It’s National Drink Beer Day – and in honor of the holiday, we’d love to take a moment to bring your attention to that pint glass of water you’re holding.
That beer you’re about to lift? It’s really just a little malt and hops in water. Actually, that glass is at least 95% water by volume. And that water also supports the growth of the yeast that turn hops, barley, sugar and water into ale.
Makes sense that the quality and flavor of your beer probably has more to do with the quality of your water than any other ingredient!
In the past, breweries were located in areas with good water supplies. And the water gave the beer its distinct flavor. Today’s craft beer market is much the same – each brewer, from large to small, depends heavily on the flavors of the water they use to make that beer.
“People have always thought about the water, because if you went back 100 years ago, when maybe you couldn’t do anything about the water — people put breweries where there were great water supplies,” brewmaster Garrett Oliver says. “The flavor of the beer would often be based upon the local water. And they would position the brewery in the right place to take advantage of that.”
Now that those breweries are expanding to meet a growing market, many have to recreate their recipes — starting with the water.
There’s an art to combining flavors and refining a style. But brewers also bring a certain scientific rigor to their beer-making. That’s partly due to health concerns, like the need for sanitary conditions, says craft beer expert Julia Herz. “It’s also tied to how water’s different qualities affect beer’s flavor — minerals, pH, that sort of thing.”
This is also one case where completely pure water may not be best for getting the job done, either. Yeast need some of the things filtration removes – like manganese, zinc, copper and iron – to survive and thrive.
But brewers often do not understand the relationship of water flavor and mineral content on beer production. For example, soft water with low mineral content and low carbonates is best for lager beers, according to www.maltingandbrewing.com. Other beers require higher mineral levels for proper flavor. It is said that the hard water in Burton-On-Trent was ideal for pale ales while the soft water of Dublin made for great stout. And all stages of beer production require large amounts of water to produce a quality brew.
This is where careful scientific testing of exactly what’s in the water becomes essential for recreating the brew’s flavor when manufactured from another water source. You may not need to treat your water at all. However, even a little chlorine will kill the yeast and the flavor will come through in the beer – something our water treatment systems can easily remove.
Better water makes better beer. Pure and simple.
Until next time, Cheers!
Chris at Culligan Scotia
Want a free water test – on us?
Give us a buzz at: 518-618-2072 and we’ll be happy to come on by and see what’s in your water!