What Craft Beer Says About 'Murica
Hello again everyone! Welcome to our first Guest Blog Post - brought to you by Brew Shop employee and all around charming gentleman, Nick King. Nick wrote a post especially for July 4th, with our nation's freedom in mind. So Happy 4th and Enjoy!
One morning at the Brew Shop, a man walked through the doors. I greeted him and told him I’d be happy to help him find anything that he may be looking for. He nodded his head towards me and with a German-tinted accent said, “Thanks, will do.” After a few minutes of browsing the store, he approached me at the front counter and pointed to the bomber rack near our taps and said, “Could you recommend any good local beers?” As I pointed out a few selections, the man and I started chatting. It turned out that he was indeed a German visiting the United States and wanted to take back several American beers as souvenirs. “You know,” he said. “You just can’t get beers like these in Germany.”
“Oh, yeah?” I replied.
“Yeah, there just isn’t that much variety. It’s all Pilsners.”
I found our conversation interesting, because Germany is one of the world’s cultural beer capitals. After all, it was the influence of German immigrants that solidified beer as America’s primary alcoholic beverage of choice (sorry whiskey aficionados). The more we talked though, the more it began to make sense. According to him, there isn’t any real innovation happening in the German beer industry, it’s stagnant. There isn’t anything new happening, and that’s exactly why he liked American beer – it isn’t bound by any antiquated Purity Law.
Over the past few decades, craft beer has exploded in the U.S., with breweries popping up and creating all manner of beer: fruity beer, super bitter beer, pecan beer, cucumber beer (yeah, cucumber). All of these beers fly in the face of tradition. Rather than settling for plain ales and lagers brewers in the States have added their own twists to traditional styles to come up with new and exciting tastes and experiences, and isn’t that what America is all about – innovation?
Two key aspects of the American psyche are “What if?” and “Why not?”
What if we could fly?
Why not put a man on the moon?
What if the entire world was connected?
Why not add Ancho Chiles, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, and serrano peppers to a single beer?
Look, I’ll be the first tell you that America has its share of problems, but one of the most amazing things about the U.S. is that it has never lost its sense of creativity and wonderment – and that’s what craft beer says about America: that it is still looking for new ways to do things better, different, or more exciting. So the next time you take a sip of a bitter-sweet grapefruit flavored IPA or smokey bourbon barrel aged stout, take a moment to ponder on what innovation tastes like and that you can’t get beers like those in Germany.