It’s International Beer Day!

Earlier in the year, we saw National Beer Day pass us by. If you missed your chance to grab a celebratory beer that day after work, today is another opportunity.

In April, I discovered the origins, so I will bypass this and go right into something else.

How Beer Has Changed Over The Years

Ale has evolved since Medieval times due to technique. Malt, oats, yeast and water are the only ingredients used back then.

The liquid containing sugars and protein, the wort, extracted from the grain, was not boiled prior to fermenting.

For it to be considered beer, it had to be boiled with hops.

There are many factors that separate beer from ale from pilsners, etc. But they all have one common ingredient. Sugar. Fermented sugar. These sugars come from the starches in the base malt.

From this common base ingredient, you can make the beer any flavour you wish.

Brew it at a low temperature and you will end up with a lager.

Brewing at a high temperature will produce an ale.

Add hops and you get a pilsner. The quick story on that? It was an accident. After some major spoilage of a batch of lager was thrown away, a professional was hired.

Josef Groll, specifically brought in from Bavaria to “fix” it so the lager wouldn’t spoil, added Saaz hops. Yes, generally, beer has hops in it but Saaz hops has a stronger bite.

Cleaning Up The Beer

One of the biggest changes in beer is the introduction of Ciders. Some have a beer taste and some are made from apple juice that is fermented.

Somersby, the new cider gaining much popularity, is a great gluten-free option. It claims to have no artificial flavours, colour or sweeteners.

It does not have a beer taste which, in my opinion, is a good thing. If you know you are gluten intolerant, it might be a good choice if you are switching away from beer.

It is made by the Danish brewers Carlsberg Group and has spread its Somersby wings across 46 countries.

A phone call may have to be made to Somersby to question the presence of sulphites in their drink.

According to the Nutrition Diva at, sulphites are preservatives and antioxidants. Remember, those antioxidants are what prevents fruit from turning brown.

Notice the last ingredient…

Is Somersby adding the sulphites for this purpose or is it in there naturally?

This from Mahorall Farm Cider where they brew cider without sulphites:

“Using sulphites are one way to kill the natural yeast that is naturally present in apple juice. An added yeast that has been cultured is then added to create a more standardised product and reduces the risk of spoilage and waste for the producer.”

If you are trying to make your own cider, be careful not to purchase a base cider that has chemical preservatives (sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate). These will kill the yeast and it will not ferment.

The process of pasteurization affects the flavour of cider as well. Usually this is through heat, but “cold pasteurization” is another option.

However, this process involves gamma rays. Sounds like an unhealthy way to go. I would likely choose a homemade version.

On that note, there are gluten free beers if you just can’t live without the taste of a cold brew on a hot day. Some breweries will use gluten free grain to produce their final product. Others, such as the Brunehaut, de-glutenize during the brewing process.

As far as sulphites in beer go, it looks like they can be present naturally during the fermentation process but as a practice, breweries do not deliberately add them.

Up And Coming Gluten Free Beer

Estrella Damm Daura – Spain. This beer has won the Superior Taste Award of the International Taste & Quality Institute of Brussels 3 years in a row. Visits to the brewery are allowed. This is the only beer of these 5 that are available at the LCBO in Ontario.

Green’s – Belgium. They brew 9 different gluten free beers ranging from pale to dark. A great option for it’s healthy, ancient grains such as sorghum, millet and brown rice which contain 3 times higher the amount of zinc found in barley.

Omission – A brewery in Oregon specifically crafts all of their beer to be below 20ppm of gluten. (parts per million)

Brunehaut Bio Blonde – Belgium. It’s also an organic and vegan product.

New Planet – Colorado. 3 out of their 5 products are 100% gluten free: Pale, Blonde and Raspberry. Seclusion and Tread Lightly go through the process of de-glutenization and they cannot guarantee it’s complete removal.

Another way beer is morphing is at the Mill St Pub with a newer addition of Barley Wine.

This version is aged in whisky barrels so keep in mind it will have tannins.

With all the eccentric mixes and new brews, don’t forget the classics….

With Clamato Juice

With Ginger Ale

And the best way to have a beer?

With a Margarita!

How about vodka and fruit juice? Well, ok, that’s not a classic version but it sure looks good! See LCBO for recipes.

New opinions on the benefits of beer can be found everywhere. Some even say moderate consumption can be healthy. Go figure!

Cheers to another beer day!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on August 5, 2017.