Introduction to Beers
The key ingredients
Before brewing that delicious strawberry infused craft beer, we gotta get the basics right. Beer is made up of 4 major components - malt, hops, yeast and loads of water. While "water" needs no introduction, here's a quick summary on the other three components:
Barley is the foundation of most Western beers. The grains are soacked in water and start to germinate, their enzymes converting stored starches to sugars. Roasted, they then become malt, which has different colours and names, depending on its degree of roasting. Other grains - wheat, rye, rice, millet, buckwheat - are also sometimes used, with or without being malted.
A microscopic organism that is lives in the wild, yeast converts carbohydrates to alcohol and carbon dioxide, Bakers use yeast to make bread rise, and brewers use it for fermenting the sugars and carbohydrates in malt into alcohol. Yeasts are delicate organisms, doing their job best in a range of temperatures and environmental conditions. Any higher or lower, and they will die off (which is also why we do not get a runaway fermentation to reach 100% alcohol by volume). Specific beer-types and brands use proprietary yeasts - Carlsberg isn't just a beer place, you know!
Types of Beers
Beers are generally classified into Ales and Lagers. The infographic below makes for a easy reference.
Here's a slightly more detailed snippet from The Straits Times.