Believe it or not, the oldest recorded recipe in the world was not for food, but beer. There have records indicating that people have been brewing beer for more than 7,000 years. It is believed that beer was first used for religious ceremonies (with its intoxicating effect, we can imagine why). From Egypt, it made its way to Europe, where abundant crops of barley provided an almost plentiful source of raw materials. European monks from the middle ages are credited with inventing the type of beer that we are currently enjoying today. Today, beer is one of the most popular beverages not only in Texas but in the entire world.
- The average American drinks around 20.8 gallons of beer per year.
- In Texas, the average consumption is 30.9 gallons of beer per year.
- The Czech Republic has the highest per capita beer drinking average for 24 years, with an average of 143.3 liters.
- Beer is cheaper than Coke in the Czech Republic
- There was more beer than water on board the Mayflower brought aboard by the Puritans.
- The Pilgrims landed on Plymouth because they were running low on beer.
- George Washington had his own brewery in Mount Vernon
- Oktoberfest was made into an official celebration in 1810
Beer Buying Guide
Not all beer is created equal. There’s more to beer than the six-pack that you grab from the chiller at your local store. Let’s go over some beer varieties and see what all the fuss is about.
- Lager – This is usually the entry point to most beer drinkers. Almost everyone who has tried beer has had some lager. The Lager has a light taste with a mild maltiness to it. The good thing about lagers is that while they are a little bit lacking when it comes to flavor complexity, they are clean and consistent. The most popular brands of Lager are Budweiser, Sam Addams, Miller, Yuengling, and Coors.
- IPA – The IPA or Indian Pale Ale gets its flavor profile mostly from the hops used with herbal and fruity flavors. IPAs usually have higher alcohol levels than lagers, and they can be a little bit bitter. The IPA is generally the first step of anyone who wants to enter the world of craft beers.
- Pale Ale – This type of beer usually carries the floral notes of IPAs and is medium-bodied and malty. Pale ales are usually the choice of people who want a more complex taste but cannot stand the high alcohol levels of IPAs.
- Pilsner – A pilsner is a balanced beer, much closer to a lager than a pale ale. It is much crisper in taste than lagers, and they have a slightly more bitter profile. Visually, pilsners have that pleasing gold color that people usually associate with beer.
- Stout – A stout is a dark beer with more of a sweet and full-bodied taste. Some stouts also have creamy notes and can be compared to having a coffee-like or dark chocolate taste. Hard to imagine? The best example for a stout beer would be one of the world’s most recognizable beers, Guinness.
- Belgian Beer – Belgian beer pertains more to the flavor aspect rather than a specific type of beer. Belgian beers can be dark ales, pale ales, fruity beers, or sour ales. The most popular type of Belgian beer is the Trappist Ale. Trappist ale is a type of ale that is produced exclusively in Trappist monasteries.
- Sour Beer – This is one of the newest variants of beer that has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years. Not only is it popular with the younger crowd, but it has gained the attention of the craft beer drinkers that want to explore and try something new.
You can always head down to your local brewery to check out what’s available on tap. If you want the best beers, it’s best to get them straight from the source.
Beer Production & Farming in Texas
Commercial Beer Production.
In the United States, roughly 50% of all the beer consumed is attributed to three brands: Bud Light, Budweiser, and Coors Light. Commercial beer production tends to use the cheapest materials to crank out large amounts of beer at the most affordable price. Cheap materials do not equal to low quality, though. Large commercial beer producers take pride in using tried and tested recipes, formulas, techniques, and some of the best equipment in the world. While the flavor profile may be bland and generic, the quality in production is still there.
Craft Beer Production in Texas
In early 2005, Texas was home to 20 small breweries. Fast forward to today, there are more than 300 breweries of different sizes and specialties. The Texas craft beer scene is more than just great beer, but it is a combination of great beer and good food. The consumption of the more prominent national brands has slowly been replaced by locally produced beers featuring complex flavors that are tailored to fit local tastes.
Craft brewing is both an art and a science. The right combination of malts, hops, and other components must be perfected. On top of that, not everyone can make craft beer. It takes specialized equipment, months, if not years of trial and error before you can get a blend right. After all of that trial and error, the formula must be formalized to make sure that it is repeatable.
The best thing about craft beer is that specialized brewers will often craft their beers to pair with certain kinds of food, and not just a generic beer. Just like fine wine is paired with particular food, craft beer has been made for different types of food as well.
In fact, some microbreweries double as restaurants or gastropubs, and they sell food that pairs perfectly with the beers that they brew themselves.
Chemicals and Additives:
While it may seem like since beer is alcohol, that there wouldn’t be any chemicals or additives added to it, you’d be surprised. There things like flavor enhancers, antifoaming agents, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, corn syrup, genetically modified malt and hops, liquid sugar, and so on. These are all used by large commercial brewers to ensure that the finished product is consistent all the way through.
Beers from both commercial producers and craft beer producers are usually bottled and sold in six-packs. They are also available in kegs and can be served from the tap in bars and restaurants. Some craft beers are also available in local specialty stores as six-packs.
Beer is best served cold. While commercial beer can be served on ice, it is almost considered sacrilegious to serve craft beer with ice.
Beer is best stored in the fridge in an upright position to minimize surface contact with air inside the bottle. If fridge space is not available, then the next best place to store your beer would be in a cool and dark place.