Beers are packaged at their peak flavour, freshness and quality. Once the beer has left the brewery and is on its way to local bars or bottle stores, there are a number of ways keep it at optimum freshness.
Here are six steps from SAB trade brewer Anton Erasmus to follow in order to enjoy beer at its finest:
Light is the first thing to avoid when it comes to beer as it causes a reaction that alters the physical structure of the hop compounds, transforming them into those which contain sulphur.
“One way to see if your beer has been ‘light struck’ is when it has a skunky smell and taste,” says Erasmus. Storing beer in a dark, cool place is best to avoid this potential issue.
Like bread, beer has an expiring date too. The longer the beer sits on a shelf, the more time it has for oxidisation to take place. This causes beer to have a cardboard taste.
“After weeks of brewing the perfect beer, no brewery wants a consumer drinking a stale, old beer.”
“No one likes a warm beer. It is best to store beers such as lagers at a temperature of 4°C, and ales and stouts at a slightly higher temperature.”
Too much agitation can speed up the staling process, as you release any dissolved oxygen in the beer when you shake it around too much. “Handle beer gently,” says Erasmus.
Freezing beer is a huge no-no. When beer is frozen, carbon dioxide is lost, making the beer flat and altering the taste. Frozen beer often results in the cap popping off and the bottle rupturing.
“If you are looking for a quick fix to chilling your beer, rather pop your beer in an ice bucket for a quicker and less damaging chill effect,” says Erasmus.
“A clean glass boosts the foam head, and bubbles will not stick to the side of your glass.” By drinking out of a dirty glass, your beer might be tainted with other flavours and aromas.
The best way to ensure a clean glass is to wash with dishwashing liquid, rinse soap off and allow to air dry.