Friday, October 24, 2014

The history of beer

I have never tasted beer. Not once. The smell puts me off. But yesterday our Conestoga (Ohio history) group attended a fascinating lecture on the history of beer in the world, in the U.S., in Ohio and Columbus, and the growth of craft beers. I learned why you should never drink beer out of a bottle and why you want to have as much foam as possible when you pour it into a glass. Our instructor at the Winking Lizard was Richard Seemueller, lifelong beer enthusiast. Retired brewer of 38 years turned beer educator, he's an excellent host, presenter and author. He is a "beer ambassador" for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. We also learned a little about the interesting architecture of brewery sites--many in Columbus which have been converted to other uses.

Now about drinking from a glass, and how to pour it into the glass. He explained that the mouth can sense 4 tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty), but the nose can pick up hundreds (it actually can detect many thousands, but there aren't that many in a beer) and so you loose much of the beer experience if you don't have it in a glass. We did that experiment with gum drops and pinching our noses closed while eating them. No flavor. And the reason you want to pour it to encourage the foam is to release the gas (carbon dioxide and/or nitrogen). He poured it two different ways, then inserted a folded paper towel in each glass to simulate eating something after the beer was in the stomach. When more gas has been expelled before swallowing, there is less bloat in the stomach with food.

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