The flower of the Humulus lupulus, or hop plant is what we call hops. It is used to add flavor and aroma to beer. Since each strain of hops have different characteristics, we carefully choose which varieties to add during The Boil. Some types of hops are boiled in the wort (unfermented beer) for a long time to add bitterness while others are only boiled for a short time to add more flavor and aroma. Hops can also be added to beer after fermentation to add an extra dose of aroma.
Grain goes through a process called malting which creates starches in the grain. These starches are what the brewer converts into sugars and collects during the mashing process. The primary grain used in beer is malted barley. The brewer will also use different types of roasted barley as well as malted wheat, oats, or other grains to alter the color, taste, and "mouth feel" of the beer.
Since beer is made up of over 95% water, the quality of the water used in brewing is very important. While some minerals in water are extremely helpful in the fermentation, others can cause "off flavors." When local water profiles are not ideal for brewing certain styles of beer, brewers will often purify the water via reverse osmosis then add just the right amount of the needed minerals as we do. All of our beers are brewed with custom water profiles.
The fermentation process is just as important as the rest of the brewing process, but here the yeast does all the hard work. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewers yeast, eats the sugar formed during the mash and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). Just like hops and grain, there are different types of yeast. Each type of yeast will create unique flavors and qualities in the beer.
Crushed grains are soaked in hot water in a process called mashing. This converts complex starches in the grain into fermentable sugars. Different types of roasted barley are used to change the color, flavor, and "mouthfeel" of each beer. When this process is complete, the liquid is drained and more hot water is strained through to collect all the sugars. This liquid is now called "wort." The wort is transferred to a boil kettle.
Here different types of hops are added for various lengths of time depending on the beer. When the boil is complete, the wort is cooled and transferred to a fermentation vessel. Yeast is added to the wort. The yeast consumes the sugar and converts it to C02 (carbon dioxide) and alcohol. When the yeast is finished, the liquid (now called "young beer") is transferred to a vessel were it is pressurized with C02 until it is carbonated.
Then all that's left is to grab a glass, sit back, and enjoy.