BEAUTY MAY BE IN THE EYE OF THE BEER HOLDER, BUT REMEMBER THIS ADVICE FROM NEWSTEAD BREWING CO’S MARK HOWES NEXT TIME YOU CRACK OPEN YOUR FAVOURITE FROTHY
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.”