I like beer. No, that is not really true. What is true is that I like beer that tastes good. At one time, good domestically produced beer was hard to find. The only way I could get a good beer was to buy an import. Then, a magic thing happened. The Craft Beer movement was born. Micro-breweries started popping up. Great domestic beer, like great domestic wine, could be had.
In Germany, they actually have a law that governs what the ingredients of beer can be. This law is The Reinheitsgebot, better known as the German Beer Purity Law, that forms the foundation of German brewing. The law states that “beer can only be brewed with barley malt, hops, yeast, and water.” Four ingredients. That struck me as a straightforward set of restrictions.
Then I went to find out what was in a major beer made here. A well-known company’s website proudly proclaims, “Barley malt, rice, hops, yeast, and water.” Five ingredients.
I cannot count the number of times, when traveling around our country, that I have heard someone say that they would like a good fill in this blankbeer, but the blank was always, German, or Dutch, or…..
When traveling outside our country, I cannot count the number of times I heard people say they really wanted a good American beer, because in the past, no one ever did. It was that extra ingredient. It changed the taste, the “mouth feel”, the experience. It just was not as good.
That changed with the Craft Beer movement.
An American craft brewer is defined as a small, independent and traditional brewer. That might lead to the idea that this is just a backyard endeavor. However, that would not be true.
Craft brewers sold an estimated 11,468,152 barrels of beer in 2011.
The craft brewing sales share in 2011 was 5.7% by volume and 9.1% by dollars.
It is obvious that Craft Beers are a growing segment, and when I taste them, I know why, and I am sure, when you taste them you will too!
At the Vine2Wine Classic, we will have not just fine wines, but fine Craft Beer in our Beer Garden of Hope.
Steve Cravitz is the Assistant Director of Wine for the 2012 Vine 2 Wine Classic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.