The beer you’d want to drink after a long, sweaty run

The beer you’d want to drink after a long, sweaty run

One of the most interesting Canadian craft beers last year was the result of a collaboration by two well-known and well-loved Vancouver companies: Stanley Park Brewery and Lulu Lemon clothing. Their shared creation, Curiosity Lager, featured a light taste… and a brand profile like no other craft beer on the market.

work hard play hard

Active People Like Beer, Too

seaweeze release curiosity large 500mlIn an interview about the collaboration that led to Curiosity Lager, one of the brewers pointed out that it was designed to be “the kind of beer you’d want to drink after a long, sweaty run.” I think it’s fair to say that sounds pretty great to most of us, regardless of whether we shave our faces or our legs.

Is it really so surprising that the kind of people who would push themselves through a gruelling 13 mile run would enjoy a nice frosty beer afterward? And knowing that, why aren’t more brewers targeting them – especially the women – or at least inviting them to be a part of the brewing and marketing process?

Craft brewing is routinely thought of as a very masculine, hot deck, after work, hobby or interest. This is reinforced at almost every turn, even down to the artwork you find on craft beer labels (how many different beers can you name that feature pirates, skulls, wolves, and other masculine beer-drinkers-are-real-men style images?)

For me, Curiosity Lager stood out largely because it was packaged and presented differently. It had a touch of the feminine without being non-masculine. I think the design team really hit the nail on the head, in giving active people something that reflected their style and nature. That’s probably not surprising, since the branding was handled by the designers of popular women’s athletic wear, but it’s still a noteworthy victory within the growing craft beer industry.

active lifestyle refreshmentWhile this wasn’t the first attempt to market a craft beer to women and runners in particular, it makes me wonder if there isn’t a huge market out there that’s being underserved. And for that matter, it also makes me wonder how many would-be craft brewers there are out there who just haven’t found their passion yet because they feel left out of the party.

We Need More Exciting Craft Beer Collaborations

The other takeaway from the Curiosity Lager experiment, in my mind, is that great things happen when brewers partner with local businesses, fans, and even each other. Some of the best creative projects are unique collaborations, and make no mistake: brewing craft beer is a creative endeavour.

Lulu Lemon and Stanley Park Brewery were brought together by a half marathon in the summer. I’d love to see further partnerships grow around festivals, seasonal ingredients, or even charitable causes. For instance, a portion of the sales from Curiosity Lager went towards preservation of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Why couldn’t a craft beer be the focal point of a fundraiser, or even some sort of live event?

From all accounts, these two companies came together for the right reasons. Each had access to a group of fun-loving fans and customers, and they worked together to produce a product that was valuable to both audiences. We need more exciting craft beer collaborations that combine good times, personal passions, and a love of community.

Share Your Favourite Craft Beer Partnerships With Us

Curiosity Lager was one of my favourite craft beer stories of last summer, but I’m sure it wasn’t the only one. Have you come across an interesting collaboration or seasonal brew? Or do you know of an event that launching this summer? Share your stories with us in social or in the comments below!

Can You Tell Anything About a Craft Beer From Its Label?

Can You Tell Anything About a Craft Beer From Its Label?

Generally speaking, looking at the label on a beer bottle isn’t the best way to tell if you’re going to like what’s inside. It’s one of those cases where conventional wisdom is dead on. There’s something to be said for paying attention to the old advice about “books and covers,” even if you never found a book as tasty as your favourite craft beer.

craft beer bottle labels

But, that’s not the same as saying you should ignore craft beer labels altogether. For one thing, that would be impossible – we are all visual creatures, and like it or not, we are influenced by what we see on any form of packaging or advertising. And for another thing, there are a few pieces of potentially important information you can glean from craft beer labels.

To give you a sense of what those might be, and why they matter, here are a few things you can tell from taking a closer look at your favourite bottle…
skull splutter hand crafted ale

What Kind of Beer is Inside the Bottle

Usually, the label on a craft beer bottle is going to tell you something about the kind of beer found within. Whether it’s a pale ale, an IPA, a stout, or something different, you’ll probably get an immediate sense of what kind of brew you can expect by reading the label.

Note, however, that different types of beers can overlap and craft beer brewers are known for breaking with convention. So, don’t necessarily expect that anything you’re buying is going to taste the way you feel it should based on experiences with similar beers.

Where the Company is Located

Most craft beer labels feature a company name, a nickname for the beer itself, and some kind of indication of where it was brewed. This might be as broad as a province, or as specific as a street address. You may or may not care to know where your beer grew up, but it can actually be useful information.

For starters, lots of us like to support local craft beer breweries, and to know that the beer we’re getting is as fresh as it could be. Also, brewers in different areas have access to different ingredients. They also have to adhere to different standards on quality and alcohol content.

A Little Bit About the Brewer’s Personality

It’s not likely that the brewer will have designed the artwork on a bottle themselves (although this does happen more than you might think), but looking at things like fonts and images can give you a sense of their personality. As a professional designer, I would argue that it can even tell you a little bit about their approach to brewing.

At the very least, paying attention to what’s on the label can give you a sense of what the craft brewer is hoping you’ll think or feel before your first sip. That alone can help you enjoy the beer just a little bit more.

The Story of the Beer

Some craft beer labels will have a short story about where the brew comes from. These can be fun and interesting bits of trivia, although it’s best to take any of them with a grain of salt. The more successful a craft brewer is, the more likely they are to have good marketing and storytelling instincts that could lead them to bend the truth a little bit.

Along with their origin stories, some beers will have awards and other honours printed directly on the labels. Any mark of quality can be a good one when you’re searching for something new to try.
Ephemere Poire Pear

A Glimpse Into the Ingredients

Finally, it’s worth remembering that you can learn a little bit about the ingredients within a bottle of beer by studying the label. That information might not be important for certain types of brews, but it can let you know if you’re dealing with a specialty beer (for instance, one that contains chocolate or coffee), or if the beer contains something you don’t especially like.

For instance, a friend of mine hates the taste of cilantro. It’s a surprisingly common ingredient in summer ales and IPAs, so he checks the labels to ensure he doesn’t waste his money on something he would hate to drink.

All in all, it’s best not to judge a beer by its label. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t give a quick glance to figure out what’s inside before you make a purchase or take your first sip.

order a beer box now

Could Drinking Craft Beer Change Your Life?

Could Drinking Craft Beer Change Your Life?

For all the love and praise I heap upon craft beers and the brewers who produce them, I have to admit recreational drinking is probably not the healthiest habit I’ve developed in my time. Don’t get me wrong: sipping a nice cold beer can be great for the mind, and certainly won’t harm you the way smoking a pack of cigarettes might. But, it’s not exactly like taking up jogging either, is it? And, drinking beer isn’t going to pay you back in the way investing or stamp collecting might.

drink local craft beer

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9 Ways to Grow Your Love of Craft Beer

9 Ways to Grow Your Love of Craft Beer

I’m a fan craft beers for a lot of reasons. There are the different tastes and textures, of course, along with the different brewers and personalities that I have come to know like old friends. There is also an unexpected aspect that I think enhances my enjoyment, though: I feel like I’m constantly learning and being inspired. Instead of just opening a bottle of beer and drinking, I’m picking up new ideas and appreciations.

craft beer fans celebrate

For some of you, this little bit of extra education might be beside the point. However, I suspect that a lot of craft beer lovers enjoy learning about the people, history, ingredients, and brewing processes behind their favourite drinks. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of nine short things you can might want to try that may increase your love of craft brewing while giving you just a little extra knowledge and appreciation…

#1 Become a Craft Beer Student

Learning about craft brewing can be almost overwhelming. There so many different regions, flavors, and varieties of beer to learn about that it can take a while to even know what you are tasting. My advice would be to spend five or ten minutes a day looking up beer facts online. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll pick up in a short amount of time.

#2 Learn About Different Kinds of Brews

Having a bit of general knowledge about fear is great, but you can go a little bit further by learning differences between lagers, pilsners, ambers, and stouts (not to mention the other beer varieties). Sometimes, recognizing the different origins, ingredients, and brewing processes involved with each can help you pick out individual flavours or personal preferences.

1k followers on instagram#3 Get to Know Different Brews

If you try enough craft beers, you’ll undoubtedly start to grow an appreciation for a handful of favourite brewers. All of them have websites, and many have interesting stories about where they came from and how they approach brewing. In just a few minutes, you could learn something interesting about your favourite beer that you wouldn’t have otherwise realized.

#4 Visit a Brewery or Attend a Tasting

There’s nothing quite like getting the story – not to mention your first step – straight from the source. Lots of well-known breweries give tours, and samples, that can be a lot of fun for a craft beer fan. The same goes for tasting events, which can give you the chance to try many different beers in one sitting. Depending on where you live, you might be able to check out a tour or tasting without having to travel far from home.

#5 Get a Feel for Special Ingredients

There are some beer ingredients, like chocolate and pear, for example, that give a very distinctive taste. By trying these kinds of brews once in a while, you can develop the ability to pick them out. And, doing so could give you a better appreciation for what it takes to blend these flavours along with other ingredients. You might even end up liking a few of them!

#6 Feed Your Adventurous Side

My personal goal as a craft beer lover is to taste something new at least once a week. I won’t pretend I end up loving everything I buy, but I do enjoy the sense of adventure that comes with sampling a previously-unknown bottle or brewery. If you can learn to be spontaneous, it won’t be long before you can recognize many different beers and styles.

#7 Judge Some Bottles by Their Covers

We all know it can be a bad idea to judge books and beers by their labels, since we might not get what we were expecting. When you’re aiming to try some brand-new flavours, though, opting for the unexpected can be perfect. Once in a while, go to the store, grab something with a label that appeals to you, and make a point of trying it without worrying what’s in the bottle first.

#8 Try Seasonal Craft Beers

Lots of brewers come out with new beers in the summer and winter, both as a way to use fresh ingredients and to meet their customers’ demands. Sometimes, these beers can be amongst the best you’ll ever have. Don’t be afraid to try the newest and freshest bottle you can find.

#9 Brew Your Own Batch

Of course, one of the best ways to learn about beer is to actually brew your own batch. Don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to come up with something you really want to drink. Just remember that learning, experimenting, and even failing are half the fun. If nothing else, you’ll come away with more knowledge about what it takes to brew your favourite type of beer. Disclaimer: I haven’t brewed my own… yet. But when I do, I already know it’s going to be a dark beer.

In theory, enjoying craft beer is all about finding something you like and taking a sip. In reality, I find that the more you know, the easier it is to really appreciate the effort that went into a certain brew or recipe.

Do you agree? I’d love to know what kind of knowledge you’ve picked up that has only increased your love of craft beer. Let me know in the comments below or in social!

Debunking Myths About the German Beer Purity Laws

Debunking Myths About the German Beer Purity Laws

When it comes to beer, “German” isn’t just a category of geographic origin, it’s an implicit stamp of quality and style, thanks in part to their Beer Purity laws. Maybe it’s because our Bavarian cousins take the art of brewing so seriously, and have been at it for so long, but most of us associate German beers with a certain colour, taste, and clean flavour. We hold them up to a standard that we wouldn’t expect many other beers to meet.

is the german beer purity law fact or myth?

In the background of these impressions – or perhaps holding them up – are the legendary German Beer Purity Laws, or Reinheitsgebot. Dating back five centuries, they require brewers to hold themselves to certain impeccable standards… or so you’ll occasionally hear.

As it turns out, most craft beer enthusiasts don’t actually know what’s stated in Germany’s Beer Purity Laws, or if they are even real in the first place. So, we did a little bit of digging, and want to share a couple of facts and myths. The details we learned shed a little bit of insight into what it means to brew and drink beer in Germany, and make for some great cocktail party chatter.

Fact: There are Real Beer Standards in Germany

Let’s start by acknowledging that Reinheitsgebot is a real thing. Enacted in 1516, the laws state that only water, barley, hops, and yeast can be used to make beer in Germany. However, while the popular belief is that these rules were put into place to ensure the quality of beer in a place where quality is so closely monitored, the reality is a bit different.

schneider weisse aventis 500ml

Myth: They Were Devised to Protect Beer Quality

Actually, German Beer Purity Laws weren’t put into place to protect beer at all – they were enacted to stop crops (like wheat) that were needed to make bread from being turned into beer. In times when food was scarce, leaders worried that many would go hungry while nutritious grains were being used in new brews.

Over time, the myth and legend of the laws, along with the high standards German brewers held themselves to, meant that people came to associate them with quality.

Fact: Most German Brews Still Adhere to the Old Standard

The majority of German beers on the market today do still adhere to the guidelines set forth in the Purity Laws. However, it’s important to note that brewers regularly bend the guidelines to achieve a specific effect.

For example, hops can be grown and cultivated in a number of different varieties, some being more aromatic and flavorful than others. So, a German brewer might choose one with an acidic, flowery, or citrus-like taste to achieve a brew that is very similar to one with coriander, wheat, or lemon.

In that way, they can adhere to traditional German standards while experimenting with different flavor profiles. It’s probably not for the reason you might think, though.

Erdinger Weissbrau DunkelMyth: There are Penalties for Breaking Beer Purity Laws

Contrary to popular belief, German brewers won’t be fined or otherwise penalized for deviating from the traditional standards. Most do as a point of pride, but even that can be a controversial stance.

Many brewers and beer-lovers in Germany think of Reinheitsgebot as an interesting relic that doesn’t have much use in the modern world. That’s because restricting the ingredients that can be used in beer limits creativity. And, arguably puts German brewers at a disadvantage to the rest of the world.

Also, numerous small exceptions have been added to the list over the years, meaning that it’s relatively easy for companies to adhere to old purity standards based on a technicality more than fact.

So, are German Beer Purity Laws Still Relevant?

The question of whether Reinheitsgebot is still relevant (beyond being interesting beer trivia) in today’s world is an open one. Certainly, it’s a great tradition, and a part of history that comes to life every time you sip a lager and get that clean, distinctive German beer taste.

And yet, being the fan of creativity that I am, I hate to see anyone restrict themselves from thinking outside the box just because preserving wheat was a priority in the 16th century. There will always be room for the classics, but things change and the world gets better every time brewers find a new combination of ingredients that works. So for me, it might be time to move on.

Do you think it matters whether German brewers still adhere to old Purity Laws? I’d love to get your feedback in the comments or in social. And, we’d sure appreciate you subscribing to this blog. As fans of the craft, we’d love to connect!

Confessions of a Dark Beer Lover

Confessions of a Dark Beer Lover

Ask the common beer drinker to picture the perfect pint or bottle, and they’ll likely envision something ice cold and golden amber on a hot afternoon. But, to many a discriminating craft beer drinker, there is a whole other category of brews… one that can inspire a kind of passion that you just can’t summon with an everyday lager, the dark beer.

dark beer fan

I’m referring, of course, to dark beers. Although some of your average beer drinkers might consider #darkbeer to be something close to the dark arts, I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit that I love ‘em. Lighter beers have their place, and there’s certainly something to be said for an unfiltered Session or a Witbier. But there is a difference between infatuation and love, and the complexity of a dark beer touches my heart in the way that most golden beers can’t.

Judging a Beer by Its Colour

abandoned abbey

As I’ve noted in a previous article, dark beers aren’t really or necessarily different, per se. They don’t have to feature different ingredients, just a different brewing process.

Generally speaking, most dark beers get their colour from the grains being used, and the degree to which the malt has been roasted. Although some beers can see their colour darkened by food colouring and darker sugar, it’s usually just the same ingredients being used a different way.

Casual beer drinkers don’t often understand this, which is why they automatically assume that a dark beer is going to be heavier. But, you don’t need to look farther than the nearest pint of Guinness to see that such assumptions don’t always hold up. That beer, in particular, is lighter than a lot of lagers. It’s certainly creamy, but that stems more from the nitrogen that’s used in its preparation than the ingredients themselves.

It’s easy to automatically assume that a darker beer is going to have more alcohol, more calories, and a heavier taste, but that’s not always going to be the case, especially when it comes to the diverse styles and flavours found in craft beers.

Confessions of a Dark Beer Lover

While I find the process involved in making craft beers of any kind interesting, I have to admit that the details about malt and sugar don’t really have much to do with my enjoyment of them. In fact, it probably goes the other way around: I love dark craft beers for the way they open my nose and feel on my tongue. When it comes to what I truly love about them, however, it’s all about the taste. To help you understand why they are so special to me, here are my confessions…

1. I do make assumptions about darker craft beers

waterloo orignal dark 473ml

Although I just finished making the point that you shouldn’t assume anything about a dark beer based on its colour, I do so all the time. When I see a dark beer, I usually expect (and want) something that’s going to be rich and intense. Thankfully, craft beer makers realize that we hold these biases, and usually indulge us by producing dark beers that live up to their appearance. So, even though to assumes can make an ass-out-of-you-and-me, there’s a good chance that the dark beer you’re about to drink has a strong flavour profile.

2. Darker beers lend themselves to more ingredients

While most beers are based on wheat, malt, and hops, darker beers can be made using oats and other more robust ingredients. This lends itself to a bigger variety of styles and ideas. Where is most craft brewers are limited to the same basic ingredients, adjusted and modified for different batches, dark beer brewers have a larger palate to work with. That means more variety, and the chance to find something that’s “just right” at the moment.

3. The stronger flavours found in dark craft beers fill me with joy

deschutes black butte porter 1pintIt might sound like blasphemy to beer purists, but I love the fact that dark beers can be infused with coffee, chocolate, pumpkin, and an endless number of spices. The result is a more complex beer that doesn’t just refresh, but dances on your tongue. Dark beers can be sweet, spicy, and wonderfully bitter. They move into a range of flavours where lighter beers can’t tread, and that’s a wonderful thing.

4. I sometimes like dark beer with (or as) dessert

Because darker beers can feature richer flavours, they can more easily be paired with richer foods. In fact, the right dark beer can be the perfect accompaniment – or replacement – for your dessert. Not only can a darker beer cleanse the palate, some studies suggest they can even reduce muscle soreness. If you haven’t tried a dark beer AS an after-dinner snack, or as a treat at the end of a long day, you just don’t know what you’re missing.

5. When I’m in the right mood, only a dark beer will do

When it comes down to it, dark beers aren’t just about another colour, but an entirely different category. Once you start craving one, you just can’t be satisfied with the fun but simple taste of your average beer. When the mood is right, only a dark brew will do.

So, time to share your confessions… what is your favourite dark beer? Is it a #craft or a #macro? Is it an Oyster or a Chocolate, or something as exotic as kale?

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What the Colour of Craft Beer Tells You

What the Colour of Craft Beer Tells You

As the autumn leaves changed colour all around me this fall, I was reminded that the same golden, reddish, and darker shades of brown that can be found on trees at that time of year also tend to appear regularly in my refrigerator.

In fact, consciously or not, many of us craft beer lovers tend to categorize our favourite not so much by type (lager, stout, etc.) but by the way they catch our eyes when being poured into a glass.

take your first sip of beer with your eyes

This might not be logical, but colour preference is natural.

As someone who makes a living in the design industry, I know firsthand that visual impressions are important… just as they can be misleading. That’s why I want to use today’s post to examine the subtleties in craft beer colour, where they come from, and how they affect our experience with a particular bottle.

By the way, if you’re interested in the precise science at work here, you can check out the industry-standard guide for different beer colours here.
beer colours

Where Beer Colour Comes From

There are a few different factors that can affect the colour of beer. The biggest has to do with the concentration of malt within a batch. As the brew is heated, malt is oxidized, giving off a brownish tint. The temperature and duration of the heating can go a long way towards determining the final shade of yellow, red, or brown.

Of course, because the aesthetics of craft brewing matter almost as much as taste, it shouldn’t be a surprise that brewers look for a certain shade. This can be a matter of personal preference, market expectation, or even seasonal variety. For example, a beer with chocolatey overtones might be expected to have a darker profile, while another brew with citrus notes would usually be much brighter.

Toward that end, some brewers may apply artificial colouring to a batch. The obvious example here can be found in the green beer many people drink around St. Patrick’s Day, but colour alterations are often more subtle and natural.

Darker Beer is Not Necessarily Heavier

As a rule of thumb, lighter beers tend to be crisp and less-filling, while darker beers are thought of as being rich, heavy, and featuring both higher calorie counts and per-volume alcohol contents. The craft beer lovers should remember that these profiles aren’t written in stone (more on this in a second). But, they can be good guidelines when trying and evaluating new beers, or pairing a craft beer with a specific type of dish.

Most craft beer fans will already know the broad differences between Pilsner’s, lagers, and darker brews. What’s interesting, however, is that our minds tend to make these associations without much conscious effort. That can lead to false assumptions that don’t necessarily hold up.

To understand why, we have to understand that darker beer is not necessarily heavier than light beer. For a deeper look at why, check out this article by a craft brewer that goes deeper into the myth of dark, heavy beer, along with a better look at the molten oxidation process. What Ashley explains is that our eyes and experiences can sometimes play tricks on us – just because a beer is dark doesn’t mean it has to taste or feel that way.

Generally speaking, darker beers are going to have a stronger, more distinct profile. But, to judge a beer by its colour is to miss the chance to fully appreciate the subtleties of a good brew.

You Take the First Sip With Your Eyes

One thing that often gets overlooked when enjoying a fine craft beer is that the first sip you take is with your eyes. That is, you see the beer and anticipate its flavour before you have ever actually tasted it. In fact, it would be fair to say that your tongue actually gets the third chance to experience it, since sight and smell come first… but that’s a different subject for a different day.

The reason this matters so much is because it influences our expectations. If we anticipate a dark, bitter brew that’s going to pair well with a slice of chocolate cake, how do we react when we get something light and springy in return? Are we disappointed, or delightfully surprised?

The answer can depend on a lot of different things, of course, but there perhaps two things to appreciate and consider. The first is that it’s a good idea to ask questions, read labels, and generally be curious about the beers you want to try. Not only will you learn some interesting things along the way, but you’ll also have an easier time choosing which bottles are pints to sample.

The second is that we should never judge a beer just by its colour. All beers are beautiful, and we can gain some insight into their taste from looking at them. But, the shade of gold, red, or brown you see might not tell you the whole story.

Maybe that’s for the best. Sampling craft beers – like anything in life – is a lot more fun when you don’t always know what’s coming at you next!

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Is Your Favourite Micro Brewery Really so Micro?

Is Your Favourite Micro Brewery Really so Micro?

Craft beer lovers tend to be an opinionated bunch. Most of us have our favourite styles, flavours, and even glasses to drink from. So, with the brewing industry growing by leaps and bounds, and more public interest in craft brewing than ever, it’s maybe not that surprising that we don’t just have disagreements about which microbreweries are best… we don’t even see eye-to-eye about what a microbrewery actually is.

is your fav micro brewery really so micro?

In fact, you might even find that (at least in certain circles) your favourite microbrewery isn’t even considered to be all that “micro.”

So today, I want to take a look at two questions: First, how do we actually define microbreweries? And second, the distinctions really matter?

A Few Basic Size Micro Brewery Guidelines

If you are the kind of person who goes right to the rulebook when settling disputes, you might want to know that there are a few different guidelines we can draw from. Wikipedia, for example, broadly considers a microbrewery to be any brewery that puts out less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year.

I find that definition to be a little bit clinical, however. What about a brewery that produces a lot less, but has a taste profile that matches what you’d find in a can at your local convenience store? Or what about a slightly bigger brewery, but one that takes a commitment to producing craft beers very seriously?

The Emotional Difference: Micro, Macro, and Local

To me, the differences between a microbrewery (or craft brewer) and “everyone else” are more about process and emotion than they are numbers. We like craft beers because they are distinctive, original, and allow us to root for a small brewery that we like. It feels personal. We form an attachment to them and their products in a way that just isn’t possible with the bigger international brand.

Of course, the big brewers know this, and do their best to get involved with craft brewing by buying up smaller competitors, producing “limited-edition” batches, or outright portraying themselves as different brands. In each case, they are trying to take advantage of the higher pricing and increase support that come with being in “up-and-coming” brewery.

As they do so, the lines between big breweries and local businesses are starting to blur (or at least get harder to spot). This article in Forbes does a nice job of addressing the big beer versus craft brewing dilemma, and highlights the point I’m trying to make: craft beer just doesn’t feel a special when you know it was brewed by a gigantic conglomerate.
On the other hand, bigger companies can make artisan beers. In fact, one of the natural consequences of being great at producing beer is that a brewery might start to grow far beyond its original size. At that point, do customers have to give up their favourite and go against the mainstream to remain “craft beer fans”?

This is an academic question. In a recent feature, a group of pollsters and statisticians wondered whether Boston-based Sam Adams is “too big” to produce craft beers. I suspect the real answer – no matter how you slice and dice the numbers – comes down to your opinion of what a craft beer actually is. Your opinion will be a reflection of whether you think brewing is more about the company or the methods it uses.

The Distinctions That Make a Microbrewery are Where we Find Them

When I first started writing this article and researching the topic, I half-expected to find some definition for “microbrewery” that would clear up the topic and satisfy everyone. I thought maybe there was something we can point to that would illustrate exactly what is and isn’t a craft brewery.

However, what I found is that the numbers can be averaged or manipulated, and that company sizes and brewing batches are always in flux. Even if these things weren’t the case, they wouldn’t really bring agreement or satisfy the issue.

To me, the issue of what makes a micro brewery or craft beer has a little to do with the size of the company and how many litres of beer it produces, but a lot more to do with whether they approach brewing as a business or passion. You can do something you love and be commercially successful with it. So should we punish the bigger brewers who take a craft beer approach to their products just because they’ve been successful?

In the end, maybe microbrews are like art – hard to define but easy to appreciate when we’re using our own personal criteria as a measuring stick. What do you think? What really separates a craft beer from the other brews you’ll find on tap at your local pub? Let us know in the comments below.

Why Do We Love Craft Beer?

Why Do We Love Craft Beer?

If you’ve made your way to this website, I’m assuming you love craft beer just as much as I do. I’m guessing that you delight in everything from the range of flavours and colours to the art that goes on the bottles, and everything that comes in between.

why do we love craft beer?

But, I sometimes wonder: why do we actually love craft beer so much in the first place? There are probably a hundred different answers to this question, but here are a few that speak to me personally…

Craft Beer Has (and Expresses) Individual Style

I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, and ordering a mass-produced lager just isn’t my style. I think there’s a subtle counter-culture membership that comes with drinking craft beer, an implicit sense that there might be something more (and better) than what you can get from following the herd.

There are actual taste-related reasons to love the individuality of craft beer, as well. While most common beers are going to go well enough with most common meals, opting for a craft beer gives you the chance to find the perfect pairing.

Who doesn’t want to show off their own style, enjoy their favourite flavours, and complement a meal with the perfect drink?

You Can Enjoy Classic Craftsmanship

Call me sentimental, but there is something special about products that are made by hand, using traditional methods. Unfortunately, that’s not a combination you find very much in the modern world. On the contrary, it’s not unusual to see products for sale that are manufactured to look like they were custom-built, even though they obviously weren’t.

With a good craft beer, however, you can actually taste the work, effort, and even love that went into every batch and bottle. That doesn’t always make for a perfectly consistent taste, but it does give you a bigger appreciation for every note and impression.

Craft Breweries are Local and Ethical

At a time when more and more of us are questioning the ethics and morals associated with the way large corporations do business, it can feel like a bit of relief to do business with a “brewery down the block.” The owners might not be getting rich from their beer – in fact brewing might even be a hobby – but they are driven by a sense of fun and passion, not the demands of shareholders and the bottom line.

Even in the rare instances where craft breweries are profitable businesses, they usually aren’t started (or run) with financial figures in mind. It’s always nice to support a local company and/or growing enterprise, especially when you consider some of the alternatives.

Craft Breweries Put out Great Beer With Unique Taste

I have yet to ever taste craft beer and think that it reminds me of Molson’s, or that it doesn’t have any flavour at all. For better or worse, each one has a distinctive taste. So, even if you don’t enjoy a particular bottle or paint, you experience something that’s new and unique.

Some beer drinkers can go an entire evening without ever thinking about what they are tasting. That’s fine, if you like the comfortable and mundane. However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to try new things and see where they lead, craft beers offer an endless variety of choice.

The Craft Brewers Themselves Have Great Personality

If you watch sporting events, or probably any kind of television at all, you’re familiar with the standard template for marketing beer. Show some people having fun, maybe at a concert or on the beach, and pair it with some loud music and more than a few obnoxious smiles.

Craft breweries are different, and they present themselves differently. Along with unique beers and flavours, each brings their own personality and philosophy to the table. You can see this not just in their choice of recipes, but the art they use on their bottles and the way they describe their creations.

To me, certain craft brewers are almost like old friends. I love their style, their visual sense, and even the way they promote their different beers. I look forward to new batches, wondering how they will have changed from one season to the next, or if a new employee or ingredient will introduce a subtle twist to a once-familiar bottle.

Maybe the question isn’t why we love craft beer, but how we could manage not to love craft beer. There are just so many different aspects of the experience – from looking at the different choices to buying a bottle and having it taste – that makes trying them enjoyable.

If you love craft beer the way I do, I’d love to hear from you. Better yet, I’d love to know what it is you love most about it. Why not share your thoughts in the comments?