Craft beer in America is bigger than it ever has been. American Craft Beer week (May 13-19) is a great chance to get out and see some of what makes this movement special. Whether you are talking about porters, stouts, wild ales, barley wines or the all popular IPA, American breweries have made their mark. Though not many styles have originated here, you will find them all brewed in the US. Some brew to stay true to the original recipes while others take creative freedom. For example, Dogfish Head has a line of ancient ales meant to recreate the brews humans were drinking thousands of years ago while many west coast breweries take the “guidelines” for an IPA (India Pale Ale) very loosely (like Stone’s Ruination or Russian River’s Blind Pig). The important thing is that these breweries focus on the quality of the product they are producing.
This week isn’t just about the beer. It’s about celebrating the artisans who create and carry out the recipes. Along with the farmers who strive to provide the highest quality ingredients to brewmasters, the scientists who work in labs on yeast and water quality and the community who base their livelihood on unique brews, America has discovered there is a lot more to beer. We have come to enjoy more than just the adjunct lagers seen in commercials during the superbowl and this is the week to appreciate that.
It is a time to celebrate craft beer nation-wide, whether it be your local brewery, bottle shop, or craft beer bar. In 2006, the Brewer’s Association started craft beer week. It has been steadily growing since its inception and currently has well over 1,000 events in all 50 states. Events such as tap takeovers (where a brewery takes over all of a locations beer taps with their own brews) and special bottle releases will be happening all week.
Get out there and see what your local craft beer scene has to offer. Check the calendar at Craftbeer.com or take a look at your local brewery or craft beer source’s Facebook and Twitter to see how they are celebrating Craft Beer Week.