Get to know your Brew

Words: Karl Tessendorf

Who’s Who in the Brew?

Beer! It’s incredible, it’s delicious and there’s more to it that you ever thought possible. Gone are the days of 10 types of commercially brewed lagers and nothing else. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good lager just like the rest of South Africa, but I also enjoy IPAs, weissbiers, ambers, pales, pilsners, porters, stouts and blondes to name a few. Yes there are plenty of beer styles available these days but when it comes to the family of beer, they all fall under two categories – lager and ale.

Lager is the one we all grew up with and they’re known for being crisp, clean and refreshing. It gets its name from the German word ‘lager’ which means ‘to store’. Lagers are fermented at colder temperatures and they came about in the Middle Ages in Bavaria and Bohemia (Czech Republic). To achieve this cold storage the crafty brewers got their Neanderthal on and took to storing their fermenting beer in ice-cold caves.

Ales are the original beer and they were around long before lagers existed. They ferment at warmer temperatures and they’re a lot more complex in flavour. They’re known for being robust, fruity and can be high in alcohol. We’re currently seeing a massive ale renaissance and breweries are experimenting with the multitude of ale styles that exist.

The best part of the South Africa’s craft beer revolution is that the best way to learn is by drinking more beer. On that note, here’s your beer-ducation homework for the weekend: go to the best and nearest bottle store and buy as many different styles of beer you can get your hands on. Then light a fire, crack a beer and let the education begin. One of the most exciting things about craft beer is finding out what style you like best. Cheers!

Click to read more about Karl and Greg from Beer Country and click here to see some of their yummy recipes

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