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!

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9 thoughts on “Power Hour: What is craft beer?

  1. I know there is much todo about the whole craft vs. not thing, but the way I see it, craft = homemade, not craft = pre-packaged. It’s the difference between buying a blueberry pie at a farmer’s market and buying a frozen Marie Calendars.

  2. This blog is awesome! I have started a beer blog and it is great to look and see what you have talked about and points you have brought up. I really like how you addressed the difference between craft and macro beer, something a lot of people do not think about!

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