Friday, July 27, 2012

Cheers To Beer

As craft beer gains popularity, a spotlight emerges on the potential nutrition benefits.

Craft brewing developed from the hobby of home-brewing with the intent to reintroduce the public to more flavor and traditions of beer when low calorie beers began to shape the American beer industry.  A majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery, so stop to sip some local brews.

Beer and Cheese
Try different pairings as an appetizer or share with friends at your next gathering.

  • Blonde Ale: Light cheese, Monterey Jack
  • Pale Ale: Mild Cheddar
  • India Pale Ale: Mild Bleu Gorgonzola 
  • Amber Ale: Light tangy cheese, Brie
  • Brown Ale: Aged Gouda
  • Stout: Long-aged cheeses, Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda
  • Hefeweizen: Herbed spread, goat cheese
  • Pilsener: Mild white Cheddar
  • Lager: White Cheddar, Monterey Jack

Pair a craft beer to your meal
Look beyond the pizza, wings, and nachos.  You can accompany a cold beer with healthful food choices (more healthy recipes will be posted soon).

  • Blond Ale, Hefeweizen, Pilsener: Lighter foods, chicken, salads, salmon, sushi
  • Pale Ale: Burgers (especially my favorite veggie burgers!)
  • India Pale Ale: Strong spicy foods, curry
  • Amber Ale: Chicken, burgers, seafood
  • Brown Ale: Roasted or grilled foods
  • Stout: Spicy, BBQ
  • Lager: BBQ, chili, burgers

Beer styles are distinctive among different brewers as dishes change with cooking methods, spices, and herbs.  Taste buds vary among individuals.  So have fun, and try new flavor combinations!

Complexity of the ingredients
  • Some craft beers follow existing styles while others create new tastes with ingredients such as pumpkin, herbs, cocoa, spices, and fruits.
  • The nutritional content of a beer will vary with the brewing process, ingredients, and quantities used.
  • Although small amounts (and should not be considered a diet staple of nutrients), beer contains about 4% of its total calories as protein.  Beer supplies micronutrients of vitamin B12, folate, vitamin B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and selenium.  But do not swap out those veggie servings just yet.
  • Traditional beer is made from yeast, barley, hops, and water.  Now, gluten-free versions substitute barley with rice, sorghum, millet, or buckwheat.  
Natural preservative
  • Utilizing the preservative quality of hops can eliminate the amount of added (unnecessary) ingredients to enhance the shelf life.
  • Bitter compounds in beer stop the growth of some bacteria, making this a safe beverage to drink in any country while traveling.

Getting to know local brewers.
Added bonus: World class beer is more affordable than the "world's best wine."

**Moderate alcohol consumption is considered no more than one drink (one 12-ounce beer) per day for women and two for men.
  • Potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney stones.
  • More does not increase the potential benefits; overindulgence will have negative effects.

*Enjoy! But remember to drink responsibly.

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