Drink-o lingo

Beer code, decoded
Beer hops
Photo: Alan Levine
By Natasha Hong |

Mmmm... beer. Versatile enough to be enjoyed at a sweltering BBQ and fancy restaurant, beer’s mainly made from malt, hops and water. Some fruits, coffee and even chilli have been used, but the brew must be dominantly malt based.

Craft beer
‘Small, independent and traditional,’ says the Brewers Association in the US. Craft breweries produce a combined total of less than 715 million litres of beer a year in the US, is less than 25 percent owned by a non-craft brewery, and makes its beer with traditional brewing ingredients like hops, water and malt.

The light green and leafy flower of the humulus lupulus plant, hops are boiled with beer wort (a sweet liquid extracted from steeping malt in warm water) to flavour beers with bitter, fruity, herbaceous, spicy or floral notes.

A ‘hoppy’ beer is one rich with the fragrance of hops. You’ll taste a ‘bitter hoppy’ flavour in a lager or pilsner, and ‘fruity’ or ‘floral hoppy’ notes in a pale ale or India pale ale.

One of the key ingredients in beer brewing, malt is barley or wheat that has been moistened for germination to occur, then kilned to stop the seed from growing. Beer gets its colour from the degree that its grains have been roasted.

Another word to describe a beer. Terms like ‘biscuit-y’, nutty’, ‘cereal’, ‘crackers’, ‘grain’, ‘toasty’, ‘caramel’, ‘roast-y’, and ‘chocolatey’ are common flavours in any beer, light to dark.

The volume of a tall glass of beer. This ranges anywhere from 473 to 568 millilitres in the US, though most bars in Singapore serve their drafts in narrow-bottomed glasses that only hold 335 millilitres of liquid. Soooo not a pint.

Lingo used by craft beer geeks to describe a brew that’s easy to quaff many bottles, glasses and pints of in one sitting. They’re usually low on the bitterness and alcohol. Most lagers are sessionable beers, as are lightly hoppy pale ales and crisp wheat beers. It doesn’t mean you won’t get drunk, though.