I Love Craft Beers — And Here’s Why
I’ve always loved beer, but a few years back I became a little disillusioned with it. After a series of big brewer takeovers and mergers, some of my favorite tipples were consigned to history — and I felt lost.
But about 10 years ago, discovered a stunning IPA in my hometown. It was being made by a microbrewery a few blocks from my home, yet it was far superior than any of the mass-produced alternatives I’d tasted during the preceding five years.
Since the moment I took that first sip, I’ve been obsessed with craft beers. I collect bottles; I take part in online discussions; I try at least one new variety a week. In fact, there are weeks when I try six or seven products from around the world.
Whenever anyone asks me why I love craft beer so much, I struggle to answer in under an hour — because there are so many reasons. Here are a few of the most compelling.
Craft Beers Are Often Made Local, Sustainable Ingredients
My favorite craft beers are often those that have a real connection with local areas. Not only are they made at the heart of communities, they are brewed with fresh, sustainable ingredients. The carbon footprint of these beers is small because, in many cases, the grains and hops are grown within just a few miles of the brewery. I love that the beer I buy supports local businesses — and helps the protect the environment.
Craft Beers Look Beautiful
The average branded beer in stores looks pretty dull. The bottles used all look the same, and the labelling is uninspiring. Thankfully, the same can’t be said for my favorite craft beers. There’s a product made in my hometown that features a flying dog on the label. And the same dog is printed on the metal closures. This bottle of pale ale looks so good I usually struggle to throw it away after I’ve drank the contents. Perhaps that’s why I have a dozen of them on a shelf in my bedroom, along with hundreds of beer caps in a drawer. Craft beer bottles aren’t just packaging — they’re works of art.
I Get to Be Part of an International Community
Craft beer enthusiasts love nothing more than to compare beers and drinking experiences. We feed off one another’s experiences and passion, and we all feel like we belong to something much bigger. My love of craft ales and IPAs has made me friends around the world. I’ve even travelled to South Africa for a convention. Most of us keep a beer journal, which we use to chart our travels, experiences and meetings — mine is filled with details of new friendships.
Once you’ve tasted a few of the finest craft beers in the world, it’s almost impossible to go back to mass-produced branded products. I treat beer tasting like wine tasting. I want to taste the hops, the wheat and everything else that goes into a beer bottle. Craft beers deliver unique and pronounced flavor profiles that mass-produced beers simply can’t live with. In fact, I believe that each craft beer has a personality and story of its own.
A Connection Between the Drinker and the Producer
I love how craft beer producers give their customers what they want. A few years ago, my favorite producer launched a new brown ale. I thought it left a harsh aftertaste, and that it was a little on the acidic side. It turns out that several other customers felt the same way. Rather than sacrifice quality for profits, my favorite micro brewer decided to change the recipe instead. And despite the fact that the cost of production went up — the price didn’t.
Craft beers deliver a personal drinking experience, and they often bring people together in a way branded products can’t. Their characteristics are often reflections of the communities in which they’re created — which is why I love them so much.