6 facts every man should know about beer
They say that you can’t enjoy a six-pack while working on your six-pack. They’re wrong. An occasional post-work bevvie won’t drain away your training goals, and a compound found in your usual can actually beat off metabolic syndrome, according to a new study published in the journal Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in beer hops can reduce your levels of LDL ('bad' cholesterol), while also dropping your insulin levels.
And that's not all, there’s plenty of evidence to say a pint couldhelpyour post-workout recovery. But here’s the problem: so many mass-produced beers fall short of the bar, sacrificing taste for profit.
So how can you get your hands on a world class pint? Turn away from your mate’s dodgy garage brew and towards our ultimate guide from Toby Knowles, beer expert, Managing Director of the award-winning Harviestoun brewery and avidMHreader, to find out how to spot a world-class beer and avoid the pub’s duds
If you want to spot a beer with a real depth of flavour then you’ve got to judge by first impressions. When you get a pint, hold it up to the light; “If your beer is cloudy then it’s probably not a good one,” says Knowles. Why? “It’s a strong indication there’s been a problem in that brews filterisation process.” However, if you’re looking at a clear, shiny pint then you’re onto a winner.
2. Pay attention to the top
At the risk of sounding like a badCarry onfilm (i.e. any of them),when it comes to head, you want it nice and tight. A dense layer of small bubbles on your beer means it’s been carbonated properly and will pack its full punch of flavour, according to Knowles. But what if your barman hands over a headless pint that looks a tad watery? The beer could be flat due to a rushed fermentation process, which means (you guessed it) the flavour is ruined. It might not be British, but you’ll be better off asking for another. You deserve it.
(Related: The healthy guide to beer)
3. A great beer can be tasted for longer
Fun fact: lager comes from the German meaning ‘to store’. But try telling that to some of Europe’s lager producers. Many of them only leave it to brew for 48 hours before distributing while great beers are kept for six months, claims Knowles. So what? So, you’ll get a weaker flavour, more evident in how long you can taste it. “A great beer should have a start, a middle and an end. If all the flavour is gone after you’ve swallowed then it’s not a good beer.”
But what if you’re on a night out and flavour’s the last thing on your mind? The less you can taste then the more likely your drink is filled with chemicals that will give you a nasty hangover. We’re looking at you, Stella.
(Related:MH's 13 top tips to get over a hangover)
4. You should smell before tasting
Want to win a bet or two come pub night? Using just your sense of smell and you’ve got a good chance of telling where that beer is from. “British beers tend to have an earthly, hop kind of aroma, Americans normally have a citrusy one and a German one is likely to have a kind of grassy smell to it.” Hone your nose and you won’t pay for a drink all night.
(Related: The simple reason you should workout every day)
5. Air = flavour
“Want a glass with that, mate?” If you’ve just brought a bottle of your local’s finest ale then always says yes. Pouring will aerate your beer, bringing out its full flavour. And if you want to take it to the next level then swirl the beer in its glass and breathe in while the beer settles in your mouth to release more flavours. But probably best to do that at home if you want to avoid any funny looks from your mates.
6. How percentages impact flavour
What’s going to taste better: a 4% or 8% beer? You can’t tell, says Knowles. “Mistake number one is thinking that the stronger the pint, the better the taste. It’s not true.” Sure, the alcohol levels plays a huge part in bringing out flavour – that’s why Becks blue tastes as bad as it does – but it’s not the determining factor. “You can have a fantastic beer at 3% - what seperates a good and bad beer is the quality of the ingredients and how they’ve been mixed.” The bottom line: brewing trumps percentage every time.
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