Ok. Here goes.
what is craft beer?
For a long while, people smarter than me have debated about the concept of craft beer, you know some times hoppy sometimes black, even fizzy sometimes… From a small brewery? Or a big?
Of course, the moniker came from the stupidly clever blokes, Pete Slosberg and Jim Koch, as a nice way of differing their market offering from the BMC’s of the North American Beer Market. so, essentially, we’ve adopted a clever bit of “marketeese” to help define our options in choice. Perhaps, the word isn’t fit for purpose?
So, here’s how I see it.
It’s not the size of your equipment or the amount of hops used, the locale that the product originates from, or the attitude that you take your product to market with.
In actual fact: I don’t believe you can define it by what is actually in your glass.
I will reiterate nothing to do with the size of your stainless, or even if you have a brewery (Mikkeller/Epic/HighWater) more how you use it. I am sure some gentlemen will understand that.
I visualize it as something like a swing: one side the pure crazy artisan and the other the supreme master of his stainless, the engineer. This pendulum, passes through the mid point, whether that is the perfect brewer – I am still dwelling on.
As a brewer, who we must remember is a human being, (honest) they come with a totally individual make up – some artsy fartsy, random, intuitive and holistic and other stoic, logical, rational and sequential and thus reflects in their pleasures and choices. This I believe reflects in their beer and their comfort with flavours.
You will see brewers of each makeup gravitate toward each other at occasions – but will also rely on others for their strengths.
I believe the holistic approach – understanding every ingredient, origins and ultimately the flavours and what it gives to a beer is a large part.
Their willingness to share with that big world of brewers, learning and just spreading the love, is a part. Also, their propensity for risk, both financially and reputation is distinctly a factor. it’s much harder for Fullers to take a risk than jamie at Brodies – and that’s not to do with the volume of beer, just established reputations.
What craft beer is, is a product of a brewer who adopts or bears a philosophy nay an open minded approach to brewing and beer of exploration and creativity toward the creation, sustainability, consistent production, compassion to you fellow brewers and then profitability of our beloved beverage.
So, ultimately I believe it’s more “he [insert brewers name] is a craft brewer”, and thus his/her product only then is a craft brewed beer. It’s not brand or marketing, it’s wholly and solely about the mindset of the brewer and he/she approaches beer.
Beer is about people. The people who make and the people who drink it. The rest just gets in the way.