The Art of American Craft Beer
Craft beer is bigger than ever, and with new breweries opening every week, it's important to know the differences between craft brews and your standard suds.
It's no secret that craft beer is a rising star in the alcohol industry. The total number of barrels produced last year more than doubled what was brewed in 2011. America's love affair with craft beer is still in the honeymoon phase, so you might be wondering what the buzz is all about.
1. Learn The ABCs--According to Sam Adams, an early pioneer of American craft brewing, these are the ABCs of quality craft beer:
A) A lot of flavor--Never bland, weak or watered down
B) Balanced--One flavor should never dominate or be too extreme
C) Complexity--Full of character and depth, not one dimensional
2. Small Talk--The Brewers Association just released a new seal to certify independent craft brewers, which will soon appear on packaging. An American craft brewer is defined as small and independent, yielding an annual production under 6 million barrels of beer (although most produce far less).
3. Brand New Brews--Craft beer is produced with 100% barley, wheat malt or other fermentable ingredients that enhance (rather than lighten) flavor. Incorporating both traditional resources & innovative components, craft brewers re-interpret historic beer styles with unique twists. As a result, there are now more than 150 beer styles.
4. Labor Of Love--The craft beer movement is largely an American phenomenon that began some 30 years ago. The U.S. is moving away from industrial, mass-produced fizzy yellow beer, evolving into a breeding ground for countless small-batch varieties. Over 5,300 breweries now operate in America, nearly twice the amount that existed in 2013.
5. Think & Drink Locally--More than 78% of adults live within 10 miles of a brewery. Support your local craft brewers by visiting their taprooms and buying their products. Use this guide to find a craft brewery near you.