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Episode 403 - Burgers 'n Brew
What Ales Ya!
Tasty hops...
Like many of you, I am also a beer drinker. I think you will agree that nothing complements the juiciest burger in the world like a mug of your favourite brew. Joined by Tim Caney from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, we decided to tap into exotic beers. Tim shared with me some ideas about beers and how to enjoy them.

Tim said that there were two main things to look at when you go to purchase beer: Do you want an ale or a lager? A lager has yeast that is brewed from the bottom, whereas ale is a top-fermenting yeast. The characteristic head on the top of beer is caused by the fermentation process. The colour of the bottle is used to preserve the beer better. Killers of beers, just like wine, are light, temperature variance, and vibration. The darker shade helps to preserve them.

As a rule, lager is quite pale in colour, and its taste tends to be lighter, fruitier, and "hoppier" (hops are the spices that are used in brewing beer). Ale can be amber in colour and has a more malty taste. The darker side of beer would be a stout, which is actually an ale with a colouring agent such as caramel, to give it its dark, brooding appearance. It is quite grainy and dry and is possibly an acquired taste. Tim likes it with certain foods, such as meats - perfect for a burger party!

Looking at other innovative ways of presenting a beer, I have done many a picnic bringing along tall bottle-fermented beers. Sealed with a cork like a champagne would be, they have a wonderful romance to them. They should be treated like a wine, allowed to breathe a little bit before serving, and they should be served in a large goblet. These types of beers will age very well, you can keep them around for a couple of years, lying them on their side as you would a bottle of wine.

How about something tall and frosty? I say we tap into a whole assortment, along with a big cheer - to your burger and brew party!

Courtesy: Tim Caney, Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Toronto, ON (416) 243-3320