We started a tradition last year to make our own beer for the annual gallery exhibition opening to celebrate and share with our friends, sponsors, and fellow photographers. We do this for several reasons:
1. Beer is awesome, it is the third most consumed drink on the planet after water and tea.
2. Making your own beer is fun and incredibly Hipsteriffic – it ranks up there with Fixies and cliché mustaches.
3. By controlling the brewing process we can make an all-natural Beer not loaded down with commercial grade preservatives. Helpful hint this means you can drink more and not feel rubbish the next day!
How to Make Beer
We started our beer several weeks ago and will be bottling this weekend, right before the event, so it is really fresh! The basic ingredients of beer are water, malt, hops, and yeast. The major variation in beer is the type of yeast used to ferment the brew and the time and temperature at which you make beer. Yeast is unicellular fungus (say that three times fast). It is the most essential, yet least understood aspect of brewing beer according to our friends at the Beer Factory.
The yeast are there to convert the sugars in our brew into alcohol, our favourite part! Yeast produce three metabolic by-products that affect beer taste: phenols – spicy or clove like taste or medicinal taste; esters – a fruity taste; Diacetyls – a butterscotch or “woody” taste. The presence of any of these flavour components depends largely on the style of beer being brewed.
The Portrait Equality Team loves all Beer, from clear Lagers to jet black Porters, but given the wide range of palates that attend our Gallery events we choose to make an easy to drink Real Ale from the North American Rockies which provides enough punch to be Crafty but some hints of fruitiness so that even a non-Beer drinker can enjoy a bottle or two!
Ale is beer that is brewed using only top-fermenting yeasts, and is typically fermented at higher temperatures than lager beer (15–23°C). Ale yeasts at these temperatures produce significant amounts of esters and other secondary flavour and aroma products, and the result is a flavourful beer with a slightly “flowery” or “fruity” aroma.
Where We Brew
Don’t get us wrong; if we could turn our two bedroom apartment into a Brewery with the size and scale to make enough beer for everyone we would! However our good friends at the Beer Factory in Seven Hills have the appropriate commercial brewing equipment which is available to the public to make 50 plus liters in one go! If you’d like to give making your own beer a try be sure to check them out!