It's about the beer
Gina Miller and Bill Keeper
Did you ever stop to think how luck we are to be living in the golden age of craft beer? Each of
us remember the day when we thought we were lucky to find the likes of a Pete's Wicked or
even a Killian's Red on tap. Now you'll find at least some sort of craft beer on draught in places
ranging fro local dive bars to hotel chains. That,thought along with a couple of pints of my
favorite DIPA got me to thinking about the changes we've seen in the last twenty years of craft
beer. Now I'm not talking about sales or brewing statistics but some things you personally
remember. I'll give you just a few of mine.- and no fair repeating them in your section.
I used to buy craft beer from bottles all the time. That changed dramatically over the years as
brewers started to put their beer in cans. Nowadays, it’s completely flipped and most of the
craft beer I buy is in a can. Frankly I prefer the can. It's easier to carry, chills faster, won't get
skunked, and I don't have to worry about breaking it. I'm not going to mention the changes in
the cans themselves but that's a big reason why their use is exploding.
Bill remember when we'd go to some great bar and get those amazing beers that neither of us
(usually you -just kidding) never heard of before?. I still love (and always will) going to places
with quality craft but now I can find really good beer in all kinds of locations. Of course that's
great but when you can enjoy a terrific beer almost any time and anywhere it does take away
some of the mystery and the sense of adventure I remember feeling when just about every pub
had a beer and style that was new to me.
Yes, Bill, sometime I even miss being a craft beer novice. The excitement of finding a brewery
or beer that was completely different than anything else I'd had is an experience that gets
harder and harder to come by these days. Of course, the trade off is I'm now a much more
informed consumer who can truly appreciate when a beer is perfectly made and when it's not.
I have a large list of other things I might add but it's your turn, Bill. Of course if you want to
know them why don't you stop by my place..... and bring beer.
That's it from me, chug-a-lug, Bill.....see you next time!
Hello Gina -
I have to admit this is one topic I never expected. Nonetheless I'll give it a go. Oh, for the
record it was you who never heard of those beers back in the day - ha. Okay, here's some of
my thoughts and don't worry they'll be personal as you ask.
I remember a lot of early craft came in bomber bottles a format which seems to becoming
extinct. That was the main way a lot of new craft beer was packaged. I'd buy something that
caught my eye and split it with a friend. It was an easy way to experiment with new styles and
brands since the bomber was less expensive that a six pack so if you didn't like the beer your
loss was minimized.
If bombers weren't availabe I'd buy just about every craft variety pack I could find mainly
because I wasn't familiar with many breweries but still wanted to try as many different
ones/styles as possible. Now that I have more beer knowledge II usually have something specific
in mind when I go to the store. And frankly most variety packs today aren't really that good.
I also think of growlers when I look back to my early days of beer. Then there were not a lot of
local breweries around and picking up a half-gallon at a time was the most common and
effective way to try truly fresh beer. I rarely do that now. I find that drinking beer at the bar or
buying it in bottles/cans does not commit me to the four pints in a growler that I have to quickly
drink to preserve carbonation and flavor. I do, as you know Gina, sometimes use a 32oz.
growler and I even have a one pint stainless steel one. Now most of my big growlers are
displayed on top of my bookshelves for their artistic merit not their function.
A couple of decades ago outside of a few local beers, imports made up most of my consumption
and those were mostly Belgian and German. Now of course domestic craft has grown to the
point that it sometimes beats those quality imports at their own game. Most breweries now have
barrel programs and also produce things like wild/sour beers that surpass the best of the
imports. Now before you call me on that Gina, I admit to still buying my imported favorites like
Westmalle Tripel, St. Bernardus, Tripel Karmeliet, Rochefort, Maredsous,and Orval.
I too could go on but let me end by saying that I agree with you that this is the golden age of
craft brewing and we're lucky to be here to enjoy it. Today's new craft beer drinkersr are far
ahead of where we were when we began years ago. Now bars and breweries pay far more
attention to quality and good service. I think that many of those new to craft beers are far more
knowledgeable about freshness, flavor profiles, and styles than we were. As I see it small local
breweries today have upped the game in making great beer. Part of that is due to severe
competition in a growing industry and part is due to the fact customers, both new and old,
Here's looking at you Gina