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Best Brews: Specialty Craft Beers in America Come of Age

Beer connoisseurship is on the rise as craft breweries continue to pop up around North America. Beer connoisseurship is on the rise as craft breweries continue to pop up around North America.


Full-bodied and heady, with a grapefruit and pepper tenor. Lately, conversations about beer have been sounding suspiciously like winespeak. Connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike are talking about terroir, aroma, and notes for their beers.

Ninety-seven percent of the United States’ 2,000-plus breweries are classified as craft breweries. These artisan brewers are reinterpreting classic beers from traditional beer-producing countries such as Germany, England and Belgium by switching up ingredient quantities, using new or non-traditional ingredients and altering the brewing process. The result is a distinct strain of American craft beers characterized by their diversity and depth of flavor.

Ales: As opposed to English, Irish and Scottish ales, which tend to emphasize malt sweetness, American ales are more aggressively hopped, stressing fruit and citrus notes. Likewise, American IPAs are usually stronger and more fragrant due to the use of American hops.

Lagers: Classic lagers have a smooth, clear flavor profile that emphasizes both malt and hops. Though European and American pale lagers share the same name, the latter are bolder in flavor because of the distinct verdant nature of American hops. American amber lagers, less hoppy and more malty, are the perfect beers to pair with food.

Specialty beers: American brewers have been keen to experiment with natural additives and brewing methods, often to great acclaim. Fruit beers, with raspberry, apricot, blueberry or cherry are popular, as are seasonal flavors like pumpkin, chili or herbs. Hyper beers, reminiscent of sherry or port, are ales brewed with experimental yeasts that can survive in high-alcoholic environments.

And did you know that home brewing your own beer can be a great source of additional CO2 for inside your grow room?

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Craft beer versus mainstream swill? The choice is easy.
Last modified on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 21:08

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