Central and North Burnett Times - - READ -

With sum­mer storms brew­ing, the surf breaks froth­ing and the Aus­tralia Day long week­end bar­relling down on us, there’s noth­ing like crack­ing open a fresh beer from where it was made. Queens­land has be­come awash with craft beer over the past year with more than 90 brew­ers now pow­er­ing our fastest grow­ing manufactur­ing sec­tor and an in­dus­try worth $62 mil­lion a year. It’s no won­der the State Govern­ment has big plans to make Queens­land Aus­tralia’s premier beer tourism des­ti­na­tion. But what makes for per­fect beer drink­ing in the Queens­land cli­mate? We asked New­stead Brew­ing Co CEO Mark Howes, who cou­ples an as­tute beer palate with a PhD in molec­u­lar cell bi­ol­ogy, to put to bed six bo­gus beer myths.

MYTH ONE Beer is bet­ter in glass than cans

“Glass or cans as a beer trans­porta­tion ves­sel are both equally ap­pro­pri­ate,’’ Mark says. “Beer never touches the alu­minium — the in­side of the cans are lined with an in­ert epoxy coat­ing.’’ How­ever, Mark be­lieves cans are su­pe­rior to bot­tles in some as­pects. “They are lighter and, there­fore, cheaper to trans­port, while also cool­ing down quicker,’’ he says. “They have less head space (post­pack­ag­ing) and gen­er­ally can store beer bet­ter for longer. “They have more ad­ver­tis­ing space com­pared to the ves­sel di­men­sions, mak­ing them look more aes­thet­i­cally ap­peal­ing. “You also can­not shot­gun a bot­tle with­out some mi­nor lac­er­a­tions.” But beer is bet­ter out of a glass. “Re­ally, any re­cep­ta­cle that has a large sur­face area to vol­ume ra­tio, al­low­ing the aro­matic, volatile com­pounds to come out,” Mark says. “The more sur­face area, the more aro­mat­ics can in­fil­trate the senses. The prob­lem with both beer bot­tles and beer cans is they have a small open­ing, re­strict­ing the egress of the aro­mat­ics. “Whether your beer is in a bot­tle or a can, al­ways pour it into a glass. Or don’t, it is con­tex­tual. “If you are hav­ing beers at a friends’ bar­be­cue, shut up and just drink it.”

MYTH TWO Beer is best con­sumed as cold as pos­si­ble

Mark reck­ons serv­ing tem­per­a­ture comes down to pref­er­ence and style. “Some aro­mat­ics come out from the beer more quickly with in­creased tem­per­a­ture,” he says. “So the warmer the beer, the more flavours you can per­ceive. “Al­ter­na­tively, the de­sire for some­thing re­fresh­ing and crisp gen­er­ally cor­re­lates to colder tem­per­a­tures. “The gen­eral con­sen­sus is light, hoppy or easy drink­ing beers can be con­sumed colder (3-6C), while heav­ier, malty and com­plex beers are more enjoyable warmer (6-10C).”

MYTH THREE If you buy beer warm, then store it warm un­til you’re al­most ready to drink it

“Try not to ever buy warm or room tem­per­a­ture beer,’’ Mark says. “In­creased tem­per­a­ture can ac­cel­er­ate the ox­ida­tive process, mak­ing the beer taste old, pa­pery or dull. “Get your beer cold ASAP and keep it cold and drink it straight away. 95 per cent of beers taste the best the minute they leave the brew­ery, de­cay­ing by the se­cond, just like our mor­tal bod­ies. “Some beers (the 5 per cent) can age for a few years — al­most as long as some wines — if they are higher in al­co­hol, have in­creased malt com­plex­ity (par­tic­u­larly con­tain­ing black malts), or have been (re)fer­mented with wild yeast and good bac­te­ria.’’ Ac­cord­ing to Mark, the gen­eral rule is “if it is hoppy, drink it fresh”. “Hops have a very short shelflife be­fore they are per­ceiv­ably af­fected by un­avoid­able ox­i­da­tion. They last only a few weeks, to a cou­ple months at most,’’ he says. How­ever, if it’s malty, yeasty or com­plex it may im­prove with age­ing. “This ag­ing process is best per­formed be­tween 10-16C — never let your beer get over 16C,’’ he says.

MYTH FOUR Stouts con­tain more calo­ries than other beers

“Calo­ries in beer are mostly driven by al­co­hol con­cen­tra­tion,” Mark says. “All beer should not con­tain sim­ple sug­ars (<0.1 per cent), but will have a mod­er­ate amount of com­plex car­bo­hy­drates, which do add to calo­ries. “Gen­er­ally stouts have more com­plex car­bo­hy­drates, but they do not af­fect calo­ries as much as al­co­hol. So the lighter your beer in al­co­hol, the less calo­ries it will gen­er­ally have. “A 4 per cent stout will have less calo­ries than a 6 per cent pale ale. “In gen­eral, an av­er­age beer will con­tain about 150-200 calo­ries, roughly a can and a half of Coke.”

MYTH FIVE Beer has no nu­tri­ents

Rest as­sured, your favourite drop is chock-full of good stuff. “Beer is packed with nu­tri­ents, par­tic­u­larly B-vi­ta­mins, mag­ne­sium and potas­sium,” Mark prom­ises.

MYTH SIX Low al­co­hol means low flavour

“Lots of things add flavour to beer, be­yond ethyl al­co­hol,” Mark says. “Hops, spe­cialty malts, yeast es­ters and phe­no­lics. “Our mid-strength has more dry hops in it and more com­plex car­bo­hy­drates (short chain dex­trins) than our pale ale. “It is dif­fi­cult to ac­count for the rel­a­tively thin mouth­feel of a low al­co­hol beer. “Brew­ers can ei­ther en­sure more com­plex car­bo­hy­drates or more non-bit­ter­ing hops (which are loaded with oils) are added to bridge this flavour gap.”

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