Time To Celebrate Both Revolutions

For BeerNexus.com

Here we are in July and ready to celebrate the 242nd anniversary of our
independence. Throughout the country many of us will be at backyard barbeques
getting together with family and friends, relaxing, eating and drinking; which in many
instances will be BEER. And hopefully the beer in your hand won’t be called
“America”; hopefully it will have the Independent Craft Beer Seal, that little upside
down bottle on the label, indicating it is recognized as a true American craft beer.
There are so many breweries to choose from each usually making at least a few
different styles along with seasonals and special batches to keep our palates awake,
alive and enthused.

In April I went to Columbus OH and in May I took a road trip with stops going down
and coming back to Florida. And unless you’re really not looking it doesn’t matter
where you go (okay well maybe North and South Dakota aren’t the best examples)
there are craft beer breweries everywhere, usually more than you have time to check
out. America has wrapped its arms around craft beer (as we wrap our hands around
our glasses) and it’s amazing how many new breweries continue to open. There are
beer trails in some cities, beer buses in others and cities understand that we craft
beer drinkers will travel so they are happy to promote their local brews to get us to
come for a night or two and spend some good old dollars. Bars also understand the
power of local craft beer and many have at least a few if not a good selection. And
what’s a better way to taste a new brew, or any one for that matter, but on draft.

How much better could it get; well now my Alumni Association has begun to setup
private tastings at some well know craft breweries. I missed the first one at Trillium,
but am signed up for the July one at The Other Half and hopefully can make the
August one at Tree House. Now to be clear I didn’t major in alcohol and back in those
days was drinking the standard lagers with a sprinkling of imports on the side; oh how
the world has changed. So yes, even alumni associations see that they can attract
their alumni to events that shall we say are near and dear to their palates.

I recently returned from a Baltic Sea cruise with some land travel before and after. I
was able to find time to try local beers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and
Poland; yes I was also in Russia and had not the slightest interest in trying any of
theirs. I was expecting mostly light clean crisp good tasting lagers/pilsners/kolsch and
that’s what I got in Poland. But in the other countries I was surprised to find a broader
selection and usually an IPA. Many were good but none had the hop bitterness that
we come to love and expect here. So craft is also growing outside the US, but it’s in
the early stages similar to where we were in the 90’s. In Sweden they had seven craft
breweries and that’s grown to four hundred, so they’re beginning to see the increase
which we’ve seen for years. And as with the early stages of craft, some are good and
some are just okay.

As for the cruise ship that’s a whole other story or issue. They can’t have a huge
selection, which is to be expected, and you’re basically captive so you can only drink
what they’re offering. And based on this experience, if I ever take a trans-Atlantic
ocean liner I’ll be sure to check out the beer list first before buying a ticket as being
trapped on one of those with a lousy beer selection would be way worse. The primary
beer and only draught was Heineken! Corona was considered to be a premium
option, meaning I had to pay for it…obviously the person in charge of ordering
doesn’t have a clue what the word premium means. Guinness was really the only
reasonable option for me, so I had one and when I ordered another the bartender
told me they didn’t have any more…now I’d say the person in charge of ordering is a
moron who can’t count. Another good option was Leffe, but it was also considered
premium, so an extra charge. Needless to say my drinking on the ship was vodka
tonics and I blasted them on the survey.

Sorry, just thinking about the ship gets me riled, back to celebrating in the USA.
Along with our country’s history and heritage, we should also be toasting our love of
craft beer and the craft beer “revolution” that’s taken place over the past thirty years.
There are enough styles that every beer drinker should be able to find something
they like. There are enough breweries that we can find different ones everywhere we
go. There are enough breweries and styles that we could drink a different beer every
day for the rest of our lives and not try them all (not that I’m advocating that, but you
could try if you’d like).

So, yes, it’s a good time to also celebrate our craft beer pioneers, today’s world of
craft beer and what the craft beer of tomorrow and next month and next year will be!
Maybe at some point during the month you’ll think of picking up an Anchor Steam or
Sierra Nevada or Sam Adams or a DL Geary’s from Maine, if you can find it, and
thank them for being a surviving pioneer of one of the things we love and now take
for granted and expect…like one of our basic rights. I certainly will be!

Glenn DeLuca writes about beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached by writing thebigG@beernexus.com.

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Glenn DeLuca
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