April 7th is National Beer Day and in honor of this festive occasion, we’d like to take a few moments to talk about one of the key ingredients…not the golden barley, nor the ever-influential hops, nor even the bubbly yeast, but the joining, yet under-rated, element that brings these all together – water! To quote one brewer – “Water is to beer as Kris Jenner is to the Kardashians. You know she’s there, behind the scenes… But under no circumstances can she be ignored.”
Brewing has traditionally been an activity based on local materials…local barley, local hops, local H2O. That means that the quality of brewer’s water has had a large influence on the character of the beer. For example, regions with high levels of bicarbonate in their water, such as London or Dublin, have become known for their darker beers. By contrast, the Czech town of Pilsen has very soft water which contributed to the fresh flavors of Pilsner Urquell, the very first pilsner beer.
At Burton Energy Group, our favorite beer though is the pale ale. This could be due to the delicious, hop-forward taste with a malty flavor and a golden to amber color…or…it could be because the birthplace of this libation was in Burton-on-Trent in England. The water of the River Trent is very hard, and especially rich in calcium sulphate (gypsum) which allows the town’s famous pale ales to smoothly feature the bitterness of hops while subtly adding characteristics of Sulphur. In fact, the water of Burton is so famous that brewers who want to brew pale ales may “Burtonize” their water, adding minerals to mimic the original.
So, grab your favorite frosty beverage, take a swig, and do some water quality testing of your own! Cheers – Prost – Gān Bēi – Santé – Salud – Skål – Na zdorovie