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Town & Country Distributors has been dedicated to serving the Northwest Metro Chicago and Northwest Suburbs with a wide selection of malt beverages since it was founded in 1953.
 
Town & Country Distributors

Beer Brewing & History

Brewing

Refreshing, well made and flavorful- it's what consumers look for in a beer. To get such a beer, everything needs to be just right. To create and maintain fresh beer taste, four factors must be closely monitored from the Brewhouse through distribution: Oxygen, Light, Time & Temperature.

Brewing begins with malted barley being crushed in a malt mill. The malt is then weighted and dropped into a Mash Tun. This must be done with care so that excess oxygen is not introduced during the milling of mashing process.

A mash tun is a brewing vessel constructed of stainless steel or copper. The malt is mixed with water using an agitator, producing what is called mash. Starches in the grains are converted to fermentable sugars by malt enzymes during a carefully controlled time / temperature regimen.

A spoon full of fermentable sugar . . .

The malted barley remains in the mash tun until the correct sugar content has been produced. Many other enzymatic reactions occur, which are important later in the brewing process. The mash is pumped into the lauter tun or press, which separates the liquid from the solid. This sugary liquid is called wort. The introduction of oxygen must be minimized at this stage to assure beer freshness.

The grains left in the lauter tun or press are rinsed- or "sparged" – to ensure that the maximum amount of sugar is carried forward. The wort is transferred to the brew kettle.

Hops, or an extract of hops, can be added at varying points during the brewing process, including during the kettle boil or post-fermentation. Depending on the time of addition and the hop variety, hops will add aroma, bitterness and or mouth feel.

The wort is brought to a boil and boiled gently for a specified length of time to bring out desired characteristics in the beer. Boiling for the shortest possible time helps to assure flavor stability. The wort is transferred from the kettle to a whirlpool, or hot wort tank, where unwanted protein and hop residue are allowed to settle out.

Fermenting

Fermenting is the process of making alcohol and CO2. Fermentation begins with wort which is taken from the hot wort tank, cooled and aerated – or oxygenated- en route to the fermenter where fermentation takes place. En route to the fermentation tank, brewer's yeast is added or "pitched" into the wort. In the fermentation tank the yeast grows, converting the wort's fermentable sugars into alcohol, CO2 and numerous flavor compounds.

Fermenting takes 8 to 10 days to complete, following a specific temperature profile, dependent on the yeast strain and beer brand. The yeast is removed upon completion through flocculation (sedimentation), centrifugation and filtration.

Aging

After fermentation, the fermented wort is transferred to an aging tank and is officially beer. But, you do not want to drink it just yet. At this stage the young beer, or "green beer" needs to mature. This is where an aging tank comes in. The green beer is stored in this tank at a temperature of approximately 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, allowing its flavors to blend and mellow.

Packaging

Packaging involves filling beer into bottles, cans or kegs and then packaged for deliver to distributors. The brew, now aged to perfection, is pumped from the aging tanks, through a filter, to the packaging release tank. The beer is filtered at less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure brilliant clarity.

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