Beer 101: An Easy Guide to Beer


Today, beer is becoming very trendy, with more and more people expanding their beer knowledge and trying new styles. So understanding beer and its trends is very important.

If you’re looking to gain a beginner’s understanding of beer styles, check out this basic beer guide:

A Brief History of Beer

Historically speaking, water wasn’t always reliably clean for most cultures, and alcoholic drinks, like beer, were much safer. Therefore, the early production of beer became the domain of woman, whose duty it was to produce a strong beverage in order to keep her family alive during decades of plague, famine and unsanitary drinking water. As large swaths of humanity were wiped out from devastating disease in the Middle Ages, the religious orders picked up beer making, which turned the practice into a communal activity complete with the very first beer halls. Because beer was profitable and in high demand, men then became the principal brewers in each community.

Beer found its way to America aboard the ships of early explorers. Some historians speculate that the crew of the Mayflower abandoned plans to sail further south from Plymouth Rock because they were running low on beer. And because there were few restrictions placed on brewers in the late eighteen century, the crafting of fine ales in America enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in the early years.

Today, according to the American Brewer’s Association, there are more than 1,390 regional craft breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs in the United States. And the variety of styles available is nearly incomprehensible.

What’s in Beer?

Most beers are made up of four basic ingredients: barley, which is processed into malt, then brewed; hops, which are added during brewing to balance the malt with a more bitter flavor; yeast, which adds carbonation and alcohol content during fermentation; and water.