One of the fun things about the Business of Craft Beer course that I’m taking online is thinking about beer in different ways other than just drinking it.
This week’s module has focused on the primary ingredients of beer: Water, Malt, Hops, and Yeast. We had the option to take a field trip to a local homebrewing store and explore hops, yeast, and malt. For me, as an avid homebrewer, I decided to take advantage of all the ingredients I have in my beer fridge and think about them a little more critically than I usually do.
I focused on malt. I pulled out every package of malt in the refrigerator that was already opened and tasted it. I have oats, rye, wheat, and many, many styles of barley malts.
It was very interesting to learn how much the flavor of individual malts can influence the flavor of the finished beer. We tend to think about craft beers in terms of how hoppy they are, as IPAs are all the rage right now.
The truth of it is that the bulk of a beer’s flavor comes from its malt. This flavor is modified by the strain of yeast and types of hops used, but it’s all built on the basis of the malt. So choose your malt carefully!