Beer Basics | 10 Quick Facts to Make You an Instant Expert

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The public holidays are over but if you’re celebrating, you’d know. Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 days and chances are, you still have lots of home gatherings and festive meals to attend.

And if you foresee yourself as drinking lots of beer, or having to serve it, here are 10 quick beer facts to make you an instant expert. May you impress all with your newfound knowledge of the most popular alcoholic drink in Singapore!

What is malt?

1. Good Malt Provides the Foundation

Malt is any type of grain that has gone through the malting process, with good-quality malt providing the necessary foundation for superior beer fermentation. Brewers often use barley or wheat but other grains like rye and oats can also be used.

Beer Hops Close Up

2. Hops Determine the Flavour

Hops are the flowers (or seed cones) of the hop plant and they are a flavouring agent in beer brewing. There are over 170 types of brewing hops, too, with the amount and type of hops used determining a beer’s bitterness and whether there would be secondary flavours like fruitiness. The essential oils and resins of hops also give beer its distinctive aroma.

Why is yeast used in beer brewing?

3. Yeast Affects the Taste

Yeast transforms dough into bread. In the case of beer, this magical ingredient transforms sugar into alcohol and different yeast characteristics result in different esters that affect how acidic, sour, or punchy a beer is.

4. Naturally, Water Makes a Difference Too

The minerals in water can also impact beer quality and taste. After all, water makes up 90 percent of beer. Some breweries pride themselves on the special water they use, like spring water.

Types of Beer Glasses

5. Use the Right Glass for the Right Brew

This is often forgotten since we are so used to drinking beer from cans. Just like wine, many beers are best enjoyed in specific types of glassware. This is because the shape of the glass opens up flavours, holds the foamy head, and directs the nose to the aroma of the beer.

Types of Heineken Pours

6. Pouring is an Art and a Skill

Since pouring activates the carbonation of beer, i.e., what develops the foamy head and releases aroma, there are different methods of pouring different beers. For example, Guinness has a more elaborate pouring process to achieve its iconic creamy head and smooth texture.

7. Beer Temperature Tricks

Some flavours may become more pronounced after they warm up. This possibly explains why some folks prefer darker beers to be served at slightly higher temperatures.

8. A Visual Trick

Here’s a quick trick that’d surely impress. You can get a hint of a beer’s taste simply by holding the glass up to a light and observing the brew’s colour and clarity (clear or hazy). The clearer the beer, the brighter. 



9. How to Properly Enjoy Beer

Again, it’s like wine. Gently swirl a beer in its glass to release the aromas. Take a moment to smell the beer, to enjoy the hoppy, malty, fruity, or spicy scents. Afterwards, take a small sip and let it coat your palate to allow the flavours to unfold.

Quick Beer Facts

10. The Aftertaste Matters Too

It’s not just about the initial taste, what comes afterwards matters too. Pay attention to the lingering flavours after swallowing. Some beers are dry, while others can be bitter or sweet. Some even leaves a floral or fruity presence for a while.

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Beer Basics | 10 Quick Facts to Make You an Instant Expert
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Beer Basics | 10 Quick Facts to Make You an Instant Expert
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Curious about all the beer you drank in abundance during the CNY holiday? Here's a quick list of facts about Singapore's most popular festive alcoholic drink!
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