Sometimes, the further you get into the world of craft beer, the more confusing it can be (even the very definition of ‘craft beer’ itself can change depending on who you ask). Much like it takes a certain understanding to appreciate and enjoy the nuances and subtleties of fine wines, so too is the case with craft beer. We’ve created this section to help you understand the basics of craft beer, so you can spend less time trying to decide what to drink and more time enjoying drinking it.
So Many Styles…So Little Time
Exploring the dozens of styles, and hundreds of variations on styles, brewers are constantly striving to perfect is one of the true joys of being a craft beer drinker. Having so many beer styles to choose from, however, can also be daunting if you don’t know an IPA from a stout or a lager from an ale. We’ve broken down the major beer styles for you here to give you a better idea of the defining characteristics and traits of each.
Beer by the #’s
Among the most confusing aspects of craft beer to an untrained eye are the series of numbers that often accompany brews on menus and chalkboards. The ABV (alcohol by volume) and IBU (International Bittering Units) are universal scales that indicate certain characteristics of beer and help drinkers identify if they will care for a particular style before even tasting it. For a better understanding of ABV and IBU, and how they can help you pick a beer that’s right for your palette, click here.
Adjuncts, barrel-aged, Firkins… sometimes you may think it would be easier to learn a second language than be able to decipher what the bartender or beer geek next to you is talking about. Craft beer certainly has a unique language, and having a working knowledge of it will greatly improve your drinking experience. Click here to see definitions of the most common craft beer terms.
Brewing at Home
After you’ve mastered beer language and sipped a certain amount of pints in taprooms, the natural inkling is often to want to brew your own. In fact, many of the best craft beer brewers around started as homebrewing hobbyists. But transforming water, yeast, grains, and adjuncts into a beer actually worth drinking is much easier said than done. Luckily, our area is home to several homebrewing specialty shops that offer starter kits, an assortment of ingredients and equipment, and advice to those trying to master the art of homebrewing.