By Eleni Upah
“I’m not sure if…there is a bad beer with a burger.”
That pretty much says it all. Or, at least it does for Confluence Brewing Company’s president and co-Founder John Martin. If he had to choose one beer that he likes to enjoy with a flavorful burger in the warm summer months, though, he says it would be the smooth South Side Citra Blonde.
With a mix of floral, fruity and, of course, citrus flavors, the South Side Citra is a refreshing, drinkable ale. Martin created this one himself, looking for a summer blonde ale that was light but not boring. Citra hops give this beer a punchy flavor, Martin added — slightly bitter, but it still goes down easily. The bold flavors, he said, are the best pairings with burgers because of their own bold flavor. And with a 6.3 alcohol percentage, it’s safe to enjoy a couple glasses with a good meal.
Whether it comes in a can, bottle or from a tap, beer, and craft beer especially, is a staple in the summertime. What’s better than leaving the office to kick back and relax with a cold one? Even grilling up a good burger requires two instruments: a spatula in one hand and a beer in the other.
So how is a beer so flavorful and thirst quenching created? Like most brews, it all starts with malted grains and barley. The “malters” take the grain and germinate it to a certain point before drying it. That process transforms the inside of the grain kernels and breaks them down so they are easier to brew. The grain goes into 150-degree water, which activates the enzymes to convert the starches into sugars — a necessary part of turning it into alcohol. The brewing takes about eight to 10 hours. Fermentation is the next step, and it can take anywhere from one to two weeks, but Martin also likes to mature the yeast for optimal flavoring, which means letting it set at the right temperature — 62-72 degrees for ales and 48-56 degrees for lagers — for a few more days.
It’s a delicate process that requires quality ingredients, clean machinery and a lot of patience. RELISH