Beer is the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. It may be ale or lager. The former is brewed using malted barley, water, hops, and specific yeast strains for quick, high-temperature fermentation. Ales are generally sweeter, full-bodied, fruit, copper-tone brown beers that can be produced in pubs within a few days.
Etymologically, cognate (1) of ale is Old Norse (øl), Old English (alu or ealu), Old Prussian (alu), Lithuanian (alu), and Finnish (solut).
Beer During the Middle Ages (5th to 15th centuries), meant ale.
Lager, today popular in continental Europe, is much lighter than ale, pale in colour, slightly bitter, and thirst quenching. German breweries in Bavaria popularized lager beer. An enthusiastic brewer brought the yeast for lager brewing to Munich from Budwar in the Czech Republic in the 17th century). Lager beer requires the use of (saccharomyces cerevisiae sub- variety – telluris. This yeast sinks to the bottom of the fermenting tank after converting sugar to alcohol – hence the name lager.
Ale is still popular in the United Kingdom, in some parts of Belgium, Germany, and Caribbean Islands.
Ales may smell of apples and pears, pineapples, bananas, plums, celery, and prunes, due to ester formation during fermentation (15- 24 C = 60 – 75 F).
Lagers are fermented at much lower temperatures.
While ales were very popular in the United Kingdom up to the first half of the 20th century, large brewing organizations there started using all types of chemicals, including stabilizers, preservatives to name just two, thus lowering both taste and common ale characteristics.
In 1973 by authentic ale enthusiasts who regard it as a treasure of English culture founded CAMRA (Campaign of Real Ale). It promotes traditional brewing techniques that preserve authentic ale flavours and textures. According to CAMRA rules and regulation, ale must be brewed only using malt, water, yeasts, and hops exclusively.
Scots are particularly fond of flavourful ales.
Innis and Gunn , a Scottish brewery, invented in 2003, a new style oak-aged beer with 6.6 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume). Dougal Sharp who was approached by a whisky distillery to make beer-finished whisky developed it. The brewery quickly realized the exceptional taste of the beer aged in old Bourbon whiskey barrels. The toffee and vanilla flavours of the barrel-aged beer are very appealing, in addition to common ale aromas and flavours.
Innis and Gunn’s Oak Age Beer has an auburn colour, smells of Fuggles hops offers as creamy toffee-like texture, and finishes with vanilla flavours. It is well balanced, mellow, and smooth with a hint of earthiness and refreshing bitterness.
Try it once, and you are likely to become an ardent fan.
Scottish Oak Aged beer by Innis and Gunn Brewery enjoys and enthusiastic group of ale drinkers in Canada, The U.S.A., Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Innis and Gunn Oak Aged Beer is available in Canada in packaged in specially designed boxes in 330 ml and in Ontario and Alberta in 750 ml too.
The prices vary pending on province and range from $ 2.95 to $ 3.75 for the 330 ml version.
(1) cognate = a word of common etymological origin.