Craft beer is often used to describe a beer made from an independent brewery. An independent brewer means it is not owned by a big business or large corporation. When making craft beers, craftsmanship is crucial.
When craft beer companies are purchased by major corporations, the beer they produce is no longer craft beer. It does not diminish the quality of the product; however, it is seen as a mass-produced commodity and no longer a craft product.
The Growing Market of Craft Beer
USA Today reports that the craft beer market is continuously growing. In 2018, sales of the product has gone up to 7%, as reported by the Brewers Association. Due to increased demands, the production of craft beer has increased; in 2017, craft brewers produced 25.9 million barrels in the US.
From 2020 to 2024, the industry is set to grow even more by up to 47.79 billion dollars. Even during the pandemic, the craft beer market has seen growth and is projected to reach 554.3 billion US dollars by 2027.
This trend does not only happen in the US; China, Japan, Canada, and Germany are included in countries that are seeing growth in the craft beer market.
The Reason Behind The Growth
Business Insider shares reasons behind craft beer’s popularity. One of them is that beer drinkers are looking for a different kind of taste. From their go-to beer drinks, these beer lovers want to explore new flavors, a reason why breweries are trying to give them other options; this gave rise to flavored beers, some even using tropical fruits like aseptic mango puree to add flavor to a craft beer.
As demand increases, retailers start to put craft beers on their shelves. This gives the craft beer market more advantage because it becomes more accessible to customers and demand increases further.
At the same time, craft beer is making a name as a social drink. Lots of craft breweries put up their own bar, restaurant, or tasting room; it becomes a social avenue where people can meet, interact, and get a taste of an exceptional beer flavor. Additionally, craft brewers are making their beers more portable by putting them in cans; beer-lovers who are usually outdoorsy types love this portability.
Basic types of beer
Before we explore the most popular craft beers thriving in the market today, it is first essential to know the basic beer types. From these basic styles, craft beers combine new flavors to create a unique craft beer taste.
Ale is a major beer category that has different types. This subcategory includes pale, blonde, and brown ales. One of the oldest types of beer, it can be easily made at home due to its fast brewing process. In addition, its fermentation requires a warm temperature and a top-fermenting yeast; this yeast turns barley and malt into alcohol.
A summer favorite, blonde ales have a sweetness of light malt. They also have the aroma of hops. The blonde ale is light-colored, has a clear body, and its flavor has a minimal bitterness and is crisp and dry.
Brown ales have a slightly darker color than blonde ales, ranging from amber to brown. Its flavor has notes of caramel, citrus, nut, or chocolate. These different flavors are a result of the various malts used by producers in other countries.
With a copper color, the pale ale is an English-style ale with a fruity scent. This type of ale is an excellent pair to spicy food. Indian Pale Ale or IPA is made with extra hops, giving this ale a more bitter taste. American Pale Ale or APA, on the other hand, mixes the English and IPA style.
Different from ale, lager is relatively new. It needs to be fermented at a low temperature for a longer period. Also, it uses bottom-fermenting yeast. It is popular in European countries and Canada. Lager beers are highly carbonated and are light in color.
Pilsner is a subcategory of lager that is lightly golden and has a dry, crisp finish and a slightly bitter taste. Because of this flavor, pilsner is a great summer drink.
Popular craft beers
In May 2021, Rolling Stones featured the best craft beers of the year. At the top of its list is the New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale made by the New Belgium brewing company. It’s a crowd-favorite with hints of spices and fruit flavors perfect for grilling season.
Following the list are BrewDog Clockwork Tangerine Citrus Session IPA, dubbed as the best fruit-forward beer, and Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA, which has a smooth, juicy flavor and unfiltered taste.
Aside from these craft beers, there are lots of flavors constantly being introduced by independent breweries across the world. This is great news for beer-lovers; their thirst for discovering new flavors will indeed be quenched.