DIY Recap: How to Brew Beer

By Paul Masters, CGNE youth member

Recently, Amy and I had the pleasure of visiting the Cambridge Brewing Company with other beer-minded folks under the auspices of the Culinary Guild of New England. If you haven’t heard of the Culinary Guild before, you should absolutely check out their website and events. If you’re interested in craft beer, you’re probably interested in other awesome foods/beverages, and if that’s true, these folks are for you! Not to mention that, if you’ve been dying to meet the intrepid drinkers on this blog, we’ll be at a Guild-hosted event at Taza Chocolate in Somerville on November 1. Register now to save your space!

Anyway, enough of this shameless plugging. At the CBC we sat down with Lead Brewer Jay Sullivan to sample beer and talk about the process of making it. As it turns out, brewing beer is a complex process involving a lot of science. Water, yeast, malt, and hops have to be carefully held in balance, and a brewer has to know and understand the effect that each has on the flavor profile of their beer. Of course, there are many, many, types of malt barley, hops, and yeasts to choose from. The character of the beer you brew depends on which of these you choose, so things can get pretty complicated.

At the CBC they brew all their beer in-house, using lots of fresh ingredients (I recently tried a delicious creation using heirloom pumpkins and a healthy hop-profile called White Widow), and as a result they get to create a lot of excellent brews with unique flavor profiles. The talk was informative and tasty, and I highly recommend you head down to the brew-pub to grab a sampler paddle of your own.

On Paul & Amy on Beer, we’ve tended to focus mostly on the product we receive from great local brewers like the CBC, rather than on the process they use to get our (very important) beer to our favorite local beer stores (Like my personal favorite, The Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA). Every so often though, it is important to recognize how difficult and time intensive brewing beer right can be, and how hard it is to stay innovative in a market increasingly full of really, really delicious beer.

And that’s where we come in. As Amy and I continue to pour through our local beer scene, we raise a glass to the breweries (like the CBC) that make a blog like this, not just possible, but necessary. Go to your local brewer!

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