Have you ever been curious about something at a brewery, but didn’t ask a question for fear of sounding dumb? Or maybe at a liquor store looking for clarification, but you don’t want to be seen as one of “those girls” who doesn’t know much about beer? Or even worse – you do ask the question and you find yourself on the receiving end of 20 minutes of someone speaking down at you for an unsolicited amount of time?
I’m here to help! I’ve been collecting a list of “dumb” questions from all of you (though they probably aren’t dumb at all) and will be answering them here on the Beer Feelings blog every few months.
Let’s *hop* right in, shall we?
Did you like the darker stout beers from the start or did it take you time to acquire the taste?
Great question- and my answer is both… kind of. There is such a broad range of dark beers with flavors ranging from super sweet to sharp and bitter. When I was new to the beer scene I found that sweet darker beers were more exciting for me to drink than plain light beers (I was not much of a fan of the grainy aftertaste). Once I got comfortable in the sweet space I started exploring nuttier beers, and then entered into the land of more robust (and sometimes bitter) flavors. As a whole though, I am, and always have been, a big dark beer fan.
Long story short – drink the beers that make you the most happy. If you want to try something new I’d recommend exploring while at a brewery where they can serve a taster and you don’t have to commit to a full crowler or six-pack.
Does craft beer need to be refrigerated at all times?
Eh, need, not necessarily – but should you stick it in the fridge when possible, absolutely. Beer, just like any other food or drink, will get more bland the older it gets. Think of it like the berries you bought at the farmers market. Can they live on your counter for a day or in your trunk while driving to the mountains? Sure, but they get kind of sad if they are there for too long.
Many smaller craft breweries do not pasteurize their product which simply means that it will get sad and bland faster than its bigger brewing counterparts.
Side note – to get the most bang for your buck, make sure you are buying beer from the refrigerated section at your liquor store. This helps to make sure you are getting to experience the flavor the way the brewers intended it when you arrive home.
Can beer be made without hops?
Technically – yes. Beer as you know it is made of four ingredients: water, yeast, grain and hops. Each of them plays a different role in creating the beverage we know and love
Water provides a happy home for the yeast to eat the sugar in the grain creating two things – alcohol and bubbles. Hops are added primarily for flavor. (This is a super basic explanation of the brewing process that glosses over a number of steps brewers take but it gets the job done for what we are chatting about here).
So to answer the question, could beer be made without hops? Yes. Would it taste like beer? Probably not.
Fun fact – the hops can be added in at different parts of the brewing process to bring out different flavors.
Can I freeze the half of my crowler that I didn’t finish?
I have definitely been in this type of crowler conundrum and my go-to tactic is to put the open crowler in the fridge overnight and then finish things up the next day. Is it a little flat? Sure, but it gets the job done.
Onto the frozen element – If a sealed beer freezes for some reason (and doesn’t explode) and you let it fully return to its liquid state, it will probably be ok. Letting it totally melt is CRUCIAL as a partially melted beer is basically liquid alcohol and frozen everything else. If the bottle or can is open already, freezing will push most of the carbon dioxide out leaving you with a flat beer that you have to fully thaw before freezing.
If it’s going to be flat anyways, my preference would be fridge flat over freezer flat. At least this way I can get straight to drinking without needing to thaw.
I’ve seen the term ‘vegetal’ used to describe some craft beers. Are vegetables used to brew beer?
Another two part answer from me:
1. Vegetables certainly can be used in brewing beer as an add-in to create specialty flavors like carrot cake but are not necessary to add to all beers.
2. Typical ‘vegetal’ is used to describe a beer that has some funky canned corn, boiled cabbage funk going on. This means something went amiss in the creation process. In general, if I’m drinking something and it has a funk or just seems “off”, I cut my losses and move onto the next. No one has time to drink something that makes you anything less than delighted.