All the beer questions you’ve been too embarrassed to ask, answered
You’ve just entered a safe zone. A zone with no judging, no sniggering and no funny looks. A zone to address any beer questions you’ve been a little bit sheepish to ask. Why? Because knowledge is power, and we want to give you the power to make the best choices about your next brew. So sit back, relax and enjoy this Toast learning journey.
What’s the deal with foam?
We know what some of you might be thinking and, no, foam isn’t there to rip you off like when a fast food place puts lots of ice in your fizzy drink. Foam is there to deliver aroma and to enhance each sip of your favourite brew. Amounts of foam will depend on the type of beer and the way it is served but we believe that foam is definitely a friend and not a foe. For a few tips on how you can best sip that foamy beer, check out our Toast guide to tasting beer.
Why are some beers warm and some cold?
Beer temperatures are closely related to flavours and aromatics. Generally speaking, the colder a beer is, the less its flavour will come through. This means that often “macro brews” (the more mass-produced, commercial brews) are served ice cold as they usually don’t have particularly sophisticated or complex flavours that need to be highlighted. Craft beers and beers with higher alcohol are often served slightly warmer than those macro brews as they can be sipped slowly and enjoyed for their complexity rather than for refreshment.
What exactly is a draught (draft) beer?
Traditionally, draught beer is beer sourced directly from the cask it was conditioned in. This is still true – however, the word “draught” is now often used as more of a promotional term for bottled and canned beer to give it more of a “straight from the keg” feel for the drinker even if, in reality, it is a pretty standard brew.
What does IBU mean on the back of my beer?
IBU stands for International Bitterness Units which, as you may have guessed, indicates the bitterness levels in a beer. The scale to measure IBU usually goes from 0 – 100 but some hoppy beers will claim they’ve got so much kick that they’ve bypassed the 100 mark.
Do kinds of hops even matter?
They absolutely do. As specified in our “hoppy days” feature on hops, hops have it all. Not only do they bring flavour and tone to a brew, but they bring antibacterial qualities that stop beer from spoiling. Hops to a brewer are like specific ingredients to a baker. Hops from different parts of the world bring distinct flavour qualities and smells to different beers. New Zealand hops have hints of passion fruit and citrus, English hops are more earthy and American hops are reminiscent of pine needles and grapefruit peel.