The Choice

There is a lot of beer out there and now more than ever there are more choices to be made when you stop off for a drink or to grab a bottle. Price, style, alcohol content, brand names and recognition, the list can get extensive. So why choose craft beer over the commodity brands?

If you want to treat yourself to a great meal, you’re not going to whip out a microwave dinner. You work hard for the cash that is in your pocket and you want to enjoy yourself with something decent.

Sure a six-pack of a commodity brand is only $5, but so is a “meal” at a fast food chain. You want (and deserve) something with substance and of quality. You’re going to spend a bit more on your steak dinner, but you earned that and made a choice to enjoy that experience. Your craft beer six-pack will be a few bucks more but there is much more to enjoy in every bottle. You are getting quality that you can taste. Flavor, body, and aroma, it's all there and much more bang for your buck. 

A lot of the macro brewers never share what their ingredient list is. Things like “triple hops brewed” say nothing about the make up of the beer. Do they only put 3 hop cones in? Do they use 3 different hop varieties? For being triple hops brewed, it seems a little weak, doesn't it? Their ingredients bill usually consists of additives and adjuncts, like corn or rice, to thin out the malt bill and produce more beer, cheaply. This also thins out flavor and leaves you with the straw-like fizzy stuff posing as beer. Think SPAM {Stuff Posing As Meat) for beer.

Craft brewers are proud of their recipes and often share the hops and malts used in the beer. You can usually find it written somewhere on the bottle just like the ingredients on a package of food. Any additional ingredients such as oak chips, certain fruits, or spices will also be listed right on the front label because those additives were crucial to the experimentation of the beer recipe.

It comes with a sense of pride and the knowledge share provided to the consumer. That specific beer was made with these specific ingredients. The combination of the hops used make up that specific type of bittering profile. This is why this beer tastes the way it does. There is nothing to hide and nothing to dilute.

Regular, light, ice… these aren’t styles. Hell, they might not even be anything at all except for different wording on a label. The variety of commodity brands is very thin and narrow. They may take up a lot of shelf space at the store, but a lot of that is paid placement and multiple packaging types of the same stuff. Craft beer gives the consumer choices, and a lot of them. There are dozens and dozens of styles and thousands of breweries producing different takes on those styles instead of three breweries producing twenty versions of the same thing. Think about it. 40 taps of great tasting craft beer to choose from versus 3 taps of beer flavored corn water.

Now more than ever people would rather buy local and enjoy something from right around the corner. No matter where you live there is a brewery, microbrewery, or brewpub in relative proximity to your location. These are local businesses within your community and quite possibly your next favorite go-to place. Do you know where your macro lager was made? Close your eyes and throw a dart at a map, you might be right.

When you visit a new place, one of the best things to enjoy is checking out the local cuisine or favorite food joints. It is the same with craft beer. Some places don’t have distribution, or only make their beer for on-premise consumption, so this is your chance to explore. You don’t want to travel all the way to the coast to have the same fast food taco you can order at home, and you don’t want the same beer you can get at any gas station on the way.

Not all beer is created equal and each person has their own choice and their own taste, which usually leads to conversations about favorites and possible recommendations of what to try next. It's a journey, have fun with it.

Posted on June 10, 2014 .