What is Craft Beer?
Craft Beer is made in small batches, usually by a single brewer, and is differentiated from mass-produced lagers (or macrobrews) by its use of higher-quality ingredients, greater emphasis on brewing technique, and refusal to compromise taste. It’s also brewed and sold locally, which supports the community.
The earliest brewers were women, who brewed beer in their homes as a way to prepare food and welcome guests. This domestic tradition was an important part of ancient Mesopotamian culture, and the Code of Hammurabi even conjugated “tavern-keeper” with the female form.
By the 1970’s, a growing counterculture movement in America encouraged a do-it-yourself aesthetic and reduced confidence in big business and government. The increase in bland, mass-produced lagers, led to the rise of a backlash against corporate beer.
Brewmasters began opening smaller breweries that focused on making beer that was full-flavored, respected old-world European traditions, but was also uniquely American. The growth of the craft brewery industry was fueled by a rising interest in flavor, a willingness to try new things and embrace innovation, and technological developments that allowed local beer to be easily found and bought.
But it wasn’t until the 1980’s that craft brewing really started to take off, and in 1996 the Brewers Association formalized a definition of what constituted a craft beer. To be considered a craft brewer, the brewery must be independent, not owned by a macro-brewery and it must use ingredients that are both novel and traditional. The resulting beers are not only delicious, they provide an immersive experience that excites the senses and challenge the palate.