Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The OWB Scale Explained

The argument that there are only two types of beer has a few variations: Ale or Lager? Warm or cold? Low alcohol or full strength? Good or bad? But there's no bad beer, some just taste better than others. Draught or containered? Why do people go to a pub and drink beer out of a bottle or can? 
I'm putting forward the proposition that all beers can be divided into 5 categories 

THE OWB Scale Categories
1. BEER. This is the simple straightforward, don't think too deeply about it, stuff that tastes like ........ beer. They can be chilled to within a fraction of freezing and no-one will complain. They're designed to be quaffed straight out of the can or bottle because no-one cares two hoots about what they look like. But for what it's worth they, like all beers, will taste better out of a glass.

2. MALT. These are the ones with flavour dominated by one of the four ingredients of beer. It's the malt that provides the sugar for the yeast to create the alcohol. And because there are so many grains, so many combinations and so many malting options there are a myriad of flavours in this category. But they all come back to a central theme of richness, toastiness, colour and complexity that demands to be poured into a glass. And sipped and savoured.

3. HOPS. The other flavour ingredient  in beer is hops and it's all about aromatic bitterness. The flavours can be so intense they are like the NZ sauvignon blancs of the beer world. They also contribute an important chemical stability to beer so they're not just all about froth and bubbles. Every time you encounter an IPA you're in for a hop blast. And as much of a hop fiend as I am [I've been known to sniff pellets of Fuggles] on a regular basis I can sympathise with beer drinkers who reject the style. If you're a fan they MUST be poured into a glass because that ensures your nose has a chance of extracting all the aromatics.

4. PERFECTION. These are the beers with a brilliantly balanced palate of hop and malt flavours. You don't taste many.but have the best glass on hand when you find one

5. WEIRD: These come about when there's a fifth additive to the basic beer ingredients of water, yeast, malt and hops. The weirdest, worst and undrinkable example is Carlton and United Breweries adding vodka to their Carlton Cold beer. Meanwhile there are mango,chilli, lychee and the Belgium fruit beers. which are all perfectly drinkable. But still weird.