All you need to know about australia’s national drink, including home brewing, craft beer, food pairing and bob hawke’s skolling record. It’s Time to Rip open a tinny and flop on the couch!
A (very) brief history of beer:
Beer is one of the oldest beverages humans have created. It’s been around since around 4000 BC
and was common across all the ancient civilisations — think the Babylonians, the Egyptians and the Romans. Those people really knew how to party.
Basically, when we first started cultivating grains, beer followed soon after. Different cultures used different grains, but the idea behind it was all the same — a delicious drink that made you feel good. It was truly a revelation.
For example, apparently the ancient Sumarians (who lived in an area that’s now Iraq) called beer a “Divine Drink” and offered it to their gods. We can’t really blame them. Even monks in the Middle Ages were fans of the stuff — monasteries were some of the biggest brewers
at this time. Over the centuries methods were refined, quality improved and new technologies allowed for mass brewing that could be safely stored, transported and distributed to a thirsty public.
To this day, beer remains one of the world’s most popular drinks. The biggest beer drinkers in the world? The Czech Republic (142.6 litres per capita per year), followed by the Seychelles (114.6 litres) and Austria (104.8 litres). Here in Australia, beer first arrived with European settlement, and today the average Aussie drinks around 74 litres a year of the golden nectar, putting us well into the top 20. Cheers!
Ale vs lager
Ales are fermented using “top-fermenting yeast” (it floats to the beer’s surface for the first couple of days and then settles at the bottom), at 15° to 25°. Lagers are fermented using “bottom-fermenting yeast” (settles
at the bottom), at lower temps of 5° to 14°. Ales are generally sweeter and tastier, while lagers are crisper and smoother. Ale has been around for thousands of years, while lager is the new kid on the beer block.
Types of ales
The best known types of ales include dark ales such as Porter and Stout (probably the best known stout would be Guinness), as well as pale ales such as Bitter and India Pale Ale. Other ales include Wheat Beer (pale and highly carbonated), Belgian Ale (sweeter,slightly darker and often in excess of 8% alcohol content) and Irish Ale (red in colour, sweet and malty in flavour). Serve your ale at around 10 ° to 14 °.
Types of lagers
Lagers can range from sweet to bitter and pale to black. But most are pale to medium in colour, are highly carbonated and have a medium to strong “hoppy” flavour. Some of the best known lager styles are Pilsner, Bock, American Pale and Vienna. Australian Bitter (think Victoria Bitter, for instance) is a lager, while English Bitter is an ale. Serve your lager cold, at around 4 ° to 7 °.
Beer and your health
The occasional brewsky isn’t going to hurt you — in fact, it might even be doing you a favour. See, it’s not just wine that can deliver antioxidants that are beneficial to you health. Beer can provide you with the same health benefits as wine (when consumed in the recommended amounts, of course). Some studies even suggest that the antioxidants in beer may be more easily absorbed by the body than those in red wine.
Research has also found that a moderate intake of alcohol (one to two standard drinks a day) can reduce your risk of developing a whole bunch of diseases.
A study from Emory University in the US found that elderly people who consumed at least 1.5 drinks daily had up to a 50 % lesser risk of suffering from heart failure. Party on, Grandma. So enjoy a beer or two safe in the knowledge that you’re doing something positive for your health. Just don’t get carried away and slam the whole carton. Unless we’re invited along to join you.
Cans are back, guys.
Good ol’ aluminium is better for the beer and the drinker, our top mates at Sydney craft brewer Modus Operandi (mobrewing.com.au) tell us. Why? For starters, UV light and oxygen kills beer quality, which is a big problem with glass . A can keeps the beer as fresh as it was when it left the tank — exposure to light leads to oxidation, which leaves a “cardboard” taste.
Cans also cool much quicker than glass which is vital in Australia’s hot and thirsty climate. Who wants to drink warm beer from a bottle when you can slurp it cold from a can?
Our recommendation is try the Modus Operandi Pale Ale. Awarded Australian Champion Pale Ale in 2015 & Best International Pale Ale in 2016, this rich coloured Pale Ale is the real deal. Using Simcoe hops from USA’s Washington State, brings aromatics of pine and citrus followed by a crisp finish. Absolutely no preservatives and created from 100% green energy.
If you live in Sydney, check out their brewery in Mona Vale on the Northern Beaches – Otherwise head to mobrewing.com.au for more info.