Beer, the unfathomable mystery of the first crop


  • Beer reigns in the Spanish summer: we are the second consumers in the world


  • From youthful disappointment to adult addiction, once understood, it accompanies you all your life


  • The first mouthful of beer brings you back to yourself, elevating you to a dream paradise

As if it were an initiation rite, the first mouthful of beer it reunites you with yourself, elevating you to a dream paradise. It is life-giving and eternal. Quench anxiety and normalize your vital signs when you’ve been dreaming about that beer for longer than would be reasonable. If you don’t like beer and don’t try it, you won’t understand. But if he likes it, you don’t need to explain anything to him. You are one of us, as that trendy sticker points out. The foam that tops the cup excites you. The cold draft cup to the bottom is addictive, invites you to grab her delicately by the waist. Glass sweats. The color promises you a better life and the good thing is that you know that this promise has an immediate reward.

Few pleasures fill as much as that first craw. The mere presence of foaming and ice-cold beer waiting at the bar, freshly served, is enough to release dopamine in the human brain, which activates the so-called reward circuit. In short, something that people have installed on their hard drive from birth and that invites us to repeat it over and over again because we know it drives us crazy. And so it has been since the Sumerians fermented the first beer in south babylon a few years ago.

Beer reigns at midday in summer

Beer reigns at midday in summeruppers.es

The health authorities should prescribe the first drink – this is a moderate proposal – between June and August. In fact, the first Friday of August every year is the international beer day. They should at least prescribe the first one. Because the second crop is never the same. It also has its former, but it is not the same. The first snatches you, the second is more satiating. The first makes you fall in love, from the second the routine is imposed. Like life itself.

The queen of summer noons

Already in the heat of heat, beer is the queen of the midday. On tap or in the bottle, few can resist its charms. And that is a rare drink. bitter, not particularly palatable. In theory, sure. When you’re young you don’t like it, you prefer sweet. You do not understand anything because in general there are few bitter food products and we are not used to it, although cwith time you educate the palate: read beer. hops are to blame: are the dried flowers and bark of the hop plant, a species of Chinese origin that is grown almost exclusively in the province of León. That’s where the bitterness comes from.

Churchill nailed it: “A lot of people don’t like the taste of beer but that’s just a prejudice.” If when you are young, in addition to that taste rejection, they serve it to you at the wrong temperature, the town hall is a total disaster. Youth’s first encounter with beer is always frustrating. Over the years, having crossed the inexplicable barrier that separated you from the favorite daughter of the barley, you don’t understand how that trigger happened, that sad disagreement between you and her. And to forget you give yourself forever to the religion of the first sip of beer.

Youth's first encounter with beer is almost always frustrating.

Youth’s first encounter with beer is almost always frustrating.uppers.es

Spain is a very beer country. According to the World Beer Index, in 2021 Spain was the second consuming country of beer in the world with 417 beers per inhabitant. Only surpassed by the Czech Republic, which reached the figure of 468. Another figure, in this case from the British portal Money.co, indicates that there are four Spanish cities among the ten most beer-producing in Europe: Madrid, Seville, Malaga and Barcelona. The champion is Prague, followed by a tie between Warsaw and Krakow. And behind, Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin.

There are at least three key issues that you have to attend to in order to enjoy a good beer.

Types

The beer market offers as much variety as there are consumers. It is almost impossible not to find yours. They are usually made from barley, although the Germans and Dutch also make them with wheat. Here are some. The most common is Lager, around 4º of alcohol. Clear, and is usually served very cold. Also known as “thirst beer”. Within the lager there are varieties such as pilsnerthe special lager wave extra lager, depending on the malts used. The ales, for which high fermentation yeasts are used. They offer more complex flavors, sweeter and have a certain cloudiness. Fruity, more aromatic and complex.

Beer black: there are two types. The Stout (very dark and made with roasted malt; and the Portermore powerful, creamy and aroma of cocoa and coffee. Trappist or Abbey: Made in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium, they are ale type with a second fermentation in the bottle. They reach up to 10º. They are beautiful: tanned, with toasted foam, very persistent. They usually have notes of caramel.

The beer market offers as much variety as there are consumers

The beer market offers as much variety as there are consumersuppers.es

Temperature

To each her own. The lighter, the colder, without reaching the freezing point where it loses all the flavor. They could be between 3rd and 10th. The Ales between 7º and 10º. The black ones and the ones from Abadía, between 7th and 13th. Freezing the glasses is an undesirable practice: the jug tends to pick up foreign odours, the frost waters the beer and on top of that you are left floating with pieces like tiny icebergs that are quite unpleasant.

Cup

The cane Spanish is unbeatable. It’s just the right size so it doesn’t get hot. Its limited size is solved by taking more than one. The Pinta is the English measure (590 cl) and the jug It is more used in Germany or the United States. There is a precious piece, the stein jug, which is usually made of porcelain, wood and sometimes with silver inlays: it has a hinge and a thumb-operated lever that opens the lid. It usually has a more decorative than functional use.

cup or chaliceBeer: round with a cut, somewhat thick: ideal for light beers. The teku cup: she is a beauty, with a wide belly and a narrow mouth. Fantastic to taste a beer. The stange glass or tube: it is the glass of all life. Do not think about it and reject it because it is a horror to have a beer there.

If you take a little interest, the experience will be full. If you want to add some erudition read Brewmasters (Planet DeAgostini) or Beer…liquid poetry. A handbook for beer lovers, by Steve Huxley, a guy from Liverpool who, in addition to graduating in classical languages, did good internships in a pub in his neighborhood, where he experimented as much as he could. And in any case, join Jack Nicholson: “Beer is the best damn drink in the world”:

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