Power Hour: What is craft beer?

Power Hour is a new segment where I will spend exactly one hour answering a question. The question can be on beer, writing, myself, anything. You can submit a question anytime by leaving it at the bottom of a post or sending it privately to me here.

Start the clock! This is the first Power Hour. In one hour I will answer a question and post it. Questions about what? Anything. I’ll stick to beer for the most part but I’m game to answer any questions you have on life, writing, video, etc.

Why? Well as I wrote about earlier this week I’ve been having a hard time just writing and posting. It’s not writer’s block. Maybe it’s laziness. Who knows? Hopefully this will get the words flowing and help you out at the same time.

If you have any questions you want answered simply leave it below in the comments section or send it privately to me here.

One last comment before getting started. I could probably write thousands of words on an individual question but I’m limiting myself to one hour. 60 minutes. 3600 seconds. The rest is up to you. Help me answer these questions by filling in the gaps and leaving your thoughts in the comments section.

On with our first question and it’s a big one!

What is craft beer?

The first post I ever wrote on Short On Beer was about how I didn’t know what craft beer is. That was on a very Meta level. While I’m still figuring this out emotionally (mentally) I’ll try to answer this question with some facts.

The Brewers Association defines craft beer as, “An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.” They go on to define small, independent and tradition. Cool. So what does that mean?

Simply put, craft beer is beer made by breweries that aren’t AB InBev (Bud), MillerCoors (Miller and Coors) or other large companies. Beer brewed by them is usually called macro beer.

This begs two questions. First, what is different about the beer? Second, what about the breweries owned by these large companies?

Side Note: I kinda feel like I’m on an episode of 24 trying to get all this done in one hour.

What is different about craft beer from macro beer?

Isn’t all beer brewed with water, hops, yeast and malt? True. However certain breweries (including some craft breweries) can add adjuncts (mainly corn) to their beers. They do this to lower production costs and “sweeten” beer.

Macro breweries are infamous for doing this. Craft breweries, for the most part, shy away from this method of brewing. Adjuncts are not healthy for you. It is filler. Think of McDonalds. How great does that Big Mac taste? That bun and other ingredients are loaded with fillers and those fillers taste good to your brain. The same happens with beer. Beers like Bud Light and jam-packed with these enhancers that trick our brains. We are indoctrinated into a world against bitter beer.

Craft beer is known for brewing with real ingredients. Drink better, live better.

Are breweries that are bought by macro beer companies still craft?

Yes and no.

Big beer companies continually try to acquire growing craft beer companies. Recently Blue Point from New York was acquired by AB InBev. Before that Boulevard from Kansas City was bought by Duvel. One of the more famous acquistions is Goose Island by AB InBev.

To me, it’s entirely up to you whether or not you still want to consider these breweries as craft breweries. I have visited Blue Point before and after the “takeover” and it was still the same people, in the same tiny dark tasting room, pouring the same beers.

It took me awhile to start drinking Goose Island as I labeled them a craft beer enemy. I had my first BCBS recently. 5 stars, for sure. I’d trade organs to get more.

Time for writing is just about up! I have a ton more to say, and I’m sure I’ll add some thoughts in the comments section but there is only a few minutes to get this online and formatted to make the one hour deadline. Heck, I thought of this at 2:50pm today and look what’s we’ve made. This has been a blast! I hope to keep doing this…let’s say once a week? How does that sound?

What do you think about Power Hour? Good idea? Do you have any questions you want me to answer?

Lastly, I want to know what you think craft beer is. Share your thoughts below!

I hope you enjoyed Power Hour. Make sure to sign up to receive email updates at the bottom of this page so you never miss anything on Short On Beer!

TWIB: Spending so much on beer your credit card gets declined

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a feature where I’ll highlight some craft beers I had during this past week mixed with some related (and unrelated) thoughts. Yes, it’s a play on the name of the show This Week in Baseball which I grew up on and loved.

Wow! It’s been nearly three four weeks since I last posted. That’s the longest drought I’ve ever had. I was getting caught up on trying to write something perfect instead of just putting my words out there. I look around and see these smart, edgy posts and think, “Man, I can’t put out anything until it’s that good.” However I’ll probably never write a post filled with the perfect blending of words around a witty topic that will make other writers and beer bloggers envious so why wait?

I’ve also been dreading writing about accomplishing Beer Mission #4. Not because my experience was horrible. It was the complete opposite. But because I didn’t want to format it! Formatting it takes just as long to write it. You have to upload the pictures, name it, give it alternative text, put in bullets, add links, check links, shorten the URL WordPress tries to give your post, add tags, and on and on and on and on… So yeah, I’ll get around to it one day but I want to tell you about my experience here, today, in the simple and my favorite on-going feature of Short On Beer called TWIB (short for This Week In Beer).

You Spent How Much On Beer?

I set a personal record on money spent on beer tallying up a bill so high that my credit card got declined!* I make an annual pilgrimage to Long Island, New York to visit my mom and take part in a fantasy baseball auction. Go ahead and laugh but my winnings paid for my trip to Vegas in November. I reached out to Greg Back, a New York blogger, to ask where I should go to get good beer in Long Island. I looked over his suggestions, Google Mapped some directions and shoved my mom and wife into the car and off we went.

*Note: My credit card was declined because it looked like I was buying $220 worth of alcohol 300+ miles from where I live not for insufficient funds. Don’t buy beer if you have no money and call your credit card company before buying copious amounts of beer way out of state.

We pulled up to Bellport Cold Beer & Soda with no idea what to expect. It’s a small building with a large red roof that has “BEER & SODA” in giant white san serif letters on it. We walked in and I nearly fainted. Beer. Everywhere. All kinds of beer. Evil Twin, Cigar City, Westbrook…

Dave, the owner, introduced himself and showed us around. Three boxes full of big bottles and 6-packs later I cut myself off.

bottles of beer on table

My haul from Bellport Cold Beer & Soda

Dave hooked us up with an extra bottle a 2006 Lambic and a couple pint glasses from a local brewery. I scooped up some Justin Blabaer, a Stone Enjoy By, some Ballast Point Sculpin, a few sours and numerous local beers and some presents for friends (many not pictured). If you’re in Long Island, take the time to go find Bellport Cold Beer & Soda. I will be going back next year and for many more years.

I have some other stories I want to tell you about soon including a random Tuesday night epic bottle share night that came out of no where. Until then, I want to know the most you’ve ever spent on beer. Was it worth it? Tell me your story below.

Remember to sign up to receive email updates for new posts by entering your email address at the bottom of the page so you never miss anything! Cheers!

Conversations with Beer Bloggers – Beer Coasters Podcast

Meet Dave, Mike and Toby from the Beer Coasters Podcast in this episode of Conversations with Beer Bloggers.

What did you think about the guys from the Beer Coasters Podcast? Any questions for them? What other beer bloggers would you like to meet?

Have you checked out the other episodes of Conversations with Beer Bloggers?

Meet Carla Companion — The Beer Babe

Meet Bryan Roth — This is Why I’m Drunk

Meet Ryan Mould — Mould’s Beer Blog

Meet Nick McCormac — Drink. Blog. Repeat.

Meet Tom Aguero – Queen City Drinks

Meet Brad Westmar — Craft Brew Crew

Meet Doug Smiley — Baltimore Bistros and Beer

Meet Jake Scholan — Hipster Brewfus

Meet Oliver Gray — Literature and Libation

Beer Mission #4

Thank you Oliver Gray for the most perfect picture to represent Beer Missions!

Welcome back to Beer Missions! A Beer Mission is something you can do when beer maybe gets a little boring. Yes, I said it! BORING! Beer will never be boring when it comes to taste. But besides the taste of beer there is something equally as important…the experience. The experience can get boring. You cannot drink the same beer(s) every night from the comfort of your couch. You have to mix it up! That’s where Beer Missions come in.


Beer Mission #4

Beer Missions will make you go out (sometimes you’ll stay in) and explore different experiences you can have with beer.

Here’s your next Beer Mission:

Talk to a stranger about beer.

Talk about anything. “What beer do you have?” “Did you know [insert fact about beer or beer style]?” Who knows what will come of this.

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Beer Mission #3: Mission Accomplished

Beer Missions Header

Photo by Oliver Gray of Literature and Libation

Welcome back for the third installment of Beer Missions!

Let me take a second to thank Oliver Gray from Literature and Libation for capturing this perfect picture (above) for Beer Missions!

If you are just seeing Beer Missions for the first time, a Beer Mission is something you can do when beer maybe gets a little boring. It’s something you can do shake things up and give you new experiences.

Beer Missions #3 was to:

Draw a short comic of how you will or want to enjoy your next beer.

Many people accepted this mission, me included of course.

Beer Mission 3

Beer Mission #3: Mission Accomplished

Mrs. Short on Beer and I have spent the past week+ doing a bit of upgrading to our kitchen and seating area. Over the weekend and first half of this week we have painted and (with a ton of help from my dad) put up a backsplash. After that the only thing to do is grab the heaviest beer I could find, watch my bracket fall apart and pass out. There’s just a few more touchups to do then I’ll share some before and after pictures.

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