Small and independent breweries have transformed the world of beer drinking. Beginning as a hobby, with enthusiasts brewing small batches in their basements, craft brewing has grabbed a significant share of the national market and the attention of a new generation of beer drinkers. Craft beer has also transformed the culture of beer drinking, with new pubs and tasting bars, festivals, and accessories. From insulated beer growlers to putting previously unheard-of vegetables on the grill (cauliflowers, anyone?) craft beer drinkers are changing the world. In a good way.
The world of craft beers
Craft beers are taking over the world. Well, the beer industry, anyway. Or 12% of its total market share, at least. At the present time, the craft beer market itself is worth $ 23.5 billion, and it’s growing due to popular demand. The number of new breweries keeps increasing, and in 2015 alone, it grew by 15%. That brings the total number of craft and independent breweries in the U.S. to 4,269.
Altogether, there are over 150 styles of craft beer available in the U.S., which is more than anywhere else in the world. Craft beers are typically produced in small batches that must be consumed within a few months of production. Many craft beers also tend to have seasonal flavors like pumpkin and blackberry. In fact, 84% of all craft beer drinkers say that they choose their drink based on the season. But it’s not just the flavors that are new.
Craft beers and food
Just as the beers represents the tastes of a new generation, so do the foods and accessories. Even a simple beer and hamburger menu may well feature grass-fed beef and grilled romaine lettuce. The tomatoes will be organic and non-gmo and the mustard may be replaced by chimichurri. Beer also appears as an ingredient in the food, as a marinade for strip steak or chicken, and a flavoring in desserts like peach cobbler and bananas foster with crepes.
Even for ordinary home barbecues, craft beer drinkers are likely to throw some unusual vegetables on the grill along with the spare ribs and hot dogs, such as cauliflower, eggplant and bok choy. And in the brave new world of craft beer, they can be paired with Girl Scout cookies and even cheese. For instance, try pairing the s’mores with a tart, fruity sour flavored beer like blackberry or passion fruit. Among beer and cheese pairings, try ale with cheddar, Parmesan or Romano, and wheat beer or Hefeweizen with gruyere, feta, or goat cheese.
What is a growler?
Craft beer accessories range from the familiar beer mats, T-shirts, and hats to unique beer gifts like growlers. Growlers are airtight jugs that can keep the beer fresh and carbonated for a few days. They’re used for carrying tap beers home, or to a party. They can also be used to share homebrews with friends and family. In fact, growlers may be among the best gifts for beer lovers.
Growlers can be made of glass, ceramic or stainless steel. They have a jug-like body and a narrow neck, with an airtight stopper on top. Insulated beer growlers can even keep your craft beer cold for a refreshing afternoon drink at the game or when you’re out camping. Some growlers come with taps, which can keep the beer fresh for even longer.
Craft beers have quickly cornered a significant share of the total market and transformed the world and culture of beer drinking. With everything from special beer festivals to unique accessories like insulated beer growler, it’s a whole new game.