What Is Craft Beer?
Beer is a deep, wide river that flows through human history and culture. It appears along with the earliest signs of civilisation and is thought to have been instrumental in mankind’s move from nomadic people to farmers who needed to settle in order to tend crops. Beer’s contribution to human existence can not be overstated and its role in ritual, ceremony, economics and community has been documented as far back as 3500BC, some even believe it’s probably became a part of human life in Neolithic times or about 9500BC when cereal was first farmed.
All of this is very interesting but most people these day probably view beer through a very narrow lens. And that isn’t unfair. Somewhere along the way we’ve gotten lost. As with many things, industrialisation changed the way beer is made. Gone are the days when a Mash Paddle was passed down from father to son with the belief that it contained a magical ingredient without which beer could not be made (the magic ingredient turned out to be Yeast, which would form invisible cultures deep within the wood). Beer by in large is now produced in factories using the highly mechanised processes. Buttons are pushed, computers compute and out comes Beer’s modern incarnation: a fizzy, yellow alcoholic beverage of around 4.8% ABV (Alcohol By Volume).
But all hope is not lost. For a little while now a small group of people, let’s call them Brewers, have been holding back the tides of mediocrity. They make beer that is flavourful, creative, bold and that uses more traditional methods and with no adjuncts or preservatives. It’s fresh and comes in pallet of colours so beautiful it’s hard to comprehend. And the flavour! Imagine if all your life you had only ever eaten fast food and then one day you find yourself in front of a meal prepared by a world class chef. How could you ever eat a dry factory produced hamburger again? Craft Beer is made for flavour and until you’ve experienced a 14% Barleywine aged on Oak for 3 years or a refreshing Wit Beer spiced with Coriander and Orange peel, you really can’t claim to have lived.