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5 Great Things About Craft Beer

Recent events have been a bit of a downer for us craft beer geeks.  There’s been legal wrangling, banned beers, big boy buyouts and allegations of macrobeer media bullying. That’s enough conflict and negativity for a year, much less a couple of weeks.

In an effort to cleanse our mental palates, I thought I’d do a positive post, namely a list of five things that I love about craft beer.  Let’s get to it: 

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1. Variety – I continue to be in awe of the seemingly endless variety of craft beers.  Not only are there so many different styles of beers, there are different takes on those styles, as well as beers that draw far outside the lines.  I just had my first Italian beer, a Baladin Nora, and it was awesome, with its saison funk mixed with a clean citrus flavor. It had a uniquely Italian taste to it and is just one example of how a brewer can infuse their culture and tastes into a beer.  Now I have a whole new country of beers to explore!

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2. Accessibility – Our pal Zac (and Sam Calagione) always says that craft beer is superior to wine because you can actually afford to drink the best beer in the world, where the world’s finest wines are out of reach for people of normal means.  I agree with this 100%.  On the flip side of accessibility, I also love the fact that you can’t get every beer in every state, making travel and trading all the more fun.  Craft beer is affordable and exotic all at the same time – cool!

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3. Creativity – While craft beer is respectful of brewing traditions, the American scene is full of brewers who follow their passion instead of the rules.  This has lead to some amazingly creative and delicious brews and is the driving force behind what makes the craft beer scene so special to beer obsessed nerds like me.  If you can dream it, someone’s probably brewed it.

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4. Camaraderie – There are certainly exceptions here and there will be more as the industry grows into the mainstream, but by and large the craft beer world is full of brewers who genuinely seem to like one another.  There are more collaborations than a Carlos Santana album (or you can insert an unlistenable rapper’s name here), and a sense of common purpose seems to be a thread that continues to bind most of the industry.

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5. The People – Okay, this might be a bit sappy, but I find that beer geeks and  home brewers are some of the nicest, most genuine folks you’ll find anywhere.  Craft beer fans showed that they expect the same from the people who make their brews with their reaction to some of the news lately.  Many beer geeks have no stomach for the machinations of big business, which I think is cool.  Don and I have both made lots of friends since starting this blog, because as Lee Williams says, beer people are good people. I think that nails it.

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I could go on here, but I think these cover the big things that keep me coming back to craft beer again and again.  It’s been good therapy to remind myself why I continue to be obsessed.

Did I miss anything on YOUR list?

White Hot Dance Move Update: Courtesy of John King from Kentucky Brew Review:

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Tags: , , ,

Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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28 Comments on “5 Great Things About Craft Beer”

  1. Don
    April 4, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    Unicorn Tears.

    • johnking82
      April 4, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      hilarious.

    • April 4, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      You have an SUV that runs on those, right Rush?

      • Don
        April 4, 2011 at 10:10 am #

        No, the SUV runs on unicorn blood. That way I actually have to harvest and dispatch the unicorns to make it go, and my Republican Soul loves it! :s

  2. April 4, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    LOVE this piece! Thanks for a bit of sunshine!

    • April 4, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      No problem, Amie – I think we could all use some – craft beer used to be fun!

  3. Joshua Lynch
    April 4, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    I totally agree with all of these, especially number 3. For a specific example, I had Yards’ Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale, which is brewed with molasses and spruce tips. By all means an untraditional “beer,” and one that would never come out of a traditional Bavarian brewery. This beer was one of the weirdest I have ever had, but was thoroughly enjoyable and delightfully refreshing. Try this beer if you have not already.

    • April 4, 2011 at 10:28 am #

      I’m going to look out for it, Joshua. I was holding a half gallon of maple syrup the other day and thought “I could brew with this.” If only I had a Christmas tree in the other!

  4. April 4, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Wow! Being mentioned in the same breath as Sam Calagione is quite the honor. To be fair, he and Garrett Oliver are big influences of mine.

    • April 4, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      It’s like Don being mentioned in the same breath as magician Doug Henning – a huge influence on his outlook on life and his love of rainbow-colored lycra.
      It's Maaagical!!

      • Don
        April 4, 2011 at 10:39 am #

        He and I used to have the same hair. I actually got to meet Doug Henning once, way back when I was scooping Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins in Fairfield Iowa. He was tiny. Even back then, which was like 100 pounds ago, I dwarfed him.

      • April 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

        So, that’s not Don?

        • April 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

          That’s the Don that Don sees in the mirror, Zac.

  5. johnking82
    April 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    On the way home from my bachelor party I logged onto beernews and saw the Allagash news and thought to myself, has craft beer always been this negative lately. Thanks for the post!

    Picked up some New Glarus, Central Waters, and Tyranena! Still waiting for a Wisconsin cheese beer.

    • April 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      Yes, the cheese beer will flow eventually from Wisconsin. I’ll keep my eyes peeled if I make it out for State Fair this year. If they can deep fry a snickers bar, certainly they can make a cheese beer.

  6. April 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Great post Jim. The timing couldn’t have been better!

    If I recall though, you gave me a wedgie when I met up with you last year, which seems to go against the ‘beer people = good people thing. I’m used to that sort of greeting, but with your family and neighbors laughing and pointing, I didn’t get that warm fuzzy feeling, you know?

    • April 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      But I don’t have facial hair, Scott, so I don’t qualify as “beer people” – read your handbook more carefully next time!

  7. johnking82
    April 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    I’m not going to lie, I was kinda let down this unicorn didn’t make the cut, I mean white hot dance moves…come on! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgM3sb9vr-U

    • April 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      Well it has now!

  8. Chas Parks
    April 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    im glad their are still brewers like this out there…

  9. April 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    +1 on variety-accessibility-price. I just wish we would get Oskar Blues and Founders in Idaho…

    • April 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

      It’s Don’s fault – they’re punishing him. 😉

  10. April 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Um… did that guy’s nipples explode into rainbows right before he rode a ghost unicorn?

    • April 5, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      I believe they did, John. I believe they did.

  11. April 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    awww, I just want to give you guys a big hug!!!

    • April 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      I think it’s the unicorn, amirite? 😉

      • April 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

        Or the rainbow. Hard to really pinpoint it.

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