At Eight Degrees we currently have three naturally adventurous beers available, Howling Gale Ale, Sunburnt Irish Red, and Knockmealdown Porter. We will also be producing some exciting seasonal beers in the future so watch this space!
We hope you enjoy and drink responsibly…. choose an Eight Degrees beer… it’s Naturally Adventurous
Beer – A Great and Long Pedigree
Beer is one of the oldest manufactured drinks. It seems beer was brewed in Sumeria & Babylonia as long ago as 6,000 BC. Possibly a cereal porridge may have been left in the sun and was slowly fermented by wild yeast, by accident. They must have gotten a taste for it, and by 2,500 BC the Egyptians had created a recipe for beer, later discovered in the ancient tombs. So beer is as old as civilisation, in fact without the process of sterilising the dirty water by boiling it to make beer, civilisation may have perished by now. So lift your glasses in celebration of beer.
What we put into our Beers
1. Pure Mountain River Water
Roughly 95% of the ingredients that goes into making beer is water. But how variable can water be. As it turns out, very. This is why after researching long and hard we chose Mitchelstown, set at the foot of the mighty Galtee Mountains, the water filters through rock down through crystal clear rivers, picking up some necessary mineral deposits along the way, to our door. Just like how soap foams up easier with soft water, brewing with hard or soft water affects how the beer feels in the mouth.
2. Malted Barley
Barley is an agricultural crop and varied from year to year. However the variation in harvest quality is small compared to what happens during the malting process. Once harvested the barley are rock hard little seeds full of starch and enzymes. The malting process soaks the raw barley thereby tricking it into, wow the rains have come, I’m going to become a big barley plant and begins to sprout. After a few days the maltster plays another trick on the unsuspecting barleycorn and stops its growth process by heating it up. Depending on the temperature and length of time, we end up a huge variety of malted barley with different tastes from a pale malt to a dark chocolaty bitter roasted flavour. The malting process modifies the barley and once cracked through a mill is ready to be mashed (see Brewing Process).
Malt is sometimes described as the SOUL of beer
Hops are a surprisingly delicate climbing plant called Humulus lupulus. Such a cool sounding name, it’s not surprising they derive from the same plant family as cannabis. Brewers are only interested in the female variety because male plants contain seeds which are undesirable for brewing.
There are hundreds of different varieties of hops and depending on when you add them into the boil, will impart bitterness to balance the malty sweetness and aroma smelling of perhaps lemon, grapefruit, pine needles, jasmine, black-current, even mowed lawn, a bit like wine grapes. They also have an antibacterial quality that helps preserve beer.
Hops are the SPICE of beer, they add zest and excitement to the beer, like chutney to a cheese sandwich.
These magical little creatures eat the fermentable sugars and excretes alcohol , carbon dioxide and esters (aroma compounds).
The famous German Purity Law of 1516, the Reinheitsgebot, doesn’t even include yeast in the purity list of ingredients; only malt, hops and water are included. This is because the role of microorganisms in the process of fermentation, known as yeast was not discovered until the 1800’s by Louis Pasteur. Of course yeast was present in all beers as an essential ingredient, in fact it is all around us floating in the air, but it was not known. It was believed the gods magically turned the ‘wort’ into beer, perhaps that is why monks we so good at producing beer.
Yeast is a single celled organism and yes there are lots of different types, but as far as brewing is concerned, there are three types that matter – Saccharomyces cerevisae (ale yeast), S. uvarum (lager yeast) and wild yeast. Ale and lager yeast do pretty much the same thing except lagers prefer to ferment at lower temperature lounging at the bottom of the fermenter whilst ale yeast prefers to get all worked up in slightly warmer temperatures and is a top-fermenting yeast.
And there are thousands of different strains of ale and lager yeast which contribute different flavour profiles to beer. The job of a brewer is to keep the yeast happy to produce good beer.
And most importantly …. enjoy