The Revival of True American Beer

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oldbudGrowing up my Dad drank Bud, you know the “King of Beers”, not Bud Light, not Bud Ice or Bud Light Limerita.

Just plain old Bud in the plain red can or that little stubby bottle.

There wasn’t a lot of beers to choose from back then.

Maybe someone would occasionally bring some Molsens down from Canada when they went hunting, but really, Bud was it.

I thought Bud was another name for beer.

My Dad painted the house with a can in his hand or nervously nursed one while watching his beloved Red Sox.

He is a multi talented Renaissance Man to be sure and even though his Bud drinking days are behind him, he still enjoys the occasional brew.

Peter and Homer share a craft beer
Peter and Homer share a craft beer

Beer was working class and a part of our collective unconscious.

What was the first thing Archie Bunker reached for when he got home? It wasn’t Edith.

Where did Homer Simpson long to work? Duff Brewery.

Where does Peter Griffin spend his time? The Drunken Clam.

Beer is America and it’s part of our history and culture.

 

History

Beer is one of the oldest beverages, dating back to the fifth millennium BC and recorded in the history of ancient Egypt.

Any grain that has sugar can spontaneous ferment due to wild yeasts in the air and many beers were developed all over the world.

Beer became vital to all the grain-growing civilizations.

It is said that civilization was built due to the invention of bread and beer and by the 7th century, beer was being produced and sold by European monasteries.

Bakeries were also breweries and ancient Mesopotamian brewers used a twice-baked barley bread called bappir to brew beer.

The Greek writer Sophocles preached the concept of moderation when it came to consuming beer and the best diet consisted of bread, meats, various types of vegetables, and beer.

Light beer and hop in basket isolated on white background

Beer was the most common drink of the Middle Ages and was consumed by all social classes in climates where it was too cold to grow grapes for wine.

Preserving and flavoring beer with hops started in the 9th century and allowed beer makers to start making it at scale and exporting it.

Hops improved both the brewing and the taste of beer and unhopped beer was known as ale.

By the 14th and 15th centuries pubs and monasteries started brewing beer for mass consumption.

Beer has evolved with history and many European countries like Belgium, Germany, Austria, Ireland, and the UK have brewing traditions dating back over 5 centuries.

Modern breweries craft different styles of beers ranging from dark lagers to mild pale ales.

Advances in refrigeration have transformed the brewing industry into a huge international marketplace and consists of several large multinational companies and thousands of smaller producers.

Some brewers are reluctant to utilize new technology for fear of losing complex flavor and characteristics of their beer.

In Belgium brewers still expose their beer to the outside air in order to pick up the natural wild yeasts which ferment the wort.

Hamburgs-Famous-Einbeck-BrewerySo how did we get from lovingly made artisan beer to Stone Cold Steve Austin drenching himself with Bud Light?
Beer in America

Native Americans made corn beer long before the first Europeans found their way to America.

Adrian Block & Hans Christiansen establish the first known brewery in the New World on the southern tip of New York City in the 1600’s.

German immigrants brought with them a thirst for malt lagers and by 1873 the country had over 4 thousand breweries.

By the end of the century beer drinkers preferred lighter-tasting lagers that used corn or rice in the recipe and consolidation began to eliminate many small, independently operated breweries.

By 1918 the country had only 1/4 brewers that operated 45 years before.

 

prohibitThen came Prohibition

Prohibition was the nationwide ban on alcohol from 1920 to 1933.

Alcohol was seen as a destructive force in families and women getting the vote played a strong role in getting alcohol banned

Violence against women and children was not uncommon and women formed a solid demographic group against alcohol.

Ultimately Prohibition failed because organized crime took control of the distribution of alcohol.

Illegal distilleries and breweries flourished and Prohibition came to an end in the late 1920s.

Beer production was resurrected in 1933 and 300 breweries soon emerged but most breweries in business before 1920 never came back.

By 1982, the number of breweries was reduced to around 50, the fewest number of breweries in U.S. history.

The beer industry was consolidated to just a few breweries owned by conglomerates.

Traditional brewing techniques brought to America by immigrants from all around the world disappeared and national “light” brands emerged that boasted fewer calories but no taste.
craft-beer

 

The Emergence of Craft Beer
The beer revival was slowly brewing.

In 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed a law legalizing the home production of small amounts of beer and the new “home brew” culture arose from the ashes.

Making your own was the only opportunity to experience the traditional beers and styles of other cultures, which elevated our consumption of beer.

Beer makers started opening their own small-batch microbreweries and brewpubs began popping up all over the country.

Microbreweries only made small quantities of beer compared to the mass-produced beer giants.

Pioneer brewers started using expensive hops and a wide range of recipes and this era was known as the renaissance of beer brewing in America.

We finally have a wide selection of flavorful beer that captures the hearts and minds of the American beer drinker.

The last time I checked my Dad was drinking Red Stripe in extreme moderation and loving it. I think its because it looks like the old bud bottle.
craft_beerCraft Beer Temperature

The colder the better…right?

Americans have been brainwashed to believe that ice cold beer is always best.

Big brewers want people to drink their beers at icy temperatures because as they warm up, they don’t taste as good.

But that is not the case when it comes to specialty or craft beer.

Most craft beers have an ideal serving temperature and the rule is as beers go up in alcohol, they should be drunk at a warmer temperature.

Strong beers are sipped slowly and enjoyed for their complexity of flavor while weaker beers are consumed for refreshment.

An ice cold stout will taste bitter while a warmer stout will have a balance of malt sweetness and bitterness.

According to Craftbeertemple.com learning the correct way to serve beer is the easiest thing someone can do to enhance their drinking experience.

Temperature has a profound effect on taste buds and chemical compounds in beer are activated and suppressed according to temperature.

Cold will suppress flavors while warmth will pick up and accent flavors.

Choosing just the right temperature ensures that these chemicals are balanced as you drink.

 

 

awb-360db-2-m
NewAir AWB-360DB Dual Zone Craft Beer Cooler

Storing Craft Beer with a NewAir AWB-360DB Dual Zone Craft Beer Cooler

Brewmaster, Adam Avery, tells people to put it in the coolest spot in your house or buy an extra refrigerator.

“All my beer is stored in the 40°–45°F range. There is some fluctuation but never warmer than 45°F and never colder than 38°F.”

Enjoy your costly collection for all it’s worth and invest in the best storage available with a NewAir AWB-360DB Dual Zone Wine & Beverage Cooler

Dual cooling zones mean that the cabinet’s side by side storage areas are specialized and independently operated for chilling different craft beers at your desired temperature ranges.

The thermostat ranges from 36-72° F in both zones and it can be adjusted if you want wine on one side and stout on the other.

Stand beer upright instead of putting it on its side during storage.

This will ensure that the yeast or sediment settles at the bottom of the beer bottle, rather than leaving a yeast ring on the side.

It also oxidizes less and keep longer.
Adjustable Interior

While metal shelving gently cradles your collection, you can also remove or adjust the shelves to fit larger or any other of type of craft bottles.

The legs are also adjustable, making it customizable for built-in installation.

To ensure that no one can access your richest and most treasured collection, the AWB-360DB is equipped with locking doors.

Beer making in the U.S. has come full circle and nowadays there are more breweries in America than any other country in the world.

According to the Brewers Association, craft beer’s beer sales have doubled over the past five years and the industry is steadily growing with breweries emerging daily to serve a new generation of American beer drinker.

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