The funny thing about craft beer is that there are tons of people who consume craft beer on a regular basis but have a difficult time explaining what it is.
Why is craft beer special? What makes it any different? Why wouldn’t I just drink Budweiser?
Craft beer is completely different from the mass produced commercial beers. By definition, craft beer is regarded as a specialty beer, brewed in reduced quantities by smaller scale brewing operations. Now, that is merely a textbook definition. What that definition actually implies is that the beer is only produced in smaller quantities because it’s given more attention and care than the large commercial beers. Undeniably, the difference in quality is immediately recognizable when you compare craft beer to mass produced lagers.
The other thing about craft beer is that it has an identity.
If you’ve ever tried the Ballast Point Sculpin, you can immediately recall the flavor from memory. If you were to line up 5 of the major commercials beers in unlabeled cups, you would hardly be able to tell which one is which. If you put 5 of your favorite IPAs or other craft beers next to each other, immediately you would be able to identify which beer it was from which brewery. The flavors are just so much more complex than what you’ll get from an aluminum can in a 30 pack.
Consuming craft beer is also a totally different style of drinking altogether.
People typically drink craft beer slower, almost like wine, because each sip is a bit of a journey with a full range of flavors that change from the initial wetting of your tongue to the finish after you swallow. Mass produced beer just simply doesn’t compare when you attempt to drink it and enjoy it with all this in mind. It is almost too bland, without anything that really jumps out at you in the taste or texture. It’s pretty much just “beer” at that point, where the difference in taste and quality between two commercial brands is so small, you can hardly tell.
Craft beer is gaining some serious notoriety in the United States however. Along with many other people, I would love to see craft beer ultimately uproot the commercial beer industry and set the standard much higher for beer in the USA. With companies like Sam Adams continuing to grow, I think that could eventually be a reality. Until then, enjoy the flavors of the week and hope that they stand the test of time.
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