A Beginners’ Guide To Craft Beer
By Morris Raymond
In case you missed it, craft beer is pretty popular. Well-known brands that have been around for a while, while still worthy beverages, are taking a bit of a backseat to more independent-minded brewers whose aim is a return to a more cultivated taste. Small batches, high-quality ingredients, and working with a recipe until it’s perfect are all part of the craze.
Some have jumped on the craft beer bandwagon, but others are a little hesitant simply because they just aren’t sure if they’re ready to take a plunge in the deep end of beer. Where do I find these new beers? Are there brewers nearby? Can I afford craft beer? While it may seem silly to some to be so unsure about something as “everyday man” as beer, it’s important to understand that for many, their beer of choice has been set for decades & may even have an emotional connection.
However, if you are ready to try something new & exciting, here is a basic approach to understanding, and getting comfortable with, craft beer:
Have A Heart-to-Heart with Your Tastebuds – If you like beer, you have a pretty good idea about what you enjoy. Temperature, bitterness, sweetness, various floral notes – you’ve got a solid foundation from which to build on. Knowing what you like makes you better able to find a craft beverage that is on par.
Keep It Local – Many small craft brewers try to make their home in smaller cities in the hopes of growing their own roots but also to help the local economy thrive. Many times, new restaurants & local watering holes will feature craft beers from “just down the road”.
Shop ’til You Drop – Superstores exist for the person that has to buy groceries, lawn supplies, and motor oil at the same time. Luckily, the same type of diverse shopping environment exists for those that enjoy beer, wine, and other spirits. It can be daunting to see so many options before you, but talk to employees & see where they can guide you. You may just find that a great beer is waiting for you.
Documentation Will Set You Free – Sure, it seems a little goofy, but keeping a written record (or digital notes) of the types of beer you try will help you stay organized. Be sure to note the flavors that both like & dislike, and remember to note the brand of beer. Nothing is worse than an incomplete record of something you enjoyed that you can’t quite recall.
Craft beer, for all of the hoopla & hipness surrounding it, is a return to basics for beer & brewing. Furthermore, small brewers are using old methods & recipes, along with some exotic ingredients, to find a balance that satisfies. Be bold and experimental, and you just might find a new frosty beverage to call your own.
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