Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:47

Key Beer Terms for Fledgling Hopheads

Written by  Jack Raymond
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The manager or owner of a pub. Next time you rub shoulders with the head honcho of your favorite joint, shake his/her hand and say “Thank you, fine publican, for providing such tasty libations!” Maybe they’ll comp you a pint for using such fancy lingo.


The head, measured in fingers thick for some reason, is the foam layer blanketing the surface of a beer. A quality head retains its shape and leaves spider-like lacing as it dissipates.


Typically a word reserved for hippies sessioning some devil’s lettuce, beer geeks have adopted the term too to describe the pungent aroma of many double IPAs which, let’s face it, totally smell like a fresh bowl of pot.


Uh-oh. You just took a sip of an IPA you’d been saving for a rainy day and it tastes like a possum fart mixed with an old carrot. Unfortunately, beer has an expiration date you can’t find on the bottle. To avoid this, drink with expediency or stash your stuff within the depths of the darkest dungeon you’ve got.


A 64oz. glass jug, brewpubs sell and fill these containers so you can take their draft beer back home. Good news: after you’ve drank all the booze, any brewery will refill your new growler -- for a price, of course.


This here acronym stands for "alcohol by volume." Brewers use the measurement to define exactly how boozy their beer is. Simply put, the higher the percentage goes the fewer bottles you’ll need to rock a good buzz.


Proud hop-heads love to graft this statistic onto the sides of their bottles. Brewers use the International Bitter Unit measurement to let the masses know how hoppy of a beer they’re getting into. After you pass 100 IBUs, prepare to pucker up.


The starchy backbone of beer ingredients. It’s bottom-of-the-food-pyramid stuff: barley, grain, corn and the like. Malt balances out the bitter and the sweet with roasty goodness.


Honey...your beer...IT’S ALIVE! Yes, these active microorganisms are responsible for beer’s best byproduct: Alcohol. But mind you, yeast does more than get you drunk. With more than a hundred different species in this fungal family, yeast adds a host of flavors.


Tiny green nuggets of joy. The special humulus lupulus is culprit for the bitter properties of a beer. This plant also adds loads of aromatics.


A funky yeast varietal that adds sour character to beer. Most brewers work hard to keep this wild strain out of their suds, but some kooks search it out like a delicacy. Q: Why do all brewers keep a cat in their brewery? A: To keep away the brettano"mices”. Hehe.

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