Beer in all its various forms has been around for centuries. Whether it’s called beer, ale, stout, porter, amber or any other beer style, beer has a long and storied history. Traditionally, beer has been available in kegs, and not until the 20th century did bottling and canning come into prominence.
Regardless of style, beer is brewed essentially the same. There are subtle differences of course, but all beer has a mix of ingredients mixed and fermented by brewing experts with the help of technology. Technology has revolutionized the beer industry, not so much through brewing techniques, but packaging and transportation methods.
Bottling, Canning, and Kegs
For hundreds of years, beer was available only in kegs. That changed in the early-mid 20th century, when bottling and canning came into prominence. With the advent of bottling and canning, brewers were able to distribute their beer to more markets with greater efficiency.
Yet, something important has been lost, and that is the freshness and taste of local, direct from the keg beer. Walk into any bar today, and chances are you’ll see people drinking beer directly out of the bottle. While perhaps convenient, beer wasn’t meant to be consumed right from the bottle, or the can for that matter.
Cervejas is a perishable food product, and like any food product, beer doesn’t improve with age. Bottled beer and canned beer are pasteurized and added carbonation is injected to ensure a long shelf life without need for refrigeration. While there’s nothing wrong with this process as it allows product availability to a wider spectrum of consumers, it is not beer in its natural state.
Keg beer is beer in its natural state. Keg beer isn’t pasteurized, nor are any preservatives added. Keg beer needs refrigeration from the day it’s packaged until the day it’s consumed. The important factor to note is that keg beer isn’t injected with additional carbonation, which gives keg beer a smoother, cleaner taste.
In fact, here’s something to try. Next time out at a bar or restaurant, enjoy your beer only from a bottle or can. Now, the following time out, consume it from the keg, on tap, in a glass. Take special care to note which gives you more stomach gas (burp!). Because keg beer has no additional carbonation added and the beer is allowed to breathe, the end result is a smoother, better tasting experience.
Beer is a great and well loved beverage, no matter how it’s consumed. However, next time out, enjoy your beer as the brewer intended – direct from the keg. You’ll appreciate the smoother taste!