In this article, we will be giving you the five things you need to understand about craft beer to stop the spread of craft misinformation. So let’s get to it.
Fact 1. Craft doesn’t Mean Good
We would go as far as to say that more craft beer is not good quality. Most craft beer is about experimentation. It’s a matter of artistic expression and not all artists are as talented as other artists. That’s the great thing about free choice and experimentation. You don’t always get it right.
It’s fun and also that’s how we learn. We should never excuse bad beer. You can always go back to the brewer or a pub and say this beer is not so good. They need that feedback. Be critical of every craft beer that you have.
Fact 2. A lot of beer goes wrong after leaving the brewery
When we criticize beer often we blame the brewer. It’s a symptom of review sites where if we have a bad pint we don’t realize that beer as a whole might not be bad. That beer might have been great at the brewery and something has gone wrong in the transport. Most of the time when you are having a bad beer it’s gone wrong since it left the brewery. Once it’s left their hands and it’s on a truck, it’s out of their control.
There’s the other section of bad craft beer which is purely down to bad logistics. Not cold storage. Not being fresh. Or not being treated with the respect it needs. What we want people to understand is that when you have a bad point it’s not always the brewer’s fault. And as a result, you need to know the difference between those two before you give a bad rating. Don’t always jump to the worst possible assumption that the brewery is not good. Or the brewer doesn’t know what he is doing.
Fact 3. Storage is more important than freshness
Fresh is best but let’s not push it. We see so many times in comments and online social groups people refusing to drink IPAs because they are more than 2 weeks old. If a brewer can not make a beer that can last 2 weeks then they are not a good brewer. Most of these beers taste great at 3 weeks. In fact, most New England IPAs where the freshness fear is real probably taste at their best 4 to 6 weeks after because they have mellowed a bit.
Brewers are increasingly hopping later and that means often the hops go in, they sit 48 hours at cold temperature. And then the beer is canned. You got a thing called can shock or bottle shock which isn’t entirely understood. There’s not been much research into it. Basically, flavors could get muted or really bad flavors can come out. That can last a week or two. On top of that, you have green hop matter that’s left in suspension and that needs time to mellow. The cold chain is actually more important than the packaging date.
Fact 4. The hype is mostly good marketing
We all want to get hold of beer that is great. What we need to remember is that underneath all those popular breweries is a set of significantly more breweries that are just as good. But something went wrong with their marketing.
A lot of times it is purely marketing that makes people care about something. Popular beers are a social construct. It is created by us by this kind of mass hysteria. Actually, there are some fantastic breweries that don’t get that. We try and discover those breweries. And you’ll be amazed just branching out into breweries you haven’t heard of and how high their quality has got.
Fact 5. Small batch beer is expensive to make
Beer is expensive to make. Oftentimes people think it’s only beer. Why does it cost so much? That is really doing a disservice to all the investment, all the energy, all the resources that got into it. Which are not cheap at all.
Beer is a drink for every person. It can be incredibly cheap. It can be relatively quick to make. And it can be easy to transport. That’s why pilsners essentially came to rule the world. Because it was all of those three things.
What we need to remember is that macro beer is cheap to produce. Barely takes a week and it can be transported fast. Just in case you want to see an actual ranking of these macro breweries be sure to check our article Eugene ranks cheap American beer.
However, the beer that we are making now, equipment make it expensive. The ingredients that go into it, particularly the hops are expensive. And then they need to be transported so carefully. They are bought in small quantities. Sadly lots of beer are not for everybody. They are too expensive. And we need to treat them more like we treat wine. There’s also the economy of scales which works against craft beers.
We hope we put a record straight on a couple of cliches and bits of misinformation that are out there in the beer industry at the moment. Cheers.