What Is Craft Beer?
Throughout history, beers have been enjoyed by many cultures. Archeologists have discovered hieroglyphic depictions of beer consumption as far back as 5,000 BCE in Mesopotamia (today’s modern-day Middle East).
A craft beer is brewed by an independent, small, local brewery that does not use mass production techniques. These beers have unique and sometimes non-traditional ingredients that are used for distinctiveness.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, microbreweries grew at a rapid rate. These brewers fought back against the corporate swill of the time and crafted beers that valued flavor, hops profiles, and regionality over bland, mass-market drinkability.
Craft beer culture emphasizes small, independent breweries that provide business and community to their surrounding areas. It also places a heavy emphasis on the brewing process and the personal relationship that beer can create between the brewer and consumer.
These beers have notable “wild” yeast character due to the use of non-Saccharomyces yeast and bacteria. They may exhibit elevated levels of acidity, resulting from the presence of these organisms.
This category includes any beer that has a substantial amount of barrel or spirit character (including oak, bourbon, gin, rum, wine, brandy, vermouth, and tequila) and has a base beer that deftly marries the wood or spirit with its base. This character should be prominent and well integrated into the base beer’s finish, but should not overwhelm or overpower any other element of the underlying beer.
While it is not a precise definition, the Craft Beer Association defines it as beer made by an independent brewer that does not use mass production methods. This allows people to know that they are drinking a high-quality beer and provides the brewers a strong foundation to build their reputation.