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May 14

Best Beer in the World

Agreed that you are totally dedicated to your booze, but do you care to know a little more about beer like when and how it was first made, how is it brewed and what are the most famous brands? Well, let’s discuss a few interesting things about beer before getting to the ratings.

Well, look how crazy beer fans could be! Jokes apart, it would not come as a surprise if I tell you that beer is, supposedly, the third most popular drink (after water and tea of course, and surprisingly beating coffee!!) and is being consumed since time immemorial. The invention of beer dates back to somewhere in the stone age and only guesses can be made regarding its actual invention. An interesting story which describes a short history of beer goes like this. Once upon a time, in a tribal land of hunters, some portion of wild grain was exposed to warm water. By the time the damage was noticed, the water had already fermented into a thick, dark liquid. A daring primitive sampled it, and surprisingly it tasted good. And this is how beer was invented…

Beer is an alcoholic drink, however, the alcohol content of beer is very less. It usually ranges between 4% to 7% alcohol and in rarest of the rare cases, goes up to 20%. Beer brewing at home was a job dedicated to women in the ancient and medieval times. It was a part of the daily routine of a homemaker, just as beer itself was a part of the daily diet. Beer is made using malted barley (wheat, maize, corn and rice are also used), flavoring is done with the help of hops, which also acts as preservatives, yeast and hot water along with an elaborate brewing process.

Beer Production and Fermentation

Here is a simple go through of how yours (and mine) favorite beer is brewed.

The production of beer goes through an elaborate process, where the malted barley is mashed with hot water/steam and is converted into a starchy sweet liquid known as wort. This entire process is done in copper tun and is called mashing. (Mashing time: 2 hours approx.) Next comes filtration, where the wort is separated from the leftover grain and water in a lauter tun. This process is known as lautering.

Next, the wort is put in a copper kettle and the wort is boiled for an hour or so, so that the excess water evaporates and leaves behind a sweeter wort. It also removes any remaining enzymes. Hops are added during the boiling process to add flavor and aroma to the beer. Hops are mainly flower clusters which act a stability agent in the beer production process. They also add bitterness and tartness to the beer.

The wort is next cooled using a heat exchanger. And then it is transferred to the fermenter where yeast is added, which starts the primary fermentation process. Mostly, the beer undergoes a second stage of fermentation. It is either stored in the same vessel or is transferred to beer storage tanks. The beer is then bottled in the plant in bottles or beer kegs. A beer manufacturing plant has many sections and each section is dedicated to a distinct process of beer production.

Early breweries were built on multiple stories and the design is preserved in the breweries of today, though modern equipment and machines are used for brewing beer.

Most Expensive Beers

They say, all good things come with a price tag. True. Beer, you would undoubtedly agree, is a universal drink and for many it is the universe itself. So, let us find out which is the best beer, according to the price tag that it splashes.

Vieille Bon Secours: This rare brand of beer is available only in one bar, Bierodrome, in London. It claims to be the world’s most expensive beer with a price tag of �500 (equivalent to around $1,000) per bottle or about �39 (equivalent to around $78) per pint. Phew!! That’s quite an amount, however, Vielle Bon Secours has never been listed officially on beer advocate as the best beer in the world.

Carlsberg Vintage No.1: Tagged at $395 a bottle, Carlsberg’s Vintage no.1 is one of the costliest beer ever, brewed by the Carlsberg Group in the year 2008. The interesting thing to note here is that only 600 bottles of this beer have been made and one bottle holds four fifths of a pint. Therefore, a bottle of this particular brand is less than a pint!

Samuel Adams Utopias: This beer flows from the largest American owned brewery and is among the most expensive brands of beer. It also holds a Guinness World record for being the strongest beer with an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of 27%. Samuel Adams Utopias stands out in the crowd for its rich vanilla, caramel and oak blends and the beautifully crafted copper plated kettle in which it is sold. Only 800 bottles of this rich beer have been produced and is sold at about $100 per bottle.

Tutankhamun Ale: This limited beer is named after the famous King Tut, as the recipe of this extraordinary beer was discovered in Queen Nefertiti’s Temple of the Sun in Egypt which housed a brewery, build by King Akhenaten (husband of the Queen and probable father of King Tut). The rare ingredients add to the richness and definitely the expense of this brand. Sold at $52 per bottle, Tutankhamun Ale is worth a shot.

The Best Selling Ones Around the World

America: Surprise surprise!! America’s most popular beer is NOT Budweiser, like most of us believe. It is rather its cousin Bud Light. After years of being in the top position, Bud Light has not only overtaken Budweiser in the US, but is also the world’s most selling beer with the total market share of almost 16%.

United Kingdom: The Brits always had a special place in their hearts for beers. Though they have always preferred ales over lagers, it is a kind of irony that currently the most popular beer brand is Carling (and is a lager), which was previously known as Carling Black Label. Though it is not a very famous beer in the other parts of the world, the Brits do not care. They just love it.

Mexico: One of the most famous and popular brands across the world, Corona is Mexico’s favorite too. This pale lager does not need any introduction, as many of us must already be a fan of its smooth texture and the tartness, added by the lime wedge. It is also America’s most popular imported beer.

Brazil: Instead of an international brand, Brazil prefers the humble Skol, which is a local brand that captures almost one third of the total market. It is produced by the largest beer brewing company in the world, InBev. Though it is commonly believed that Brazilians do not like much of beer, this highly populous country loves its beer all right.

Germany: Germany has always been in love with beer. The companionship is quite old with nearly 1300 breweries to cultivate the romance. The country where beer flows like water, Krombacher appears to be the most popular. It would be expected that all international brands are widely available in this country. However, the Reinheitsgebot purity law has kept all the imported brands off limits.

Australia: Australia means Foster’s, that is the general notion. In Australia, however, Foster’s is hardly available and on the contrary a beer owned by the same company, Victoria Bitter, is the most popular. It is actually not a real bitter but a normal lager. Lovingly addressed as VB, it is mostly consumed in the state of Victoria, in Melbourne.

List of the Best Brews

RateBeer Best is the world’s largest beer competition that reviews all the possible beers.

According to the results of the competition held in 2012, Westvleteren 12 stands first in the race of best beer category. (3 times in a row from 2010 – 2012)

Westvleteren 12 is a Belgian Trappist Ale, brewed at the Trappist Westvleteren Brewery. It is owned and operated by the Monks of the St. Sixus Abbey. This is a rare beer which is very hard to find due to the limited production, which also makes it quite expensive. It has been time and again rated as the best tasting beer in the world.

The Westvleteren 12 is a raisin colored ale, having an intoxicating aroma and an equally alluring taste. The scent of fresh grapes and later raisins and prunes is predominantly overpowering. The flavor of plums, raisins, sugars and many other components are dramatically blended together to give a refreshing and delicate feel. The texture appears to keep changing, getting creamier with every sip.

Ultimately, it is truly an enjoyable experience to sip this world class ale, as it promises to take you to a whole new level of bliss.

Other beer brands that have been able to not only survive the competition, but also come out victorious are:

1. Narke Kaggen Stormaktsporter
2. Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Stout
3. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS)
4. Rochefort Trappistes 10
5. Bells Hopslam
6. Russian River Pliny the Younger
7. Cigar City Pilot Series Passionfruit and Dragonfruit Berliner Weisse
8. AleSmith Speedway Stout
9. Deschutes The Abyss

The above is the top 9 (Apart from Westvleteren 12 which is at the first place) list of the best beers in the world (as rated by RateBeer Best after considering 2.47 million reviews of about 110,000 brands).

There are basically two types of beer, lager and ale. The difference is in the temperature which affects the behavior of the yeast, used in the fermentation process.

Whatever it is, lager or ale, a beer is a beer. It makes its presence felt everywhere, be it a bachelor’s party, a reunion or a date. A sad lonely traveler or a heartbroken lover, everyone enjoys the company of this heavenly drink.

Now that I have spoken so much, I guess it’s time I leave you all with a song to hum by Adam Kling, along with your most prized possession, the mirthful mug of beer, of course. After all, you deserve the elixir in return for your efforts to learn so much about the best ones. Gulp it down folks, and join the cause, “Save water, drink beer!!”

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