WRITER Chris Doorley
The human love affair with beer was built over many pints. Five thousand years ago, the Chinese, Egyptians, and Mesopotamians first fermented grains to yield a froth pretty different from today’s pint. Ancient Greeks liked it so much, they drafted their own recipe, as did the Romans after them, then the Germans, Czechs, Belgians, and Irish. European brewing was born. Back in the Middle Ages, beer was more than just enjoyable; the “cooking” process rendered the liquid grain sterile, making it much safer to drink than water. These days, beer is made of four primary ingredients: barley, hops, water, and yeast. Lagers and pilsners are made with “bottom-fermenting” yeasts, and are typically fermented at cooler temperatures; ales and stouts are made with “top-fermenting” yeasts, which ferment best at warmer temperatures. Whichever you prefer, there’s a European version you’ll want to try. Here, Heidi Smith, a bartender at Jackalope, in Austin, TX, shares some of her favorites.