Why craft beer?

Opinion-Pg8After prohibition ended in 1933 into the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, beer consumers had little selection to choose from at the end of the work day.

While different marketing campaigns labeled their beer as “the best tasting,” variations between recipes differed only slightly. Today, the ad campaigns between competing macro breweries have evolved into American icons.

Think of the Budweiser Clydesdale, or the wwhhaattss uppp, Bud-weis-zer frogs from when I was young. These have become icons at football games, charity events and anywhere the macro companies can get their name on a banner.

Good beer doesn’t need advertisement. This becomes increasingly true when one realizes that their Bud Light is brewed using the cheapest possible ingredients, including rice and flax.

To these macro breweries (Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors), quality of the product does not matter. Profit is at the heart of their brewing.

This is almost comical, considering they hire some of the world’s best brew masters.

Craft breweries promote the artistic, passionate and quality aspects of the beers they brew. They represent the history and soul of beer, which are more important ingredients than grains or hops.

For years America has been given the reputation of having watery beers. However, many believe we are now pioneering in the world of craft beer.

According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales only make up 10.2 percent of beer sales. This number was up about 8.5 percent only five years ago.

So why choose craft beer? The world of craft beer is not only exciting, it is educational in nature. Each new beer I try is like taking a mini vacation. A world class beer can take you places.

The yeast in a Belgian farmhouse ale might take me to the wheat fields of Belgium, the salty sea air in the hops grown near a coast or any variety of characteristics.

One can compare the beer tasting process to that of wine. What does the beer look like? What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What is the mouth-feel like? This might sound intimidating to the average beer drinker, but the best part is there are no wrong answers.

Unlike wine, beer is rather easy to read on the palate, and is not as complex. With a little research and experimentation, it becomes easier and easier to catch on to what to look for within a beer.

But what if you are not into “bigger” beers and prefer light beer because it is easier to drink? Not to worry, the world of craft beer offers many lighter styles that would appeal to the light beer drinker.

Styles such as blondes, kolsch, pilsners, craft lagers and other sessionable ales and lagers offer more flavor and are equally easy to drink. These more approachable styles also serve as a great gateway into the heavier beers available.

My introduction into craft beer has changed my life, and I see people’s lives changing every day when they discover the world I have discovered. The past two years of my life have been a major learning experience.

It is more than just beer. It is an art, a passion and a lifestyle more people are discovering.
BY ANDREW DEKREY
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