The various ingredients and the chemical compositions of brewery
Agricultural ingredientsbarley and hopsmight be transported to the brewery from the countryside, and, with improvements in trade, from even further afield. But the heaviest and most ubiquitous ingredient, water, has always beenand still islocal. That means that the chemical composition of a brewery’s water, which is a reflection of local geology, has had a profound influence on the character of local beer, shaping the styles we associate with particular locations. In particular, the hardness or softness and unique qualities of beer styles that is sourced to specific locations.The first affordable glass drinking vessels arrived on the scene around the same time as the first bright, pretty beers. For the first time, a beer could appeal to the eye-as well as the nose and the tongue.
By contrast, the Czech town of Pilsen has very soft water, the purity of which contributed to the startling clean, fresh flavors of Pilsner Urquell, the original and revolutionary pilsner beer. Compare that to BurtononTrent, birthplace of pale ale. The water of the Trent is very hard, and especially rich in calcium sulphate, which allowed the town’s famous pale ales to showcase hops so elegantly, and added a whiff of characteristic sulphur. In fact, the water of Burton is so renowned that brewers the world around who want to brew pale ales may burtonize their water, adding minerals to mimic the original. Today, brewing chemists can alter the composition of any water supply to suit the style of beer being brewed. Despite the attention given to beer’s other three ingredients.