We got a lot of great footage, but with some of it the sound is kind of low, so it will need to be edited.
This is a good point in the blog to talk about what beer is. Years ago I worked for a brewmaster at a local brewpub, assisting him. I've also been a homebrewer for many years. So now is a good time to discuss what beer is, and how it is made.
According to reinheitsgebot (the German purity law of 1516, one of the first food regulation laws) the only four ingredients allowed in beer are water, yeast, barley, and hops. This remains true today, though other things can be added depending on the style (fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, etc.)
The process of beer-making was probably discovered accidentally in ancient Mesopotamia over 11,000 years ago. Someone left some grain in a vessel, it rained, and magic happened.
Barley is a cereal. When the grains are dried, they go into a kind of suspended animation. Then, when water is added, they think it rained and begin to germinate, the starches converting to sugars. If the process is stopped just as the barley begins to grow, this barley is considered malted.
Malt is the perfect food for yeast. Yeast is a unicellular fungus, and it is extremely common. The theory is some wild yeast landed in a pot that contained germinating barley, and began to chow down.
When yeast eats malt, two of the byproducts are carbon dioxide, and alcohol.
Here's how a simplified breakdown of brewing works:
1. Barley is malted, then placed in a mash tun (a big heated receptacle) with water. It is held at certain temperatures until the starches convert to sugars.
2. The sugar water and barley are then separated in a process called lautering, and the water (now called wort) is placed into a brew kettle and boiled.
3. Hops are added. They can be added at the beginning of the boil, during it, in the final few minutes, and even in the fermentation tank. Hops are the cone-shaped flowers of humulus lupulus, a perennial vine. Hops provide bitterness, head retention, and also work as a preservative. They're responsible for a beer's aroma and bitterness.
4. The wort is cooled and placed in a fermentation tank with yeast. Yeast eats the wort, turning the liquid into beer.
5. Billion of people around the world rejoice.
There are many varieties of malt, yeast, and hops, and the different combinations are a large part of the reason beers are the most diverse alcoholic beverage in the world.
While beer comes in dozens of different styles, and each of those styles are unique depending on the ingredients, ratio, and talent of the brewer, there are still only just two types of beer.
Here is Barnaby, one of the brewmasters at Three Floyds, to talk about them.
While at the brewpub, I was treated to a lunch of Alpha King (American Pale Ale, 6% abv), followed by small glasses of Dreadnaught (Indian Pale Ale, 9.5% abv) and Big Black Van (American Black Ale, 7.5% abv). They were all delicious, especially fresh from the tap. If you haven't visited Three Floyds, it is truly one of the coolest places on the planet. The beer (and the food, which I remember from past visits) are terrific, and the vibe there is so laid back and fun that my friend George and I wanted to stay forever.
I began the day with a Founders Breakfast Stout, so by the time we left the brewery I wasn't feeling any pain.
Back at the homestead, George and I hung out and shared a Guinness (4.2% abv--thought it was stronger than that didn't you?), a Bell's Hopslam (Imperial IPA, 10% abv) and a Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout (Russian Imperial, 10% abv).
That may seem like a lot, but it actually only amounted to less than five 12oz beers, which is about what I've been doing daily since starting this diet.
At the end of the day I did my nightly weigh-in.
When I began this diet, I was 263.75 pounds.
As of this weigh-in, I'm 254.8.
Is that loss water weight? Doubtful. I'm drinking a gallon of water per day, and beer is 90% water, so I'm not dehydrated.
I'm hoping this downward trend will continue.