Hertfordshire and the History of Ale, Part II

hertfordshire-and-the-history-of-aleOn the previous post, we mentioned the fact that the people of Hertfordshire have always had a long tradition of brewing and, as many other counties and towns in the UK, brewing and consuming ale is an important part of the cultural heritage and history of its people.

As mentioned before, perhaps the biggest breweries in Hertfordshire are McMullen & Sons, Red Squirrel Brewing Co. and Tring Brewery Co. although there are many other great breweries in this beautiful, tiny county, among them some magnificent microbreweries that produce all sorts of fine quality products. Let us now focus again on the different types of beer, such as ale, lager, stout, weissbier and more.

The process of brewing ale and lager is quite different, and the latter is a rather new type of beer which seems to enjoy widespread popularity along Europe. The process of brewing lager involves the use of a certain type of yeast and fermentation. The fermentation process of lager takes longer and it is achieved at cold temperatures. It is said that the reason why lager is so popular is that it is easier to drink given its smoother taste. However, true ale lovers say that people who prefer lager are just looking for cheap beer that does not taste of anything and that they are all basically the same.

As opposed to lager, ale has been around for many centuries in Europe, and is definitely a much richer type of beer, given its sharper, sweeter taste and full bodied consistency. Most ales are brewed using a certain type of flower known as hops, which are really bitter, offering a contrast to the sweet character of ale. The main reason as to why ales are often a bit sweet is that they are often brewed with certain malts that may be darker and contain for instance grains, fruits or coffee, giving the drink their distinctive taste.