This time I would like to get into the production process.
In the brewing process, malt, water, and hops are first combined to make the wort from which, adding yeast, the beer is created or rather fermented. Sounds easy, but the truth is that it is a bit more complicated!
Yeast is the microorganism that is responsible for fermentation in beer. Yeast metabolises the sugars extracted from grains, which produces alcohol and carbon dioxide, and thereby turns wort into beer. In addition to fermenting the beer, yeast influences the character and flavour.
The dominant types of yeast used to make beer are the top-fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae and bottom-fermenting Saccharomyces uvarum or carlsbergensis. Brettanomyces, wild and airborne yeast, is responsible for a spontaneous fermenting process and depicts the third category of beers, the lambics. Today most modern fermentation adds pure yeast cultures, though.
Among these 3 categories mentioned above ranges an incredible vast variety of beers. There are hundreds of different varieties using different qualities of raw material. The raw material is manipulated in the following steps of production: cracking, lautering, boiling and fermentation. These steps imply a very specific biochemical process that has to be understood entirely. Therefore, I dedicate most of my leisure time to studying these reactions and the different qualities of raw material for the desired final product.
When I get down on the streets of Berlin I realize that craft beer is on everyone’s lips: bold beers from independent brewers whose goal is to create something unique and beautiful – beers that do not submit to taste conventions. Craft beer, the product of artisan brewing methods, is an alternative to homogenized, industrial mass products. More and more craft brewers set up shops in Berlin, the city’s beer scene is rapidly growing, home now to several craft beer festivals, a decent number of beer bars, and even an online magazine highlighting young, independent producers.
Michael Schwab, my HE from Brewbaker, is a part of it all. He is been brewing flavours outside of the typical German Pilsner, Lagers, and wheat beers for over a decade, incorporating ingredients like elderflower, pumpkin seeds, and ginger into his beers. He makes a Pilsner, but in his way, and it’s probably not too close to the traditional one. He was the first one with an IPA in Berlin with a very impressing hoppy flavour. Then he was the first one with a stout, or at least regularly produced. Furthermore, he brought back the Berliner Weisse to the market. He always tries to find something new. To sum it all up, this year Michael Schwab has produced a variety of nearly 30 different beers, with each of it using different kinds of raw material. This is a new and extremely vast world to me, but slowly I am starting to become a part of it by working on it and studying the production process. I am really making an effort, but there are still a lot of things to learn.