Cask Beer Ingredients
Beer is made from just 4 ingredients: Malt barley, hops, water and yeast; what could be more natural?
Barley is the main ingredient in beer. Its grains are low in fat and protein but rich in starch. ‘Malting’ is the process used to liberate the sugar in the starch, making it available for brewing. The British climate is particularly favourable for growing excellent quality malting barley.
A climbing plant that can grow to over 20 feet in height, the hop’s closest botanical relative is cannabis! The resins and essential oils in hops confer a distinctive bitter flavour to ale. Hops are used sparingly in beer – a barrel may contain just 150g of hops, but 20kg of malt. Hops are picked in late summer before being dried in Oast houses.
Water makes up the volume of beer. Pure water is essential and the mineral composition of water is critical to the quality and consistency of beer.
Yeast grows on sugar producing alcohol and CO2 in a process called fermentation. Yeast also produces a vast array of flavour compounds and much of the subtle differences in the flavours of beers come from the yeast strain and the fermentation conditions employed.
All of these are natural substances which contribute to a healthy, balanced diet. Thousands of components can be identified in ale including antioxidants, vitamins (particularly B) and minerals such as silicon and fibre.
Much of our cask beer ingredients are sourced from local communities. Not only does this help to support local economies, but there is an environmental advantage in minimising "food miles" (the distance products are transported before they are available for purchase).
The IFBB is perfectly placed to provide local beers, local pubs and local support.