Barley pop, suds, brewskies – any way you say it, beer is beer

Jessica Taylor

Brews are separated into three categories – lagers, ales, and specialty brews. The separation between a lager and an ale is the type of yeast used in the fermentation process. A specialty beer is anything with a “special” grain that will alter the taste and color. Ales are generally higher in alcohol content than lagers, which are lighter in color and the most common type of brews sold in the U.S. Variations exist in each of these categories, making the average beer drinker’s quest to quench their thirst extensive. The quality of a beer is gauged by four factors – aroma, appearance, taste and finish.

“Like a good wine, the aromatic qualities of the beer add to the overall experience, along with how it will pair with certain foods,” Moody said. “There are more choices today. Many people start off as a Bud Light or Miller drinker. Once they realize there are more varieties and start branching out, they can taste the differences in each kind of beer.”

Thanks to local microbreweries, premium variations of classic brews are available with the convenience of on-site brewing.Locals and frequent visitors may even get the opportunity to chat with brewers. The purpose of these microbreweries is to produce a beer that is consistent in each restaurant and maintain a high quality beverage that would entice drinkers to purchase their brew rather than opting for a store-bought national brand.

“The problem I find with bottled beer is that the temperature fluctuates so much that flavor is compensated,” said Dan Whitcher, 23, business. “Beer on draft is kept in a keg immediately after being brewed and is cold all its life.”

More and more young people are flooding the local breweries and experimenting. According to a poll by Anheiuser Busch, the number of beer drinkers aged 21-27 is expected to grow through 2010.

“When I first started drinking beer, I was interested in the different varieties and taste,” Whitcher said. “I drink different beers according to taste. Sometimes I’ll pick one with a lighter color because they usually have less alcohol. Sometimes I pick a good India Pale Ale for the hoppy taste.”

Beer, like all alcohol, has negative effects. In the long run, beer causes memory deficits and impairs verbal and motor skills due to the destruction of beautiful brain cells. Most people know the short term effects of beer include impaired judgment, motor skills and verbal abilities, which is why police officers crack down and issue DUI’s. The statistics on show that there is one alcohol related fatality in the U.S. every 31 minutes. That should make a consumer think twice before drinking and driving.

But not all beer drinking is bad. Studies have indicated that one or two drinks a day can be harmless and even help the drinker fight heart disease. The problem comes when the drinker is having four or more drinks a day on a regular basis.