Microbrewery: production and selling of craft beer
Microbrewery encloses two different types of firms: brewpub, the place that produces beer just for its business, and the real brewery, that instead produce beer to supply other shops or pubs.
In the period between the end of the ‘90s and the first years of 2000 in Italy there where more brewpub, whereas recently the real microbrewery has spread widely.
Craft beer: its ingredients
Craft beer is a drink made with only four natural ingredients: water, barley malt, hop and yeast.
Malt is obtained through the germination of the barley seeds and then stopping the germination through the drying. During this process the barley is subjected to important changes and it produces different essential substances useful for the brew process.
Hop is a plant that comes from regions with a mild climate. In particular, the sprouts are usually used to produce beer that mature at the end of august. Hop gives to the beer an intense aroma that is a real natural preservative.
Yeast, instead, as known, is an organism able to activate the fermentation.
The process to produce beer is quite simple.
First of all barley malt is grinded and it rests in a tank of water. This process is pretty important even for the following production phases. When the amid is transformed into sugar and the solid substance will be filtered. In this way the must is ready to boil.
During the mashing phase, the grinded cereal is mixed with hot water in order to activate the enzymes contained in the malt. Generally this phase is carried out with the help of a double bottom that allows the must to be filtered, until it is completely pure. A great quantity of sugar usually remains on the filter, thus, it is necessary to get it back to optimize a new must through other phases of filtering. During this process it is fundamental to avoid that with the peels goes in the must and in the boiling phase because they can cause a release of tannins giving acid taste to the beer.
The boiling of the must, after having filtered it, take place for a period of time that can vary from 60 to 90 minutes. It carries out different functions, as it favours the sterilization of the must, its concentration throughout evaporation and the precipitation of proteins and polyphenols.
The must, after the boiling process, has little oxygen; thus the brewer has to put it inside the mix, generally adding pure oxygen or sterile air. At this stage, when the must is ready to the fermentation and the addition of the yeast. Craft beer needs to rest to mature and finally it is bottled.
Microbrewery yesterday and today
During the years the microbrewery has changed, above all for the used equipment for the production of the beer. Before it was completely made of wood (and copper), whereas today the tools are made of steel. Moreover today, there is a better thermoregulation of the cellars and a better care of the sterilization.