The Everyday Guide to Beer
Charles W. Bamforth is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Hull. He is also a senior quality advisor to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and an Honorary Professor in the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham. He has been part of the brewing industry since 1978, holding such positions as deputy director-general of Brewing Research International as well as quality assurance manager and research manager at Bass Brewers.
Professor Bamforth’s many academic and professional honors include the Award of Distinction from the American Society of Brewing Chemists, the Faculty Stewardship Award from the UC Davis Foundation, and the Brewers Association Recognition Award. He was also awarded the Horace Brown Medal, the highest accolade of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling; the Award of Honor by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas; and the Award of Distinction by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis.
Professor Bamforth has published numerous books and articles about beer throughout his career. Since 1985, he has also written prolifically about soccer. He has appeared extensively in the media, including on the BBC, Discovery Channel, NPR’s Science Friday, and PBS. His video credits include “The Art & Science of Beer,” Brew Dogs, How Beer Saved the World, How Stuff Works, and Ultimate Factories.
Professor Bamforth has presented lectures at numerous venues, including Google, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian, and the National Press Club.
01: 8,000 Years of Beer
Begin your journey with a primer on the history of beer and its place among peoples like the Sumerians, Egyptians, and the Medieval Benedictines. You’ll learn about figures like Dukes William IV and Ludwig X of Bavaria and the Reinheitsgebot, and even hear the fascinating story behind the origin of British pub signs.
02: Malt, Hops, Yeast, Water: How Beer Is Made
Now that you’ve traveled through beer’s history, you’re ready to discover how it’s made. You’ll go in-depth with ingredients like malt and hops, and which geographic regions of the world each variety comes from. Then, Sierra Nevada’s Head Brewer Scott Jennings will take you through the process of how this elite brewery produces its award-winning beer.
03: A Grand Tour of Beer Styles
Different fermentation techniques can result in radically different beer styles and flavors. Explore this concept within the context of products like ice beers, light beers, and “dry” beers, as well as with unique categories like gueuze and lambics.
04: All about Ales
Ale is one of beer’s most significant and diverse classifications. Here, you’ll investigate popular versions like pale ales, India pale ales (IPAs), and Scotch ales. But did you know that porters and stouts are also ales? Go in depth with this important beer category and then discover the unique characteristics of each sub-type.
05: All about Lagers
Germany’s impact on beer history cannot be overstated, and nowhere is this more prevalent than when drinking a glass of lager. A deceptively difficult beer to brew, this category includes styles like doppelbocks, marzens, and the increasingly popular Oktoberfest. But an Oktoberfestbier in Germany means something very different than it does in other parts of the world.
06: Beers of the World: Who Drinks What
The world’s leading beer brand has significantly more market share than Budweiser and Coors Light combined, and you’ve likely never heard of it. In this lesson on the business of beer, find out how this is possible and what top producers like Anheuser-Busch InBev, and micro and regional breweries all mean for the industry as a whole.
07: Enjoying Beer I: The Perfect Pour
How a beer looks can influence our perception before we even take our first sip. Learn why everything from a beer’s packaging and label to the bottles a brewery uses can affect our experience. You’ll also discover how to pour a beer properly to get the appropriate amount of foam, and what nucleation sites in a glass do for both presentation and flavor.
08: Enjoying Beer II: Maximizing Flavor
Did you know that the aroma from hops is made up of at least 420 different compounds? Learn the typical flavor each type of malt infuses into a beer and how different chemicals combine to form the sweet, salt, sour, or bitter notes each style is known for. Conclude with the proper serving temperature for most of the major beer types you’ve learned about in previous lessons.
09: Enjoying Beer III: Buying and Storing
The way beer is stored, packaged, and distributed can have a huge impact on how it tastes. Ryan Mintzer, packaging and warehouse manager at Sierra Nevada, will take you through some of the brewery’s best practices to ensure that each beer has optimal flavor and freshness before being poured into your glass.
10: Pairing Beer with Food
Pairing beer with food effectively can take some practice, but a few important tips will help you plan that next meal with confidence. Whether it’s matching beer with existing recipes or actually adding it into a dish, beer’s versatility should not be underestimated. Experience a five-course dinner menu with beer pairings, specially prepared by Jessie Massie, head chef at Sierra Nevada’s Mills River Taproom.
11: The Science of Quality Beer
Quality in beer can be very subjective and a difficult thing to quantify. General Manager Brian Grossman, of Sierra Nevada’s Mills River facility, and Quality Manager Liz Huber discuss this idea and how measurements of alcohol by volume (ABV), clarity, pH, and other checks are used to achieve desired results.
12: Beer and Human Health
Nutritious or just empty calories? In this final lesson, Dr. Bamforth will take you through the health benefits and risks associated with beer consumption, such as recommended consumption limits and why moderation has been preached since this beverage’s early days. However, beer also contains antioxidants and an array of vitamins like niacin, folic acid, and riboflavin.