Beer is the staple of any bar, the life blood. It’s likely you will be selling this more than anything else. Therefore you’ll need to be quite familiar with beer. Beer is made by taking water, a grain (usually malted barley) and hops and mixing them together to create a substance called wort.
From there the wort is placed in a fermenter where the fermentation process begins. After fermentation it is typically filtered and bottled.
Before barley is added to the wort it goes through a process of its own called malting. During the malting process barley is allowed to germinate by soaking it in water. Germination allows the sugar content to increase within the grain which in turn helps the fermentation process.
After germination the grain is placed in a kiln where it is heated and dried. During this stage the heat can be manipulated in various ways to create different kinds of malts. Different malts all have their own unique flavor.
The other main ingredient of beer is hops. Hops are what give the beer its bitter taste. They are the flowers of the hop plant. The bitter taste of hops comes from plant oils within the flowers. This bitter flavor helps to balance the sweetness of the malt.There are two main types of beer- ales and lagers. All beer will fall under one of these parent categories.
Here are some of the more popular kinds of beer:
Pale ale- These ales are typically gold or copper in color. They are generally considered very “hoppy” tasting. Its also not uncommon for pale ales to have a slightly fruity taste to them.
Porter-Porters are a very dark ale and contain a high amount of hops.
Stout- Stouts are another kind of ale and they are even darker than porters. They have a creamy head and a bitter sweet taste.
Bock- Bocks are a type of lager that originate from Germany. They are usually higher in alcohol content them most other lagers.
Pilsner- This is a type of lager that originates from the town of Pilsner in the Czech Republic. It has a crisp, dry flavor.
Amber- Ambers are a type of lager with a slight malty flavor.
The world of beer comes with its own vocabulary. In order to describe different flavors to your customers you’ll need to be familiar with these descriptions.
Hoppy- This term refers to the bitter taste of the hops within a beer. If a beer is described as “hoppy” it has more of a bitter taste than sweet.
Malty- This is just the opposite of hoppy. Malty refers to the stronger emphasis on a sweet taste.
Dry-This refers to the lack of sweetness within the beer.
Undertone– This is a more subtle flavor to the beer. Often times this flavor can present itself as an after taste. It will always be less dominate than the primary flavor.
Light-This is exactly how it sounds. It refers to beers that don’t a strong syrupy consistency. They are generally crisp and refreshing.
Crisp-This is a great word to describe a beer that is both light and hoppy.
Finish-This is just another word for aftertaste.
As a bartender you’ll need to familiarize yourself with your bars beers. Know which beers are ales and which are lagers. It’s also best to be able to describe the flavors of each beer to your guests.