This year, American Craft Beer Week is celebrated from May 14th through 20th. It’s about celebrating the artisan ingredients, and techniques, that make a craft beer so much more tasty and special than a mass brew.
There are more than 6,000 breweries in the U.S., and 99% of them are defined by the Brewers Association as small*, traditional and independent.
One of the problems in Beerland is that the huge global beer companies purchase hot independent beer brands†, and then apply their corporate protocols to chip away at the quality. Two we once enjoyed, Blue Point and Goose Island, simply aren’t as exciting as they used to be.
How can you tell if a beer is made by an independent U.S. craft brewer or is part of a global conglomerate? Look for the independent craft brewer seal on the packaging (photo #2).
The independent craft brewer seal was launched in June 2017 by the Brewers Association, the membership organization dedicated to promoting and protecting small and independent craft brewers in the U.S., and publishers of CraftBeer.com.
2. Get a growler to go and invite some friends.
3. Try new beer and food pairings.
5. Check out how to make a homebrew. It could become your new hobby.
6. Give a shout-out to your favorite craft beer in social media.
7. Plan a summer beercation.
Happy American Craft Beer Week to all the small and independent brewers and the everyone who loves great beer.
*There are four different category classifications. A regional brewery is defined by an annual production of 15,000 to 6,000,000 barrels. A microbrewery is one that produces less than 15,000 barrels. The other two categories are brewpubs, which produce the smallest amount, and contract brewing companies, which producer beer for companies that don’t have their own facilities [more].
†In the space of four years, for example, Anheuser-Busch InBev purchased beloved local breweries like Chicago’s Goose Island, Patchogue, New York’s Blue Point Brewing Co., Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel and Seattle’s Elysian Brewing [more].
The beer taps at West End Hall, a beer garden in New York City that sells craft beers on tap and in bottles (photo courtesy West End Hall).