Welcome to the microbrew revolution

Dallas Craft Beer Examiner

424155_10150617909143983_147484638982_9175819_1939426867_nYou are probably unaware of it, but a revolution has been brewing for years right under your nose. That revolution has become known as the craft beer movement, also called the microbrew revolution. You may ask, “You mean those fancy beers right next to my Bud Light?” That is precisely what I mean, only more so. A commercial boom has created an industry this past decade of small and local breweries across the United States, producing close to 100 different recognized beer styles and a few that defy classification. Some beers are historically Old World (re: Europe) styles, and many are uniquely American.

Elevating microbrewed beer

You may also ask, “Why should I care? Nothing’s better than my Corona Extra!” To this, I must respond: Do you prefer choice prime rib or fatty ground chuck? Parmigiano-reggiano or cheese from an aerosol can? Fresh herb-grilled chicken or something resembling a pre-fabricated nugget? So why should your choice of beer be any different?

Wine took this step years ago. Fine wineries began distinguishing their wines from mass-market products, and began to compete with the finest wines available from Europe. Today, American wines enjoy an elevated status, prized in exceptional restaurants that devote separate menus and a focus just for wines—all the while carrying nothing but generic afterthoughts of bland beer brands. There is no reason why beer should not share the same status as a fine vintage.

Craft beer (as opposed to the national brewers) now claims about 8% of the total U.S. beer market. There are roughly some 1400 brewers of various sizes across the nation, ranging from large regional microbreweries to tiny brewpubs, some packaging in bottles and cans and others available only on tap through a local restaurant. The flavors offered in these products can be worlds away from what we have been conditioned to believe that beer should taste like.

You may already be a fan of microbrewed beer, or you may be loyal to your lifelong favorite brand. All I ask is to keep an open mind and open palate, and don’t be afraid to try one of those “fancy” beers every once in a while.

As always, I am open to comments, suggestions, opinions, questions or news about all beer at paul@scientist.com.


Originally published February 7, 2009, at Examiner.com.

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