A brewed and fermented beverage made from malted barley or other starchy aereals, beer is flavoured with hops, the tiny blossoms of the hop vine. Malt beverages such as LAGER, STOUT, ALE and PORTER are classified as beer. Brewing and beer are as old as recorded history and were known to many ancient civilizations.
In general, beer contains between three and seven percent alcohol. The particular type of yeast used as the fermenting agent in the brewing process is what makes the difference between beers.
Every country that produces beer provides a variety of types and flavours. Denmark, for example, is famous for its lager and Ireland for stout.
Beer may be served any time. Its characteristic sharp tang complements highly flavoured or spicy dishes and such foods as hamburger, steak, corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, sausage, cold meats, all pork dishes, fried dishes and grilled lobster and oysters. All the sharper cheeses go well with beer or ale.
Beer is also used as an ingredient in many recipes, notably the Belgian dish, CARBONNADES FLAMANDES.