There are four basic beer ingredients. Water, Malt, Hops, and yeast. There is the rare occasion that beer has some other adjuncts such as an herbs, spices, fruit, or another specialty grains, but these are typically added to a solid beer recipe.

Water makes up the majority of the volume and believe it or not has a huge impact on the finished product. Harder water with a higher mineral content will give the beer a sharper mouth feel and lend itself to the hoppier beers, where as a softer water will give the beer a smoother mouth feel and lend itself to the pale lagers.

Malt gives the beer the majority of its sweet flavor, along with color, and the ability to produce alcohol due to the sugar created in the mashing process.

Hops give beer its bitter quality and helps balance out the sweetness of the malt. Hops also have an aromatic affect and it is up to the brewer to manipulate these flavors.

Yeast is what brings it all together and converts the sugar to alcohol and creates CO2, and also lends a hand in the flavor of the beer.

All of these ingredients are put together by a brewer to come up endless flavor possibilities while trying to keep the beer free from imperfections. Then it is up to us as consumers to search out our favorite flavors of beer.