Originally torn between project ideas between the geography of wine, beer, or honey; I’ve decided, and have done much research on, the Geography of beer.
So what is the geography of beer? That i intend on thoroughly explaining via power point presentation. the geography of beer can more or less be displayed through history, biogeography, and thus defining evolution. So, this project would more aptly be called the “Evolution of Beer”.
Many things have shaped the evolution of beer. Going far back as the beginning of time of beer, we might suspect that the egyptians first utilized the concept of fermented barley as a mildly alcoholic soup; it tasted sweeter and lasted longer. Just a little later down the road, the beverage was born and was composed directly from withing the environment it was made. Many styles of beers are the direct result of the world’s many different environments, thus it is the environment that is single handedly the strongest influence in the geography of beer, and the many variables possesed by an environment may characterize further change. These further changes are culture, economy, agriculture, trade, and politics.
The ingrediants and how they are shaped by their environment is important, and i will break this down in presentation and also by experiment. The experiment will include making 2 batches of beer with very similar ingrediants, however, geographically distinct.
Hops: Are extremely variable in different strains, so this will require very careful consideration and selection, hopefully obtainable fresh and from overseas.
Yeast: yeast cultures for ales have been recultured for typically many centuries and the colonies of yeast themselves have evolved incredibly over this time frame since yeasts reproduce via budding and can do so very quickly. The convenience of obtaining geographically distinct yeast strains is a garente, and it goes to show just how different strains are. yeasts have been recultured for so many years because it is very difficult to obtain a compatible strain in the wild, and the methods of reception are not understood due to the complexity and mysteriousness of wild yeasts.
Water: important, but lets be practical, i’m not going to order water from germany. However, water is a very important ingrediant and the wuality of water reflects the quality of beer. Interestingly, regions with poor quality water rely heavily on beer as measure of purification, for the metabolism of yeasts and production of alcohol have shown to purify the water, and is thus a safe beverage to drink almost anywhere.
Grain: Barley, wheat, corn, rice, you name and its probably been done. The previous four types mentioned are responsible for the 4 most general beers in the world.
The environment directly effects the variation in all 4 of these ingrediants, and thus the beer iteself. Also to be taken in consideration is the physical climate; the temperature and altitude are going to have a profound impact on the physical features of your beer.
All these factors are to be thoroughly considered more in the experiment to see if geography alone can alter the recipe of a beer. I am currently thinking about using a german and american or british recipe for a honey wheat ale; the yeasts will be distinct, the wheats will be obtained from the regions, and honey will be representative of the regions flora, as the bees collect pollen from the environments plants.