I am a boy from Germany where beer is a staple food. With the classic beers of large and small breweries from Bavaria and Germany, I therefore had “points of contact” from time to time. Not too long ago, I heard about a new trend that raised the burning question: What is Craft Beer?
What is Craft Beer? The answer iseasy at first glance.
The term craft beer has been on everyone’slips for some time now. I wanted to know more and first asked Google. First result: It is artisan brewed beer. Outstanding, I thought – in recent years,there is just the opposite trend: small, fine breweries are increasingly being bought by large “beer companies”. The individuality suffers greatly.So far, no end to this “beer industrialization” was in sight. And now it is exactly the opposite in trend?
Small breweries brewing beers according to craftsmanship? Immediately I realized: I have to test it and if it tastes, I have to support it! And from here on the blog MicroCraftBrewery.com was born.
Craft Beer is artisan brewed beer. But is that all?
Restricting craft beer to its own production is too vague. In fact, a lot more is behind it. The brewing association of the United States, where this trend comes from, moreover,defines craft beer on the basis of the following 5 criteria:
The beer must be…
· from a brewer
· in small quantities
· independent of corporations
· in the traditional way
Attention: This does not necessarily mean that craft beer may only come from microbreweries. It’s about the quantities and first and foremost the taste, which is different from the conventional beers. Even established breweries are recognizing this trend and designing individual varieties that stand out from the crowd.
Try Craft Beer: But where do I start?
I am practitioner rather than theorists.That’s why the question quickly came to me: how do I make the entry into the world of Craft Beers? Quite simply, I thought. I just order a few craft beer sets, make myself comfortable, and try my first IPA, Porter, Pale Ale and many more varieties.
Craft Beer – the first time
It was not so long ago that I decided to start a journey through the world of craft beers. I have already tested many traditional beers, but a craft beer, I have to confess this to my disgrace was not there yet. Various craft beer packages will now reach me via UPS. And I have to admit that the postman was really jealous while delivering. Everything is safe, because well protected, and makes it really fun when unpacking. There are so many different bottles, and I first had to sort everything by variety.So, I have Pale Ales, Indian Pale Ales (IPAs), stouts, porters, bock beers, Pilsner, wheat beers, lager and some experimental beers for example cherry or cucumber flavored. So far so good. I put the first 0.33 bottles cold and want to start, but that’s the first problem. In which container do I fill the noble brew?
Which glasses do you drink craft beer from?
In principle, I have quite a few pretty beer glasses in the cupboard. There would be wheat beer glasses, classic beer glasses, small 0.2-liter beer glasses, Pilsner glasses and some more.Nevertheless, I feel that none of these vessels is worthy of a craft beer. So, I am researching something and find out that there is a separate jar for almost every variety. For example, there are IPA glasses, Stout glasses and Wheat beer glasses.
So that’s it – I’ll order a craft beer glass set now, because I want to be in style. Then I come across a fabulous alternative: beer sommelier glasses. They are visually similar to the classic wine glasses but have a little more “belly” and run up a little narrower. Thus, they are ideal for directing all the aromas of the beers exactly in the nose.
In addition, they are virtually universal and therefore suitable for every Craft beer variety. So, what am I doing? Right, I also order a set of beer sommelier glasses, which will arrive a little later also.
Ready to go: I open the first Craft Beers
Where do I start? Over 50 beers from all over the world are waiting to be tested by me alone. Now that I know that pale ale is the most common variety, I start with one. At random, I select the Camba Amber Ale and open expectantly the bottle cap. There is a sweet smell of honey and caramel in my nostrils, along with some indefinable fruit notes. The whole thing seems a bit strange.
Now I gather my courage and the first sip of the Amber Ales pours on my sensitive tongue. What the hell is that? I taste a very strange honey sweetness, from the fruit aroma that I initially had in the nose, nothing is left. After a few seconds, then follows an extremely brazen,bitter hop flavor. In fact, I am wondering if this should be the case or if this beer may have passed its sell-by date. Should that be the highly praised Craft Beer flavor? If so, then I am out.
Numero 2: a wheat buck
After the shocking experience with the first ale I want to try something familiar. I decide on the Schneider Weisse Tap5 Wheat-bock. After pouring I see a wonderfully bright, yeast cloudy wheat beer in front of me in the glass. Flowery scents, mixed with delicious fruit aromas like lemon, pineapple and even some strawberry rise in my nostrils.
Now I am confident of victory: This is the taste of the gods! Full of anticipation, I take a long sip, but then it happens: Powerful-strong, yes brute, the floral touch turns into an almost soapy taste. Extremely intrusive, a dominant bitter hop note immediately sets in. The tongue is almost unbeatable. Conclusion: This extreme wheat beer is probably only for hardcore wheat beer fans. Unfortunately, my taste is not the same. Should I give up? No, that would be too early.
Last try for today: another pale ale
If that does not work, I am literally”bitterly” disappointed with Craft Beer. The last chance I give during this first tasting the hop-stopper Citra Ale. Can it save the honor of craft beers?
So, I start again a sommelier glass and open the bottle. Immediately an insanely pleasant lemon fragrance rises in my nostrils, along with tropical hints like peach and passion fruit. My expectation is no longer high, when the brew from Baden-Württemberg hits my tongue. There is suddenly an amazing taste experience. Wonderful fruit flavors wash around our palate. You could almost call this ale a lemon beer. How the hell do you get such a taste in a beer?
I read the ingredients list three times. There is nothing mixed in. The search reveals: Citra hops are responsible for this flavor. Gorgeous, fresh, aromatic – wow! In the after-taste results in a balanced, only slightly bitter hop note.
Our day is saved – and with it my entire craft beer project. It tastes good – damn good!