American Craft Beer Week

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The gen­tle­men at Hop Talk have kind­ly remind­ed us that it’s Amer­i­can Craft Beer Week.

This set me think­ing about (a) how much I’d like to be able to get hold of more Amer­i­can beer in the UK and (b) what a nice term “craft beer” is.

There’s some­thing a bit sanc­ti­mo­nious about the term “real ale”. And it’s also a very vague term – you need to know a lot more to under­stand what qual­i­fies a beer as “real”. “Craft beer”, on the oth­er­hand, is a qui­eter term, and also tells you some­thing spe­cif­ic about the beers it’s applied to – that they’re “craft­ed”. In oth­er words, some care has gone into their design and man­u­fac­ture.

I’m not both­ered, espe­cial­ly, whether my beer comes from a cask; whether it’s bot­tle-con­di­tioned; or even whether it’s ale.

All I ask is that it shows evi­dence of some­one hav­ing thought about it, tast­ed it, and changed the recipe to make it taste nice or at least taste inter­est­ing. I’ve had plen­ty of “real ale” which didn’t have much craft in it (a load of pale malt, a ton of fug­gles hops, hand-drawn label) and some which was, as a result, bare­ly drink­able. Equal­ly, I’ve had beers from very big brew­eries which indi­cate that some­one, some­where in the organ­i­sa­tion, still cares about their craft.