close up of beer

7 Science-backed Reasons Beer May Be Good For You

Sometimes there’s nothing better than cracking open a cold one after a long day.

Saturday, March 17th 2018, 7:03 pm EDT by NBC News


Wednesday, April 18th 2018, 12:50 pm EDT

Sometimes there’s nothing better than cracking open a cold one after a long day.

We tend to view beer as a guilty pleasure — maybe because we associate all those suds with a beer gut and inevitable weight gain. But you’ll be happy to hear that, when consumed in moderation (we repeat, moderation), the benefits of a pint of beer go may far beyond helping you wind down after a stressful week.

What exactly constitutes “drinking in moderation,” anyway? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate alcohol consumption as having one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. While research does show there is room for imbibing as part of a balanced, healthy diet, they also advise not to start drinking if you currently abstain.

But if you do keep a six-pack in the fridge, pop one open and say “cheers” to these potential health benefits.


Many experts agree that beer is more like a food than a beverage — after all, it is referred to as liquid bread. If you’ve ever sipped a pint of Guinness, you know exactly what they mean. While that does mean you need to be mindful of how many calories you’re sipping in each glass, it also means the liquid contains some good-for-you nutrients.

According to one study, “beer contains more protein and B vitamins than wine. The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine, but the specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine.”

Charlie Bamforth, a professor of brewing sciences at the University of California, Davis, also claims that beer trumps wine when it comes to B vitamins, phosphorus, folate and niacin. Beer also has significant protein and some fiber. And it is one of a few significant dietary sources of silicon, which research shows can help prevent osteoporosis. Preliminary research by Bamforth also suggests that beer may contain prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in our gut.


A study published in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that people who drink 3 to 4 times per week were less likely to develop diabetes than those who never drink. And when compared to those who didn’t drink beer, men who enjoyed between one and six beers per week had a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes.


Wine tends to be the choice on the bar menu associated with a healthy heart. But there’s reason to love beer for the same reason. A preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016 followed 80,000 participants for six years and found that moderate drinkers had the slowest decline in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, levels — and in turn, a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. Research also shows that of men who have already suffered a heart attack, those that drank beer moderately were 42 percent less likely to die of heart disease.


Move over milk — could there be a new bone-building beverage in the fridge? A review published in the International Journal of Endocrinology found that moderate beer consumption increased bone density in men. No, it’s not the buzz that’s helping those bones grow: it may be the silicon found in your pint, which is an essential mineral for bone formation.

Another benefit of having silicon on the ingredients list? It helps protect your brain from compounds thought to eventually cause cognitive diseases. Which may be why researchers at Loyola University in Chicago found that moderate beer drinkers are 23 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia than those who don’t drink beer. Another explanation: Beer is shown to raise good cholesterol which improves blood flow to the brain.

And ordering a few pints may give you a boost at trivia night. According to one study, people with a slight beer buzz solved puzzles faster than their sober counterparts. In fact, alcohol made subjects almost 30 percent more likely to find the unexpected solution.

A study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found that beer can keep bacteria from forming — and growing — on your teeth. The researchers tested the effects of beer extracts on the bacteria that form biofilm and promote tooth decay and gum disease, and found that even the weakest extract of beer tested blocked the activity of bacteria. Beer was also one of the best extracts for blocking communication between bacteria, which slows their growth. Good old Guinness was the beer they used in testing — another reason to channel your inner Irishman at the bar.


Next time your spouse asks why you’re still at the bar, tell them you’re fighting inflammation.

Inflammation in the body is the underlying cause behind many diseases, and according to a study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, hops (an essential ingredient in beer) has anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers compared the anti-inflammatory effect of different hops and found that the consumption of hops in beer form interfered with inflammation causing compounds.


A study conducted by a psychologist at the University of Texas found that people who drink moderately live longer than those who don’t. But don’t use it as a license to binge drink this weekend because heavy alcohol use can negatively impact your health. The jury is still out, but studies suggest that a healthy amount of beer can add years to your life, given that it positively impacts cholesterol levels, lowers your risk of diabetes and strengthens your heart.

Regardless of the reason why, we’ll take it as a cue to crack open a cold one tonight.

beer glass

Beer Is Officially Good For You Because It ‘reduces Heart Risk’

Cheers to that! Beer is officially good for you because it reduces heart risk and improves brain health, reveal scientists

  • Although calorific, beer contains protein, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • In fact, it contains more of these than wine, which is often considered healthier
  • A pint also contains chemicals which can reduce the risk of heart disease
  • But drinking should still be limited to a pint a day for men or a half for women


It’s one of the world’s favourite alcoholic beverages.

And, fortunately for millions of pub-goers, it seems that beer may have a number of unexpected health benefits, too.

In addition to quenching your thirst, a well-earned pint also contains nutritional ingredients which help to reduce heart risk and boost brain health.

Raise your glasses: Beer boasts more protein and B vitamins than wine, is high in antioxidants and can reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease

That’s according to scientists who’ve published research in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences.

They claim beer boasts more protein and B vitamins than wine, is high in antioxidants and can reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

‘The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine, but the specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine,’ the study says.

‘Physicians should be aware of the growing evidence supporting the nutritional and health benefits of moderate consumption of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle.’

Nutritionist Sisi Yip told the South China Morning Post: ‘Beer contains trace amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium, fluoride, and silicon.

‘Beer also includes a range of polyphenols such as flavonoids and phenolic acids that contribute directly to flavour, haze, body and fullness.’

These polyphenols are naturally-occurring compounds found in plants, including flavonoids and phenolic acid, that benefit the human body and help fight disease.

Natural ingredients: The polyphenols in beer can reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes, blocked arteries and heart disease, which also protecting cognitive function

When ingested, they can help to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes, and heart disease, while also protecting cognitive function.

Drinking beer can also lead to greater levels of high-density lipoprotein – AKA good cholesterol. This helps to thin the blood and remove plaque in the arteries.

However, there’s a snag: these benefits are only enjoyed when beer is consumed in moderation, not in vast quantities.


According to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, it’s safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

This equates to:

– Six x 175ml glasses of wine

– Six pints of larger

– Five pints of cider

– Fourteen 25ml glasses of spirits


According to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, drinkers should not consume more than fourteen units per week on a regular basis. This equates to six 175ml glasses of wine, six pints of larger, five pints of cider or fourteen 25ml glasses of spirits.

Exceeding this could result in liver damage, heart disease and weight gain.

‘Spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week. Ideally, the health limit is up to one pint for men and half a pint for women per day,’ Yip adds.

Meanwhile, in other beer news, a pair of entrepreneurial mothers have given new meaning to the phrase ‘nursing a hangover’ by marketing a brand of beer especially toward nursing moms — and Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan.

Au Liquid Gold — so named because breast milk is often referred to as liquid gold — is an oatmeal stout created for women who’d like to kick back with a cold one while breastfeeding.

The brand cites lactation experts who recommend drinking beer to increase milk production while nursing, and says this particular brew is packed with ingredients that will boost mom’s flow.

Naturally, the beer has hops, which the company says not only increases milk production but can also treat dry and cracked skin and work as an anti-inflammatory.

It’s made with oatmeal, which is said to be good for milk production, and can also help with inflammation.

Other purported milk-boosting ingredients include fenugreek and red raspberry leaf, and they added other ingredients with health benefits like coconut milk and coriander seed.

frothy beers - good picture

Is Beer Good For You?

A recent Daily Mail article announced that: “Beer is officially good for you”. The article claimed that beer “reduces heart risk” and “improves brain health”. Even if “heart risk” sounds a bit vague, the news sounds good.

But let’s take a closer look at the evidence. The Daily Mail cites the source of the research as The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. The journalist even provides a quote from the study, which was published in 2000:

The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine, but the specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine.

The Daily Mail article goes on to say that beer can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, it can protect cognitive function and it can boost levels of high-density lipoprotein (so-called good cholesterol) – although it’s not clear if the journalist is citing the study at this point or a nutritionist.

Before we look at whether or not beer is good for your health, we first need to look at what’s in beer.

Beer is made from four primary ingredients: grain (mainly barley, but it could be other grains), hops, yeast and water. Table 1 provides a summary of the nutrients found in a 330ml serving of beer.

Table 1: The nutrition information of beer. Mayur Ranchordas, Author provided

Beer also contains micronutrients called polyphenols. Some of these polyphenols, such as flavanoids, flavanols and phenolic acids, have known health benefits, although a lot of the research has focused on wine, not beer.

But what about the specific health claims made in the article? Does beer really reduce “heart risk”? Most studies on beer suggest that low to moderate consumption could reduce the risk of heart disease. The reported effects are similar to those found in wine.

The Daily Mail article also claims that beer can “boost brain health”, although the evidence for this is somewhat shaky. A recent study that tracked 550 men and women over the course of 30 years, concluded that alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels, is associated with negative changes in the brain.

Previous alcohol studies showed a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality, suggesting slightly higher mortality for teetotallers, slightly reduced mortality for light and moderate drinkers, then an increase in mortality for heavy drinkers. However, the latest research, using more complete data, suggests that the relationship between alcohol and mortality is actually linear – the more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to die prematurely. The only age group for whom moderate alcohol consumption still seems to be associated with reduced mortality are women over the age of 65.

It should be noted that the UK guideline for alcohol intake is 14 units for men and women, which equals about five pints of a 5% alcohol beer per week.

Ultimately, the healthy properties found in beer such as flavanoids, flavanols and phenolic acids can also be obtained from non-alcoholic plant-based food and drinks. So don’t be fooled by the eye-catching headlines; beer may have some health benefits, but that doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest way to obtain those benefits.

It should also be noted that the study quoted by the Daily Mail concluded: “There is no evidence to support endorsement of one type of alcoholic beverage over another.”

BEST beer making

Start Brewing Your Own Beer At Home With This Prime Day Deal

A popular thing people like to do these days is brew beer at home. I’ve never gotten into it – seems like too much hassle when I could just go to the packie – and maybe you haven’t either. But I do respect blokes who brew their own beer. If you want to be one of them, you obviously need some serious equipment. Well, like in so many other respects today, Prime Day has you covered.

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Photo via Amazon

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BEST beer making

How To Make Beer At Home: The Brewing Guide


You don’t make your own beer to perfect the flavor, really. With more than 6,000 ­breweries in the U.S. alone, there’s a good chance someone’s ­already brewing something you enjoy. You make beer for one reason: because it’s fun. That you also get beer out of it is just a delicious bonus.

Getting Started

You don’t need fancy gadgets, says John LaPolla, cofounder of Bitter & Esters, a home-brew shop in Brooklyn, who’s been brewing since 1991 and still uses buckets. “Most people spend around $200 on equipment and ingredients,” LaPolla says. First, find a home-brewing-supply shop near you at

The Easy Way: Buy a starter kit. A five-gallon setup from Bitter & Esters costs $150 and includes a ­recipe, ingredients, and all the gear except the ­kettle and the bottles.

Anytime, Anywhere

You don’t need a brewery, a science lab, or even a garage. “I used to brew five gallons of cider in my kitchen cupboard. Then I graduated to the bottom of a utility shelf, then my closet,” says Douglas Amport, the other cofounder of Bitter & Esters.

Although there’s no ideal time of year for brewing, most beers do well between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In hotter climates, you can buy special yeast that works at up to 90 degrees, or put your fermenter in the fridge or a cooler filled with ice.

Step 1. Make the Starter Wort

Yeast is an essential part of the beer process. These fungi feast on sugars, making alcohol as they go. The more yeast cells at work, the better the job they do at making alcohol. In this first step of the beer-making process, the yeast cells get a head start, hungrily dividing and populating as they feast on dry malt extract.


2 quarts water

6 ounces dry malt extract

1 package instant starter wort

First, heat the water and malt to a boil for 10 minutes and then cool to 60 degrees F. You can check the temperature with a thermometer or by rule of thumb (it should be about room temperature).

Sanitize the gallon container with a no-rinse sterilizer or by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, pitch the yeast by tossing in around 33 billion yeast cells (numbers depend on your starter kit) into the 60-degree wort. Cover the starter wort and put aside. Make sure the container is not airtight (aluminum foil will do the job).

Heating The Water and Malt

Heating water and malt for the starter wort.

Add Yeast To Wort

Adding the yeast to the wort.

Seal the Bottle

Sealed, but not air tight.

Step 2: Make The Mash

Making a mash is not always necessary–you can brew a perfectly good lager or ale with prepackaged malt extract. But for this recipe, we’re going all out, with an all-grain beer– we extract the sugars from the grain ourselves. The recipe we’re following is for a beer in the Belgian white or “wit” sytle. It’s called “Wit Ginger, Not Mary Ann,” and was published by the esteemed beer-brewing magazine, Zymurgy.


11 pounds of grain

11 quarts of water

Our grains include 5 pounds Belgian pilsner malt, 4.5 pounds of German wheat malt, 1.0 pound of flaked oats, and 0.5 pounds of caramel pils malt.

Take the mash (all the ingredients above in a pot) and bring it up to 150 degrees F, keeping it at that exact temperature for 1 hour.

* Test the mash: The point of mashing is to turn starches in the grain into sugars and extract them into a sweet liquor. After 1 hour, you want to make sure this process has taken place. Take out a spoonful of the water and grain mix and place a drop of iodine in it. The murky brown iodine will change to black in the presence of starch–this means you need to do some more mashing. If there’s enough sugar, the color will remain the same.

Add the grain for the mash

Adding the grain (11 pounds) for the mash.

Prepping the Strainer

We used rice hulls on the bottom of our DIY strainer–as well as mixed into the mash–to make sure that the grains didn’t gum up the works.

Step 3: Straining and Sparging

Pour the mash into a lauter tun, a big strainer used for separation of the extracted wort, to drain the sweet liquor from the grain. For our budget lauter tun, we drilled 1/8-inch holes into one 5-gallon bucket and placed this strainer on top of another 5-gallon bucket.

First Runnings

Capture the runoff liquor in your brewpot. This liquor is called the first runnings. Once all the liquor has run off, heat the rest of the water–1/2 gallon per pound of grain at 180 degrees F (according to this recipe)–over the grain in the lauter tun. Again capture the runoff (second runnings) in the brewpot.

The sweet liquor in the brewpot is now what’s known as a wort, and it’s ready to boil.

Step 4: The Boil


1 ounce 4.8 percent alpha-acid Styrian Goldings hops

1/2 teaspoon of ginger

1 cinnamon stick

It’s time to raise the wort to a vigorous boil. The boil kills offending bacteria or wild yeast and releases DMS, a chemical byproduct of heating that gives a flavor akin to sweet corn. During this process, watch carefully, as the wort is prone to boil over, resulting in a sticky mess that makes for a tough cleanup.

As soon as a boil is reached add the hops to the wort and continue to boil for 60 minutes. Hops added at this point in the process give beer its bitterness, because of the alpha acids that are extracted. Since Belgian wits aren’t terribly bitter, our recipe called for just 1 ounce of 4.8 percent alpha-acid Styrian Goldings hops (the higher the percentage of alpha acids the more bitter the hops). In most beer recipes another addition of hops is made 2 to 5 minutes from before the end of the boil to give flavor and aroma. Our recipe forgoes these additions–wheat beers are light on the hop flavor–but it does call for an addition of 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and a cinnamon stick 5 minutes before the end of the boil.

Add Cinnamon, Per Recipe

Adding a cinnamon stick, a special touch of flavor called for in this recipe, in the last 5 minutes of the boil.

Step 5: Cool The Beer and Pitch The Yeast

Boiling wort should be cooled as quickly as possible since the cooling period is the time when the beer is most vulnerable to microorganisms present in the air. Cooling can be achieved with a wort chiller, like the one pictured here, or by dipping the brewpot into a sink full of ice water. Do not add ice directly to the beer.

The beer should be cooled to 68 degrees F, strained and transferred to a sanitized carboy, where the beer will stay through its first few days of fermentation.

Affix a blowoff tube to the top of the carboy–the other end of it should be placed under a couple inches of water to seal it from the outside environment while the carbon dioxide escapes. You’ll start to see a vigorous fermentation at anywhere from 8 to 26 hours into the process.

After one week, visible fermentation will have subsided and the wort should be transferred (via a siphon) to another sanitized container. Our recipe called for the addition of a vanilla bean at this stage. Two weeks after this transfer the beer should be bottled.

The Wort Chiller

The wort chiller, pictured here, is attached to the sink and runs cold water through copper tubing to quickly cool down the boil.

Strain and Transfer the Beer

Here, we are straining and transferring the beer to a sanitized carboy. Notice the bubbles in the bottle–those are the product of the no-rinse sterilizer.

Proper Coloring of Belgian Wheat

Straining the beer. After two days this murky brown beer cleared up, looking more like a proper Belgian Wheat.

Sanitize Everything

First things first, everything the beer touches (bucket, siphon, bottling wand, bottles) should be sanitized before you begin the bottling process. Don’t slack off here, else your beer could pick up flavors you don’t want.

Hospital sterilization isn’t necessary, but it is important to avoid bacteria. You’ll need to clean work surfaces and brewing implements with soap and water. A sanitizer kit such as Star Sankills the microbes that change the flavor of your beer. Just pour it on your equipment and wait 30 seconds.

Step 6: Bottling

Take 3/4 cup of corn sugar and boil it for 15 minutes in a pint of water. Cool the sugar water and add it to the bottom of a bottling bucket. Then transfer the beer to this bucket. The sugar water gives the yeast something to eat while inside the sealed bottle for a final stage of fermentation, where the beer gets its characteristic bubbles. After two weeks at room temperature, the beer should be fully carbonated and ready to be drink.

What To Do When Your First Batch Is Terrible

My first batch of beer was intended to be an easy-drinking English-style pale ale. It wasn’t even pale—more of a hazy caramel. The taste was uniformly awful, simultaneously cloyingly sweet and egregiously bitter. And was that a hint of gym socks in the aroma? When a friend asked to try a bottle—it was college, so: free beer!—I tried to blow the aromatic nastiness off the top without his noticing. I was willing to endure the bizarre awkwardness of whistling at his beer for the hope of my dreadful ale tasting a little less vulgar. It barely helped, but we naively drank the whole batch.

My beer got better. Yours will too. It always does. I bought fresher ingredients—nothing from a can—and avoided my first-batch pitfalls of fermenting too warm and with unenthusiastic yeast. The next brew was a brown ale that was still too sweet, but mostly palatable, and I didn’t have to blow it a kiss before serving. I smartly followed that by brewing a blond ale with enough fresh ginger to cover all but the most obvious failings. And by my fourth batch, a near-black porter, I had legitimately good beer in my bottles. I’m not sure if my friends cared—or noticed—but I know I did.—Matt Allyn

How to Name Your Beer

Pick whichever sounds better, your first or last name. Never both. If you’re having a hard time deciding between them, pick the one that the ring announcer at a UFC fight would draw out longer. The easiest option is to simply add the style of beer after that name. If it’s your first name, it gets a possessive (Cameron’s Pale Ale). If it’s your last name, it does not (Johnson Porter).

If you’re feeling creative, beer makers love word play (Hopular Mechanics, Augmented Reality).

For subsequent batches, add a number at the end.


Home-brewers are a talkative and helpful community. If you can, find a home-brew club near you. Home-brew stores will also answer most questions and taste your beers to help you determine where you might have gone wrong. You can also try your local microbrewery. “There is a blurred line between home-brew and small breweries, so ask them questions,” says LaPolla.

heavenly beer

New Faces New Places: Providing Organic Products For The Best Home Brew

Brewing beer at home has been a longtime hobby for Jordan Trask, but when he wanted to take the quality of his homebrew to the next level by switching over to organic ingredients, he ran into more trouble than anticipated.

“I knew the products existed, but I couldn’t source them,” he explains. “So rather than continuing my search as a consumer, I decided to start a business that would carry everything in one place and give other like-minded consumers a one-stop-shop to buy organic ingredients for brewing beer.”

So he started Organic Brew Supplies — an online business that brings together everything a home brewer needs to create the perfect pint of organic beer.

Trask can ship his products countrywide but says he is happy to meet with his Saskatoon customers in person to help them get exactly what they are looking for and talk on the finer details that go into brewing a great beer.

“The great thing about (brewing) is you can get as deep as you want into it,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be intimidating, and there’s a really great community … there are a lot of like-minded people who meet up and discuss ideas — whether in person or online.”

And so far Trask says his “one-of-a-kind” business in Canada has been catching on with like-minded beer brewers, counting both hobbyist and small craft breweries among his customers, though he notes he has also been receiving queries from kombucha brewers and even a chocolatier who was looking to find a specific type of organic sugar.

Though his business is based online, Trask is serious about making sure his customers get the personalized service they need, and though he has no current plans to open a retail store, he is excited to see how it grows and gain feedback from his customers.

“There are no dumb questions, and I’m always happy to take someone’s feedback or answer any questions,” he said. “I don’t want people to be intimidated by the whole process of making your own beer because it can be really fun and really rewarding.”

Organic Brew Supplies

Owner: Jordan TraskWebsite: www.organicbrewsupplies.caEmail:


beer with pretzels

International Beer Day 2018: Try These Easy-to-make Beer Cocktails At Home

beer, beer cocktails, international beer day, beer drinks, ginger beer, wheat beer, beer cocktails at home recipe, beer cocktail recipe, indian express, indian express news

This International Beer Day, add a tinge of beer to your cocktail and feel light-headed. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Some people refrain from drinking beer, but there are many others who swear by it. While there are several varieties one can choose from, of late, several microbreweries have opened up — turning beer-making into a legitimate career option. It is no wonder then that August 3 is celebrated as International Beer Day.

ALSO READ | Beer Yoga: The new buzz for fitness enthusiasts

That’s not all, if consumed in moderate amounts, beer can be good for your health too. Some health studies say that beer contains more protein and vitamin B than wine. It is not only high in antioxidants, but it also reduces the rate of cardiovascular diseases. So, why not open a beer bottle to celebrate the day? If you are at home and want to spice up your favourite drink by whipping up a cocktail and mixing it up with other ingredients, we have your back.

Try these cool cocktails with a tinge of beer, and feel light-headed:

Monkey Shoulder Ginger Brewsky

(Recipe developed by Monkey Shoulder Global BA team)

Try Ginger Brewsky and savour its delicious flavour.


25ml — Monkey shoulder20ml — Ginger syrup20ml — Fresh lemon juiceTop beer


* First, add all ingredients other than beer to your shaker.

* Shake well with ice.

* Strain into glass and top with beer.

Four Beer Cocktail

In case you are feeling ambitious and enterprising, you can try this four beer cocktail recipe. Learn how to make Vitamin C brew, Bloody beer, Aperol mist, Srirachalager in this video.

Watch the video to see.

Beer Punch

This video shows you how to make some delicious beer cocktails. While beer remains the dominant form of alcohol, one can use other drinks too.

Watch the video here.

Beer Margarita

In case you are in the mood to drink some beer margarita, all you will need is beer, tequila, and a bit of lime. Watch how to do it.

Watch the video here.

So, what are you planning to make on International Beer Day?

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BEST beer making

What To Know Before Home Brewing

  To make beer, the only ingredients you need are grain, hops, yeast and water. But according to Mark Colomb, a member of local home brewing enthusiast group Home Brewers of Hardin County, it’s the endless variations of these ingredients and the beer maker’s personal touch to their process that makes brewing an alluring pursuit.

Home Brewers of Hardin County will set up a booth June 16 at the Kentucky Craft Beer Festival in Elizabethtown, showcasing the process of home brewing. Colomb, who has been home brewing for about six years, said the hobby has gained traction locally in the past few years.

“There is an increase in the interest in home brewing and that’s a reason why we created the club,” he said.

Colomb said anyone can create their own beer if they can gather the right materials for the job. However, he said getting started might seem intimidating for home brew novices.

“Just looking at the equipment that you need to brew beer can be daunting,” he said.

For a traditional 5-gallon home brew, beginner brewers will need a ceramic or steel boiling pot, a burner, a fermenter with airlocks, a siphon, a large stirring spoon, bottles, a bottle brush, bottle caps and a bottle capper to get started. A thermometer, bottling bucket and hydrometer also are recommended.

Several starter packs containing all or most of these elements are available for purchase online and at home brew supply stores. However, Colomb said these kits often are better for getting an idea of the process than for seriously pursuing home brewing.

He said beginners often will gravitate toward extract brewing, which is less complex than the all-grain process. Extract brewing includes first creating a solution called wort with water, malt extract and hops. The wort then is combined with yeast and left alone for about two weeks so it can ferment. For those who bottle their beer, a priming solution is added to the bottles before adding the beer to ensure carbonation. About another two weeks of waiting is required before serving. A typical 5-gallon session usually will yield about 54 12-ounce bottles, Colomb said.

Aaron Hawkins, co-owner of Flywheel Brewing in Eliza­bethtown, said though brewers have more creative control when using the all-grain approach, using malt extract might be better for beginners because of the fewer steps and equipment needed. The all-grain requires grain mashing and sparging, steps that require additional resources.

“It takes a step out and minimizes risk of not getting necessary sugar out of grain,” he said.

For gathering all of the necessary ingredients for beer, recipe kits are available for purchase online or at home brew stores. These kits include whole grains or malt extracts, hops and brewing instructions. Colomb said these kits are useful for beginners who are learning the process and are not yet ready to experiment with their own recipes.

Hawkins said sanitation is perhaps the most important part of the brewing process. Sanitizing every aspect of equipment is essential before brewing because failure to do so will result in unsavory beer, he said. Colomb suggested using a home brew cleaning solution such as Star San.

“No matter how close you follow a recipe, if it gets compromised post-boil, it’s a ruined batch,” Hawkins said.

For information about the brewing process, Colomb suggested using home brew online forums, searching the internet for brew guides, or visiting brew supply stores, which exist in cities such as Louisville and Bowling Green.

He said the Home Brewers of Hardin County meet monthly and offer advice and assistance with novice brewers as well. Club information and meeting times can be found at

Hawkins said once a potential brewer understands the basics of brewing, creating personalized beer recipes will come much easier and often will prove to be rewarding.

“In my opinion, the best thing about home brewing is getting to make stuff you can’t buy anywhere else,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to add crazy ingredients.”


beer birthday

Father’s Day Beer Gift Ideas – From Delicious Craft Beer Packs To Make-your-own Kits


FATHER’S Day is TODAY, but if you haven’t got a present for your old man yet, don’t panic.  If he likes beer (which we’re guessing he probably does) here are some fun brew-themed alternatives to buying him a pint down the pub on June 17.


Beerwulf offer craft beer multi-packsCraft beer packs You’ve seen him drink dark ales, you’ve seen him drink lager, and he always tries a pint of whatever the pub has on their rotating craft beer tap.  If this sounds about right, why not get dad a selection of craft beers?  Beerwulf is offering a Father’s Day Pack of 12 beers for £25.95.  The beers are from 12 different brewers – including an exclusive fresh and fruity pale ale from Kompaan – and the beers are brewed in six different styles.  There’s sure to be something new and exciting in the pack to please him.


Beer Hawk is selling Father’s Day craft beer selection packs Beer Hawk is also selling a Father’s Day craft beer pack.  For £20 you’ll be able to get your old man five delicious beers, a tasty bar snack and a Dad’s Beer Glass.  The pack features popular brews including Hoegaarden and Goose Island IPA.

The Fowndry’s brew your own beer kit costs £54.99Brew your own beer kits If your dad’s a hands-on person, why not buy him a brew-your-own beer kit?  The Fowndry offers the full works – their kits cost £54.99 and comes with a craft brewing guide, an airlock, thermometer, funnel and easily-explained, step-by-step brewing instructions.  Those who are new to brewing, or on the fence over how much work they want to put in, could opt for a Woodforde’s Admiral’s Reserve Starter Kit.


Woodfordes Admirals Reserve Real Ale Home Brew Kit Much of the process is done for you here, so all you have to do is add water.  The kits cost £22.99 and make 40 pints at 4.5 per cent, or 32 pints at 5.5 per cent.  Whichever kit you choose, most provide the basics: yeast, thermometer and a funnel, but will require you to collect your own bottles before you start bottling.  The kit you choose will come with its own instructions as to how exactly to brew the beer.  Once you’ve added the ingredients, your beers will need a cool, dry room in your house to ferment.  If you don’t have a cellar or an attic, spaces like behind the sofa will do.  Remember, the longer you leave your beer to ferment, the stronger it will be.


Brewing at Adnams brewery in SouthwoldBrewery tours Did you know, lots of the UK’s major breweries offer tours?  If you live near a brewery, it’s worth having a look on their website to see if they take visitors.  Meanwhile, below are three of the best brewery tours on offer in the UK.


Adnams runs daily tours at their brewery in Southwold Adnams, Southwold  Adnams beers can be found on tap or bottled up in pubs across the country.  Their brewery in picturesque Southwold, Suffolk runs daily tours that take roughly an hour.  These are followed up by a 30-minute tutored beer tasting session.  The tours cost £20 per person, and include the tastings and a bottle of beer to take home.

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London Pride is one of the many popular beer brands owned by Fuller’s Fuller’s, West London  Fuller’s brews many of the nation’s favourite beers, including London Pride.   Their tours are a chance to see behind the scenes of a world-famous brewery.  Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London, offers 20 tours a week which last for an hour and a half.  As with all good brewery tours, the session ends with a tasting session of Fuller’s finest ales.

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A glass of London Stout, from left, Yakima Red, and London Pale Ale are seen in this arranged photograph in the tasting rooms at the Meantime Brewing Co. Meantime, East London  Meantime in Greenwich, London is another brewery offering punters the chance to see how their beers all come together.  The tour costs £20 a head and lasts an hour and a half.  Of course, the tours end with a tutored tasting session.


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If beer isn’t really what your dad is after, why not have a browse of our other Father’s Day ideas.

Not a present man? Why not encourage your dad to get fit this Father’s Day instead?

And stuck for what to write in your Father’s Day card? We can help with that too.

beer with pretzels

5 Beer Snacks You Can Make At Home To Impress Your Drinking Buddies


Three of the beer snack choices: beer nuts, from left, garlic and anchovy-roasted cauliflower and broccoli, and cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped dates. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/TNS)  Sweet Pharoah’s chariot, somebody stop me. It’s not enough I keep nagging you how to do stuff you’ve already been doing your whole life (“Press the toaster lever down firmly and resolutely with the right hand .”), now I’m telling you how to drink beer with your friends? Oh, for the love of . Well, at least, if you continue reading, you’ll get some good snacks out of it.  And, no, I don’t mean that I’ll bring you snacks; I mean you can – oh, never mind.  WHY YOU NEED TO LEARN THIS  One quality that made George W. Bush as popular as he was was the fact that he always seemed like “a guy you could have a beer with.” His successor, Barack Obama, once famously held a “beer summit” to bring together two individuals caught up on opposite sides of a national debate on race. Then, of course, there was the great Tom T. Hall, who famously sang, “I like beer. It makes me a jolly good fellow.”  So, that’s why you need to drink beer. As for the rest, beer without snacks is like tentacles without suction cups. (Don’t ask; I was on a deadline.)  THE STEPS YOU TAKE  Consider today’s column to be a reflection on hospitality. A meditation, if you will. Or, a rumination, perhaps, if you happen to be one of those “hideous human-cow hybrids” we discussed in last month’s column. (Let this be a lesson, kids: Never miss an episode of “Prep School.”)  Knowing well the truth behind the concept of the “home field advantage,” we humans have always had a soft spot for the visitor as underdog. We go out of our way to make the guest feel “at home.” Right? Not surprisingly, then, hospitality – the obligation to make the guest or stranger feel welcome – is of paramount importance in many of the world’s great religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Hospitality is why, when Madge is coming over, we do whatever we need to make her feel comfortable, including cleaning the house, or at least the salon. You know how Madge just loves being received in the salon.  Of course, how we define “comfortable” is entirely between you and your guest, and not every guest is as discerning as Madge. Sure, some of us guests hanker for the bone china and starched white linen. Me, I’m more of a plastic plate and paper napkin kind of guy.  At the same time, some of us hosts have all kinds of stops we can pull out: extra cash out the wazoo (can we say “wazoo” in a family paper?), mad culinary skills, you name it. Others of us can barely scrape out a bargain jar of generic honey roasted peanuts. What any of us can or can’t afford in money and time, then, is between us and our god, whoever that may be.  Regardless, we generally agree that our common humanity obliges us to make our guest know that he or she is welcome.  Now, combine that obligation with the good that comes from meetings like Obama’s beer summit, and you start to see that there’s a whole heap of good that comes just from sitting down with the peeps and sharing a small repast. That’s why we go that extra mile.  And as long as we’re on distance metaphors, congrats on taking that first step and reading this here missive on handy snacks you can whip up in 3 to 5 jiffies.  For our purposes, we’re assuming you’re serving your guests something refreshing and possibly alcoholic – like beer or gin rickeys. And for that you need a snack as salty as a locker room colloquy with a head of state.  Now, as we discussed above, you know better than I what falls within your means. However, if you’ve got the time and inclination to spend a little time in the kitchen, here are some simple suggestions that will make your guests know they are welcome:  Chips: If you’ve got a mandoline, thinly slice some peeled potatoes and keep them covered in water. Pour vegetable oil into a large pot until it’s one third full, and heat over medium high to 350 degrees. Dry the potatoes on clean towels, and fry until golden brown. Season with salt, and flavor with your favorite spice mix. Yum.  Beer nuts: Melt a couple of ounces of butter with an equal amount of brown sugar and a teaspoon-ish of your favorite spice mix and some salt. Toss with a couple of cups of raw nuts, and roast in a 375-degree oven until toasty and delicious.  Snack like it’s 1972: Wrap bite-size pieces of dried fruit (date, fig, apricot slices, etc.) in half of a slice of bacon or pancetta per piece, and bake at 350 until crispy, about 15 minutes. If you want to get all crazy, stuff the fruit with goat cheese before wrapping.  Veggie snacks: Mince a couple of cloves of garlic with a few anchovies (trust me), and whisk it into some extra-virgin olive oil. Toss with bite-size cauliflower or broccoli florets to coat and roast, turning once, until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Your stupid friends will make fun of you for serving this, but it will be gone first.  Crunchy chickpeas: Deep-fry or pan-fry cooked chickpeas until they’re crunchy and golden, about 15 minutes, then drain and toss with salt and your favorite spice mix.

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