The Farsons Beer Festival, this year in its 37th consecutive year, has become must-go-to event for both beer lovers and non-beer lovers alike. Why? It runs over 10 days, the lineup is jam-packed with both renowned and emerging artists, and apart from the main stage, audiences can gather around the rock stage and the Blues N Brew Stage. Best thing? It’s not just about beer. The variety of cuisines and drinks available make it one of the summer festivals that deserve a visit or two by all the family!
You may not be into beer, but we think that this week, it merits a try. Give it a go with this guide we’ve prepared exclusively for you, non-beer aficionados.
What is beer in the first place?
We know you’re not daft, and that most probably you have known about beer for as long as you can remember, but as a festival attendee, knowing exactly what beer is made of is a must. Simple; beer is an alcoholic drink made of barley, hops, water and yeast. However, making beer doesn’t simply require a mix of these four simple ingredients. A series of biochemical reactions needs to take place in order to convert barley to fermentable sugars, and to allow yeast to multiply and to convert those same sugars into alcohol.
What’s a lager?
How many times do you give the beverage list a million thoughts, and when rushed into placing the order, you end up settling for a lager? Beer dummies often perceive lager to be a safe option. It’s common, and the term is a buzzword within the beer world, so it must be good, mustn’t it? But what is lager exactly? Lagers are better understood if compared to their major counterparts: Ales. Ales and lagers are the two main types of beers, but whilst lagers are generally lighter in body, ales are fuller, maltier and more aromatic. Lagers are better served cold, whilst ales, in contrast, are better served warm.
Why is it different from an ale?
Essentially, lagers and ales are made of bottom-fermented yeast, at colder temperatures, whilst ales come about following the brewing of top fermenting yeast at colder temperatures. Just like wine, ales can be aged, so much so that the term Ale derives from the German equivalent meaning old. You think you can distinguish an ale or a lager just from it’s colour? You’re wrong. Both can be light as much as they can be dark, and in reality colour says nothing about their bitterness or alcohol content.
How Should I Drink it?
All the bars at The Farsons Beer Festival are stocked up with a never-ending number of bottles ready to be chugged. You can also opt for draught beer if you like, but have you ever wondered why beer cans are nowhere to be seen? Beer is best served in a glass. Why? Pouring your beer activates the process of carbonation, and creates a foamy head. Whenever a tiny bubble pops, it releases a little burst of aroma, and swirling the glass a bit, just like you would do with wine, releases the scent too. Besides, pouring beer into a clear glass gives you an indication of its true colour, hinting at the levels of maltiness and creaminess it contains.
What food to pair it with?
Beer can taste just like anything you want, really. It can be sweet, bitter or fruity for instance, and when accompanied by food, the choice will make all the difference. At The Farsons Beer Festival you will find a whole selection of kiosks, many of them set up by some of the best talent we have on the island at the moment, but in front of such a vast choice, you are to think of the beer. The beer is actually why you are at The Farsons Beer Festival, in the first place, and you don’t want to spoil it. This is why on Facebook Farsons have come up with some clever pairings that bring together beer and food items: to help you make this experience a pleasant one indeed.
Want to come up with your own beer-food pairing? Not to worry. Just keep in mind that the food must complement the beer, and that strongly-flavoured foods require beers that contain generous amounts of alcohol, malt and hop. It’s not rocket science, is it? Whilst hop bitterness in beer balances the sweetness of food, it in turn emphasises its spiciness. So next time, you better pay attention to what beer you’re going to pair your slice of pepperoni pizza or carrot cake with!
The Farsons Beer Festival kicks off this evening, Thursday 28th July, at 20:00, and runs until Sunday 6th August, at Ta’ Qali National Park. Entrance and public parking will be provided for free.
2017 – VIDA Magazine – Clifford Jo Zahra
Photo Credits: The Farsons Beer Festival