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Malt Beverages – All You Need to Know | Instacart’s Guide to Groceries

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Last Updated: Nov 29, 2021

What are malt beverages?

Malt beverages are fermented drinks made primarily from the grain of the barley plant, which undergoes a process of malting before it is turned into a drink. Malting involves steeping, germinating, and drying grain to turn it into a malt base. Malt beverages can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic based on the level of fermentation.

Beer is by far the most common beverage made out of malt. However, the “malt beverages” sector comprises other products that use a malt base with natural or artificial flavors added to give them a profile distinct from beer in terms of taste, smell, and body. Drinks with added flavors are known as flavored malt beverages (FMBs), “malternatives,” or “alcopops,” so look out for those descriptors. Some manufacturers brand malt beverages as “flavored beer,” sometimes making product categorization confusing for consumers.

Where did malt beverages originate?

Fermented drinks made with malt have a long and rich history. Malted grains were used in alcoholic beverages in ancient Egypt, Sumer, and China. This tradition was carried on from Egypt to the Roman Empire, so beer and malt beverage traditions developed and spread throughout Europe. Malt is a versatile base not only for alcoholic beverages but also as a sweetener for baking and cooking. The malting process allows the sugars from the grain to shine and gain complexity, adding to the malt base’s versatility.

What is the nutritional value of malt beverages?

Since ancient times, malt has been used as a source of concentrated energy and flavor. Grains are a natural source of vitamins and minerals. In the United States, malt beverages must contain 25% malt and at least 7.5lbs of hops per 100 barrels of liquid. 

Malt contains fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. Malt also contains protein, so non-alcoholic malt beverages are an excellent post-workout pick-me-up, as they help you both hydrate and replenish the proteins that build muscles.

Are beers and malt beverages the same?

Most beers are a type of malt beverage, but not all malt beverages are beer. Most beers use barley as a prime ingredient, but there are other varieties derived from grains such as wheat (like in white beer, made primarily in Belgium), rice (a classic in Japan), and sorghum, which is used for gluten-free beer varieties.

How do I know which malt beverage is right for me?

The malt beverage market is experiencing exponential growth, and there is an increasing number of local and international options in the market. Because the palette of natural and artificial flavors is so diverse, the best way to choose what is right for you is to think of what your preferences are when it comes to wine (are you a sweet or dry person?), beer (do you prefer lighter varieties, IPAs with lots of hops, or thick stouts?) and even soda (are you more cola or lemon?).

The classics are a good way to start, however, new options are popping up all over the globe, and Instacart provides a great departing point for your malt beverage adventures.

If you are looking to have your groceries delivered, you can easily shop for malt beverages via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to notify your Instacart shopper about any preferences or specific directions on how to choose the best products.

Are there non-alcoholic malt beverages?

Some malt beverages give you the fizziness and flavor of a typical malt beverage but don’t contain alcohol. Some classic beer manufacturers have started to offer malt beverages as a non-alcoholic option to beer.

How do I store malt beverages?

Store malt beverages just like you would store beer. Direct sunlight or sudden temperature changes can affect the flavor profile over time, so a dark, dry space such as the bottom of your pantry. Once you are ready to enjoy them, stick them in the fridge. But follow this rule: as with beer, once cold, a malt beverage should stay cold. If you let it go to room temperature, the flavor will be “burnt,” It can also become flat. 

Where can you buy malt beverages?

Looking to buy? Shop for alcohol delivery or pick-up order through Instacart to find clear product categories that will make your shopping easy!

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Instacart is the leading online grocery platform in North America, partnering with more than 700 beloved national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to deliver from more than 65,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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