In life process is the mandatory path one takes in order to achieve an outcome. It is the exploratory vehicle that requires committed action towards any concept, inspiration, or intentional trajectory towards a desired outcome. The same is true for beer. Beer begins as four separate items grain or barley, water, yeast, and hops. If you are thinking, "outside of hops, beer seems a lot like bread." You would be correct, when you sit down to enjoy a glass of beer you are essentially drinking a liquid bread, one of the very nutritional building blocks of life. And like bread, we bring these four ingredients (plus a few others when we want to get creative) together in a long beautiful process.
Malting & Mashing: The brewing process starts with grains, usually barley (although sometimes wheat, rye or other such things.) The grains are harvested and processed through heating, drying and cracking in order to isolate the enzymes needed for the next step. The grains then go through a process known as mashing. We'll steep the grains in hot water for 60-90 minutes, to extract the sugars needed for the yeast to make your beer. We then drain the sugar saturated water, called wort, into the boil kettle.
Boiling and Adding Adjuncts: The wort is boiled between 60-90 minutes while hops and other spices, fruits, or other natural adjuncts are added at specific times throughout the boil.
Time out,. what are hops? Good question. Hops are the small, green cone-like fruit of a vine plant. They provide bitterness, flavor, and aroma to balance out all the sugar in the wort.
Fermentation, Bottling, and Aging: This is where all the magic happens. Once the boil is over the wort is cooled, filtered, and transferred to fermenting vessel where the yeast is added. At this point the brewing is complete and the fermentation begins. In fact, we aren't really making beer, we are creating a perfect environment using the sugar water (wort) for the yeast to do what it does.
Once the yeast has been added, the beer will be stored, depending on the style, for a couple of weeks up to a year at very specific temperatures while the yeast works its fermentation magic. Basically the yeast eats up all that sugar in the wort and and converts it to alcohol.
You’ve now got alcoholic beer, however it is still flat and uncarbonated. The flat beer is bottled or kegged, and then is bottle or keg conditioned. By adding a type of sugar to the bottles of kegs. The remaining yeast interacts with the sugar producing natural CO2, and you end up with a carbonated beer. After allowing it to age from a few weeks to a several months we finally get the desired result - hand crafted, all natural beer!
The spirit of the hop has ascribed to it several valuable qualities. That it is cordial and warm, aperitive, digestive, diuretic, stomachic, and sudorific. It certainly acts as a tonic and anti-spasmodic; and it's aromatic bitter restores the depraved appetite, corrects unwholesome nutriment, promotes digestion, and increases the nutritive quality and virtue of all food eaten with it - William Loftus, 1856, The Brewer: A Familiar Treatise on the Art of Brewing