Thursday, July 3, 2014

Are you here for the beer or the glory?

I only ask this rhetorical question because of a new change in the official definition of "Craft Beer" by the brewers association. One of our local news channels covered the story HERE.

Apparently, at some point, the brewers association considered craft brewers to be the people who were "small" and "independent" and apparently only included breweries following the German Purity definition as set forth in Reinheitsgebot, which was introduced in 1487 and intended to keep beer pure. Interestingly enough, it was the first consumer protection law on record.

As I see it, a craft beer is more than a name or a definition! I have the ultimate respect for those who are crafting ultra high quality products in the Bavarian tradition using nothing but water, malt, hops and if absolutely necessary, yeast.

The Brewhause at KC Bier Company
We had the opportunity to sample some amazing brews, including the very first batch of beer, and a few samples directly from the fermentation tanks, at the Kansas City Bier Company last April. I have absolutely no issue labeling this traditional, small and independently owned brewery, "Craft Beer!"

As I define "Craft Beer" a lot of brews qualify for the title! Notice I didn't say breweries!

Let us take Miller 64 for example. It is brewed by a massive corporation..... Um... Well... Ok, so I am joking about 64! But all jokes aside, how long before New Belgium is successful enough to eliminate themselves from the "Craft Beer" label?  Does their company success take away from the quality of their brews? Do odd ingredients like Lychee, cocoa, pepper or flowers take away from the innovation of the brew masters? Would a grain bill that included rice really make you think less of your summer cooler beer?

I judge beer by flavor, and flavor alone. I don't care who makes it, I don't care what is in it, and I don't care if it fits neatly into some prefabricated definition of "Craft Beer!"  I care what it tastes like! And to be perfectly honest, I question the motives of anyone who judges beer on any other system of merit.

Why would you care who made a beer if it tastes good... Unless you have some moral or philosophical opposition to a certain brewery? I posed this question on Facebook and got the same answer from pretty much everyone: Nobody cares!

Make good beer, drink good beer and forget about what it’s called. Beer is not supposed to be pretentious, it’s supposed to be enjoyable.

What is your opinion on the changing definition of "Craft Beer?" Do you need a name and label in your hand, or do you need to have good beer in your glass?

Do you care? Does it bother you to have corn or rice in the grain bill? If so, why? I am open to have my mind changed, but for now, I'm going to go pour some tomato juice into a chili beer and still consider it "Craft Beer!"

Like I say in the videos, "expand your palate, try new things, but ALWAYS drink what you like!"



whopTbird said...

I routinely go around with a bottle and make sure everyone can see what I'm drinking. I take so long doing this that the beer gets warm and I have to pour it out and get a new one. I tell ya, being a hipster cool dude is hard ;).

Good article man, it doesn't matter. If you like it drink it and that's all there is to it.

Eli "The Mad Man" Shayotovich said...

"Beer is not supposed to be pretentious, it’s supposed to be enjoyable."


Sadly, that's what a lot of people in the industry seem to have forgotten. Back when we were doing Beer Tap TV it was all about the fun. Part of the reason I abandoned the whole craft beer scene was the douchery and pretentiousness that had taken over. It's beer! Suck it down and move on!

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