Originally Posted on Nov 06, 2015
For some, the term craft beer simply means anything that is not real ale, but that is far too easy and rather lazy as many craft brewers are actually making real ale as defined by CAMRA.
The truth is that the term craft beer emerged somewhere in the mid sixties when home brewers in the United States started networking with likeminded individuals to share and learn and as some of these home brewers became professionals craft beer came to mean beer that wasn’t brewed by the major corporations but by smaller independent breweries. Many of the breweries were initially brewing real ale, but with the development of new hop strains and, arguably most importantly, new dispense and delivery techniques, craft beer began to move into a place all of its own.
No less real, the British craft beer movement who have imported the techniques and are running with them, is now creating some of the most innovative beers in the world. Take Bad Seed Brewery for example with their bottle conditioned beer, experimenting with different hops and different techniques for ageing beer, the brewery has built an enormous fan base of drinkers both old and new who love both their bottled stouts and their keg dispensed pale ales. One beer leaning on traditional methods of production, the other right at the forefront of modern brewing.
The point here is that none of this is wrong as long as the beer itself is well made by passionate brewers who know and love their product, use the freshest and best ingredients that they can and keep striving to make something that we all want to drink.
Brewing can be an art. Brewing is most definitely a craft.
Most importantly brewing beer is an act of love which is passed on through the beer presented to the drinker.
So when faced with a new beer don’t worry whether or not it has been bottle conditioned or served from a keg, kept in a cask or a can, as long as it has been made to the highest standards then it’s worth a try. Some of us love eye wateringly sour beers, some of us traditional British bitters, some like the hop hit of an American pale ale and some of us the chewy treacle goodness of a hefty stout. Craft beer provides all of this along with some pretty challenging flavours and styles, so take a chance – you never know what you might find out that you like.