On our AB tour last week, our gracious host and guide gave us a little tutorial on tasting beer. One little tip he passed along was this thing called the “lace curtain”. It’s like “legs” on wine, except this is the head or foam that the beer leaves on the side of the glass. It’s caused by real hops in the beer.
Hops are added after the beer has been malted and then filtered and actually beer is not beer until that point at which it goes into the cooker after filtering (I think I got that right). The hops are added for flavor, aroma, body, etc. Some recipes also call for hops in the finishing stage to add those things as well.
Some brewers don’t use real hops. Can you believe it? They use a hops… by-product, flavoring, emulsion… I can’t recall the exact term right now but you get the idea. They don’t use hops just an ingredient that is derived from hops.
Why would they do this? Well to save money. Real hops add more cost. So small brewers and some large brewers don’t use ’em.
How can you tell? Well the tip we learned was to quickly swirl your brew in your glass then tilt it at an angle. If the foam leaves a “lace curtain” then you got real hops. If the foam quickly dissolves and leaves no curtain, then you got cheap beer.
Just grab a ice cold Bud and compare to a Miller. You’ll get the jest.
Tonight I grabbed a Becks Premium Light out of the fridge. Guess what? It ain’t got no stinkin’ curtain. Cheap beer made by InBev. Ouch.
We’re off to Senor Pique…