What Is Craft Beer?
Really great tasting beer that’s full of flavor and make you wonder why you ever bought a bottle of beer from any of the major corporate beer companies.
Or if you want to get more technical, the Brewer’s Association says it’s beer made by a brewery with a yearly products of 6 million barrels of beer or less. One barrel equals 344 bottles or 244 pints. The brewery also has to be independent with less than 25% of their ownership by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. They must also uses traditional methods of brewing with an all malt flagship beer or at least 50% of it’s volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
It can get a little too technical, so I just try to remember that it has to be from a small brewery that produces less than 6 million barrels a year, it’s independent and traditional. Although some of the beers these craft breweries can produce are anything but traditional. See Dogfish Head.
Overall, the beer is brewed to have a distinctive and flavorful taste instead of a blander taste that will appeal to everyone.
What Is Home Brewing?
Home brewing is making your own beer at home. Oh, you want a better answer than that? Now, you’re starting to sound like my sixth grade teacher.
Homebrewing is the brewing of beer on a small scale as a hobby (or addiction) for personal consumption and non-commercial reasons. It’s really as simple as, boiling you’re wort (I’ll explain that a little bit later), letting it ferment and bottling it. However, it’s the details where things can get a little complicated and dangerous.
Home brewing allows you to make your own beer to taste and flavor preferences. It’s also a lot cheaper to brew your own beer than to buy it at the store.
It’s almost so much fun that it feels like I’m doing something illegal every time I brew up another bath of beer. However, in the United States, (in most states) anyone over the age of 21 can brew 100 gallons per year or 200 gallons in a household. That turns out to be plenty of beer, approximately 1,000 or 2,000 beers!
Home brewing also earns bonus points for being more environmentally friendly. That’s because the beers require less packaging and transportation than commercially brewed beers. Plus, home brewers reuse most of their brewing equipment and bottles over and over.
Craft beer and home brewing go pretty much hand in hand for me. Once I discovered the wonderful world of delicious tasting craft beers, it wasn’t long before I wanted to start brewing my own.
Photo by john holzer.