What is craft beer? This is a question that arises in the minds of a lot of people. But the answer is not very tough. It is the kind of beer produced by small breweries. These breweries are not part of any corporate structures and are operated independently. This can also be defined as the traditionally brewed beer that does not use a lot of corporate methods. It has only become popular recently. It has been used for decades but was never part of the popular culture. Breweries manufacturing craft beer are now being established at numerous places. It has never been easier to buy it.
Some essential characteristics
There are some criteria on which it is decided whether a beer can be called craft beer or not. The three major measures are the size, independence, and the traditional elements in a brewery. First of all, the upper limit for beer production is 6 million barrels annually. Secondly, not more than 25% of the brewery should be owned by a corporation or its member. That member also should not be a craft brewer. The third criteria is a bit interesting since it involves both innovative and traditional methods. A brewery can use both and still its beer can be called craft beer. But its taste should always be traditional.
This sector is slowly gaining momentum and accounts for around 12.5% worldwide beer sales. That is still small because the beer industry is dominated by large groups that operate internationally. There is an ongoing debate on the nature of craft beer since many of these establishments have been acquired by large corporations. The question: Should these breweries still be called breweries that manufacture craft beer? Or their acquisition by corporate giants have altered their identity altogether?
There are some common terms used in craft breweries that should be understood by every beginner. Spicy beer is, of course, spiced. But it is not too intense. It could be intense too but brewers prefer keeping it mild. Usually, the spice touches incorporated are clove, pepper, and coriander. Fruity beer tastes like fruit. Common flavours are banana, lemon, apricot, cherry, and others. Hoppy is often associated with inducing aroma into beer. There are a lot of aromas such as grassy, spicy, pine needles, and the like. Malted beer has malt or malted barley. Kilning or roasting is used to flavour and colour the beer. If mild roasting is done, the taste comes out to be nutty. If it is roasted heavily, the beer tastes caramel or chocolate.
Craft beer also has a lot of styles. They depend upon the type of material that is used
Usually, beers have malt in them. But wheat beers contain 40-60% wheat. The usage of wheat means the taste and the colour both a lighter. They are also cleaner. They could have different flavours including bubble gum, spices, or any other related flavour.
This beer is unique in the way that some part of it does not include elements that are usually related to beer. Yeast is the traditional part of the beer that is combined with spices or brown sugar. They have different tendencies. Singles and triples are light in color and texture and have a bright appearance and taste spicy. Doubles and Quadruples have darker colours with an intense, fruity taste.
This version has no corn. Instead of corn, malt is used entirely for brewing it. Some of them taste like caramel but mostly they taste herbal and spicy. They are clean and feel crisp when sipped.
Checking the Quality
You might be referred to a particular beer by someone and are ready to buy it. Your purchase it but the taste is not good at all. Maybe they suggested sincerely but the beer had gone bad due to some external factors. In such situations, you must know how to evaluate the quality of a beer. Some important criteria can be used whether a beer is fit for consumption or should be dumped.
Oxygen is deadly for beer. If beer is exposed to it, it tastes awful because of going stale. If it tastes like cardboard or paper, it means it has been oxidized and should not be consumed. The contact for oxygen might have happened during production or due to flawed packaging.
Light is also a damaging agent for beer. If beer is affected by light, it will start tasting like rubber. If it tastes like that, you need t to protect it instantly. But if you are a buyer, try it from a different store that offers adequate protection from light. Also, try to buy canned beer. Bottles are not very good at protecting the beer. Brown bottles are considered satisfactory for providing safety but they are not perfect.