Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Bottle Conditioned Beer: How Will You Eat Yours?

Bottle conditioned beer presents the drinker with a choice. Essentially, it comes down to one point: Do you want the yeasty sediment or not? I actually think this is oversimplifying it. If you were to opt for the extra oomph in your glass, would you want it distributed evenly throughout your drink, or do you want the first clear draft to be followed a heartier serving? Wikipedia is, as usual, of no help:

Serving such a beverage involves either decanting the drink into the serving glass, leaving the sediment behind in the bottle, or pouring all the contents into the glass, including sediment, to be drunk together. Some drinkers like to mix the sediment throughout the beer by tipping or rolling the beer before drinking. This is generally a matter of personal preference, though sometimes the brewer will suggest a preferred method for a particular beer. Yeast sediment has an earthy flavor and is rich in B vitamins. Drinking the sediment has some nutritional benefits, but it does slightly change the flavor and mouthfeel of the beer. The yeast can have a negative effect on some people, causing diarrhea.
Thanks, Wikipedia. Short of nutritional benefits, I am curious to hear how other people choose to deal with this dilemma.

As with all arts and crimes, there is the question of intent. Firstly, Brewers: How do you intend us to drink this beer? How best are your bottle conditioned beers consumed? Pick a side, please. Thanks. Secondly, Drinkers: Do we care what the Brewers think? As Wikipedia so helpfully decreed, this is "generally a matter of personal preference". However, I would like to think that if a particular brew was apparently best enjoyed in a way you might not normally drink your beer, then you would at least give it a go with or without that last bit in the bottle. Or do you already factor this in when deciding to swirl or not?

Or, as is probably most likely the case, am I alone in pondering this finer point of drinking real beer?

1 comment:

  1. Unless it's wheat beer, or the packaging INSISTS, we try to pour clear. But if a bit of yeast gets in, meh, doesn't make much difference.

    Certainly not convinced by a shot glass of yeast on the side.