Today: Jul 17, 2024

Dark or light: what do you like?

photo courtesy http://www.motherearthnews.com/PAUL GRAMOLINIBusiness Manager
“He used to write for the school paper. He kept babbling about the difference between light and dark beer.” Many of you have seen the movie “VanWilder.” In the movie the editor-in-chief talks to Gwen (played by Tara Reid) about a man named Darius Grayson. Darius Grayson was a fictitious Pulitzer Prize winner whose name may have been adopted from a late 1990s computer game called Starcraft. In Starcraft, Darius Grayson was an archeologist who liked to drink on the job. In the movie “VanWilder,” Darius Grayson wrote an article about the difference between light and dark beer. Elementary I know, but ask yourself, do you really know the difference? Wait no further, your puzzled face is about to disappear.
Dark and light beers differ in many categories, such as amount of hops and malt, color, density, and popularity. Most people consider the fact that the color of the beer is what primarily denotes whether or not a beer is light or dark. This is one major factor, as beers can range from a light yellow color (Natural Ice, Bud Light) to amber, to brown (New Castle) to dark beers (Guinness). The color of a beer is normally a good indicator as to how it is going to taste, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. Blue moon, a Belgian white ale, has a very distinct taste but is very pale in color. I urge you not to judge a book by its cover or a beer by its color.
Another category of interest is taste. Beer brewers influence taste by the amount of different ingredients added to beer during the brewing process. Many other factors and additives effect a beer’s taste. An example of this would be the amount of hops added to India pale ales. These beers are more “hoppy” when it comes to flavor. Not sure what hops tastes like? Try Long Hammer IPA or any India Pale Ale for that matter. Caution: It is an acquired taste. Another interesting fact on hops: Hops contains an anti-carcinogen called xanthohumol. For all you intellectuals out there, Xanthohumol has an exceptional broad spectrum of inhibitory mechanisms at the initiation, promotion, and progression stage of carcinogenesis. In layman’s terms, hops can be considered a cancer preventative. Research on hops continues as you read this.
The tastes of light beers vary, but most are weaker in comparison to dark beer. There is an exception to almost everything however, remember that. You may have heard Bud Light be described as “tasting like water” and a heavy stout being described as “supper.” The four main ingredients in beer: water, starch, hops and yeast combine in different quantities in order to make up a beers density. Confused about the difference in density? Try having a sip of Guinness followed by a sip of Bud Light, confused you will not be.
Beers come in all different colors, tastes and densities. Ultimately, personal preferences are what count. Some people enjoy dark, some people enjoy light, and some people enjoy amber. Some people enjoy beers with a fruit essence. There are beers that are very earthy and beers that are very sweet. It’s all about preference. Enjoy them responsibly.

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