant shift from hard liquor towards milder forms of alcohol such as beer and wine. This further developed into knowledge and information by virtue of which the consumer is looking for a better product and a better experience.”

The glass in which the beer is served can change depending on the beverage’s characteristics. For example, if the beer is high on aroma, wide-mouthed glasses are used. If the beer is more about body and gravity, straight glasses are used.

The difference is the scale of production. While commercial beer is mass-produced with cheaper ingredients for an affordable final product, craft beer is typically produced in smaller batches at micro-breweries with cherry-picked ingredients for a high-quality drink.

On the basis of yeast used during the fermentation process, all beers can be categorised into two types, Lager and Ale, at the most basic level. Ales are made with top-fermenting yeast and lagers are made with bottom fermenting yeast. There is also a third category, which uses spontaneous yeast strain.

Ales tend to be more fruity and sweeter, while Lagers typically boast of a cleaner, crisper taste with a smooth finish. There are over 100 distinct beer styles, but every beer starts out as a basic Lager or an Ale, and then evolves into a specific style and flavour, based on the ingredients added.

Hold your glass at a 45-degree angle from the beer. Aim the opening of the bottle or can at the side of the glass near the middle and pour away, leaving some room between the edge of the glass and the bottle. Once your glass is about halfway full, turn it straight up and finish pouring in one smooth motion. If you see a nice, foamy head, you know you’ve done it right!

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    Ruchika Garg writes on food, health, culture, and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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