An Introduction to The World of Craft Beer
If you’re a true beer enthusiast, you’re likely well-acquainted with the term “craft beer.” It’s the buzzword that reverberates throughout the beer community, and in our humble opinion, with excellent reason. However, for those who are newly embarking on their craft beer journey, the concept can be somewhat elusive.
- Craft beer is a distinct category of beer characterized by its production in smaller quantities compared to large-scale breweries.
- The differences between craft beer and macro beer are the quantity, quality, and prices.
In recent years, the world of beer has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis. Craft beer, once a rather obscure term, has surged through the brewing industry like a tempest. Speaking of beer, Indonesia itself currently boasts a diverse array of beer brands and types available. This is particularly evident in bustling locales like Bali, where a melting pot of cultures converge. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that a plethora of craft beer brands grace the beer scene in Bali.
But what precisely defines craft beer and sets it apart from the mass-produced libations that reign supreme in the market? In the pages of this article, we will embark on a profound exploration of the craft beer universe, delving into its storied history, distinctive brewing techniques, and the vibrant global community that surrounds it.
What is Craft Beer
Craft beer, a product of craft breweries, is a distinct category of beer characterized by its production in smaller quantities compared to large-scale breweries. Typically, these breweries operate independently and are privately owned.
What sets craft beer apart is its dedication to traditional brewing techniques, a passion for innovation, and an exploration of diverse flavors and brewing methods. It’s important to understand that craft beer represents not just a beverage but also a movement, reflecting a commitment to producing beer in traditional, independent, and artisanal settings rather than mass production.
The Brewers Association, a non-profit organization advocating for and supporting small, independent U.S. brewers, defines an American craft brewer as one that produces fewer than 6 million barrels of beer annually and has less than 25% ownership by a non-craft brewer.
Craft beer places a strong emphasis on quality over quantity, with an unwavering focus on crafting small batches by independent breweries. These breweries, like ours, pour their passion and dedication into each pint, employing only the finest ingredients and unique flavor combinations to create truly one-of-a-kind brews.
Unlike mass-produced beers churned out by large commercial breweries for profit, craft beer is a labor of love, showcasing the brewer’s artistry. Every sip tells a story of the meticulous effort and dedication invested in every batch.
Craft breweries often venture into innovative territory, experimenting with a wide range of distinctive ingredients, including fruits, spices, and even coffee.
So, if you’re seeking a beer that’s more than just a beverage, but an exquisite blend of art, science, and innovation, craft beer is the ultimate choice. It’s the embodiment of passion and creativity, delivering a unique and special experience with every glass.
History of Craft Beer
The origins of craft beer breweries trace back to the cultivation of wheat and barley grains. However, the modern history of craft beer in the United States took root in the 1960s when Fritz Maytag embarked on a pivotal journey by purchasing the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, igniting the craft beer revolution.
Approaching his thirties, Maytag was on a quest to make a meaningful impact in an industry. Upon discovering that the Anchor Brewing Company, a business with a legacy spanning over six decades, faced imminent closure, he stepped in and acquired a controlling 51% stake. Initially, Maytag had envisioned merely providing financial support to the struggling company, but circumstances took an unexpected turn as creditors began knocking with IOUs.
This turn of events compelled him to shift his focus towards managing the brewery and devising strategies to bolster beer sales. Determined to elevate beer quality, Maytag introduced innovative brewing techniques, giving birth to handcrafted beers.
In the wake of the 1960s, a wave of American enthusiasts took to homebrewing, primarily for personal enjoyment, while some ventured into small-scale businesses. Notably, in 1976, Jack McAuliffe established the New Albion Brewery in California, setting the stage for what we now recognize as the craft brewing movement. Though New Albion’s existence was short-lived at just six years, its impact was profound, inspiring countless individuals to embark on their microbrewery ventures.
The year 1977 witnessed the influential beer writer Michael Jackson, whose work included the seminal book “The World Guide to Beers,” which provided a comprehensive exploration of a wide array of beer styles.
The period from 1920 to 1979 saw the prohibition of homebrewing by law. Eager to emulate Maytag’s commitment to crafting unique and flavorful beers, homebrewing advocates successfully lobbied for the legalization of their craft. Jimmy Carter signed HR 1337 into law, marking a turning point for the homebrewing movement. It’s worth noting that a significant portion of today’s craft brewers initially honed their skills as homebrewers, with estimates suggesting as much as 90 percent.
This legislative victory for homebrewers paved the way for a surge in microbreweries. Between 1985 and 1997, the industry experienced rapid growth, with new breweries emerging at rates ranging from 20 percent to an astonishing 100 percent in certain years. Regrettably, this expansion also fostered ill-conceived get-rich-quick schemes, a decline in overall beer sales, and the unfortunate closure of numerous breweries.
Craft Beer vs Macro Beer
There are many differences between craft beer and macro beer. In this section, we will dive more to see what are the differences between craft beer and macro beer.
Craft beer stands apart from its mainstream counterpart, macro beer, which emerges from the colossal machinery of large corporations prioritizing mass production and uniform flavor. Macro beer, in its pursuit of consistency across immense batches, often resorts to cost-effective ingredients and additives, compromising its essence.
In stark contrast, craft beer finds its essence in smaller, meticulously crafted batches, employing premium ingredients often sourced locally, fostering a realm of distinctive and diverse flavors. Craft brewers wield a creative style of beer-crafting, experimenting with unique hop varieties, malt blends, and yeast strains to craft an array of memorable tastes. Meanwhile, commercial breweries might lean on adjuncts like rice or corn, seeking to dilute flavors and body while keeping costs in check.
The most discernible divergence between craft and commercial beer resides in the realm of flavor. Craft breweries are driven by a relentless pursuit of quality and individuality, elevating their brews into unique and memorable experiences.
Craft beer’s playground is vast, encompassing a myriad of styles, some experimental or niche, continually pushing the boundaries of brewing tradition. Commercial breweries, on the other hand, often gravitate towards a select few flagship brands or mainstream styles designed for broad, universal appeal.
The distribution unveils another dimension of distinction. Craft beer predominantly thrives in regional or local domains, nurturing direct connections through brewery sales and local bars and eateries. In contrast, commercial beer sprawls across the global landscape, populating supermarket shelves, liquor stores, and national and international chains, aiming to reach the widest consumer base.
As for the price tag, craft beer often commands a higher cost per bottle or pint, justified by its commitment to premium ingredients and the meticulous craft of smaller-scale production. Conversely, commercial beer adopts a more accessible price point, accommodating a diverse consumer base with varying package sizes.
Craft Beer Market and Industry
In the present day, the craft beer industry continues to flourish, and its growth is nothing short of remarkable. As per Statista, the craft beer sector in the United States alone raked in an impressive $29 billion in revenue during the year 2020.
This industry has been on a steady upward trajectory, with craft beer now commanding more than a quarter of the entire beer market. Beyond its commercial success, craft beer has become a significant contributor to the economy. In 2019, craft breweries produced a staggering 26 million barrels of beer, generating a substantial economic impact exceeding $82 billion and providing gainful employment to over 580,000 individuals.
Between 2008 and 2016, the United States witnessed a six-fold increase in the number of brewery establishments, accompanied by a remarkable 120 percent growth in the brewery workforce. In less than a decade, the industry sextupled its establishments and more than doubled its workforce, all while U.S. beer consumption experienced a decline.
Several factors underpin the surge of craft beer. Foremost among them is the evolving palate of consumers. The craft beer movement reflects a response to consumer demands for fuller flavors, greater variety, and heightened support for local businesses.
It’s worth noting that the craft beer movement gained momentum during the Great Recession, giving rise to a wave of “necessity entrepreneurs” who, in the absence of traditional employment opportunities, ventured into the realm of small-time breweries.
To oversee and maintain the integrity of the craft beer boom, non-profit organizations like The Craft Brewers Association (CBA) play a crucial role. The CBA serves as a trade group dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the interests of small, independent U.S. brewers.
Their criteria define an American craft brewer as one that produces no more than 6 million barrels of beer annually and maintains less than 25% ownership or control by a beverage alcohol industry member not classified as a craft brewer.
Furthermore, the CBA has introduced the Independent Craft Brewer Seal, offering consumers a simple means to identify beers produced by independent craft brewers. As of the year 2020, this seal has been embraced by over 5,300 breweries, reaffirming their commitment to the craft and the values it represents.
Brewing Process in Craft Beer
The brewing process in a beer brewery is just like an art in itself. Having a fundamental grasp of the brewing process can enhance your appreciation of the delightful world of craft beer.
This marks the initial stage of the process, where the first two ingredients—water and malt—converge. Hot water is combined with the cracked grain in a sizable vessel known as a “Mash Tun.” With the assistance of enzymes present in the malt, the starches in the grains are transformed into sugars. The outcome of this step is what brewers term “wort,” a sugar-rich liquid derived from malt and other grains. Typically, this mashing process spans a duration of 60 to 90 minutes.
Before progressing to lautering, there’s a customary “mash out” phase, raising the mash’s temperature to approximately 77°C (170°F) to arrest enzymic activity. Filtering is employed to gently rinse the mash, washing away any residual sugars. Failure to rinse would result in a considerable sugar residue within the malt. Filtering also enhances the extraction efficiency. The objective is to transfer the clear wort into the brew kettle.
During the filtration process, it’s imperative to match the inflow of incoming water with the outflow of the wort. Insufficient water addition can lead to the mash bed drying out, while excessive water may cause overflow, resulting in complications on brew day and affecting efficiency.
Once the brewer obtains the wort, it undergoes sterilization through a boiling procedure in the brew kettle. This step halts enzyme activity and condenses the liquid. Hops are introduced during the boiling phase, a process that typically lasts from 60 to 120 minutes.
The characteristics of aroma, taste, and bitterness contributed by hops depend on the timing of their addition. Early addition in the boil imparts bitterness, with an extended boil duration intensifying it. Mid-boil additions introduce flavor, while late-boil additions contribute to flavor and aroma.
The bitterness in beer, attributed to hops, stems from alpha acids, also known as humulones. These alpha acids vary in content, ranging from 2 to 15%, contingent on the hop variety. Exposure to boiling leads to the isomerization of alpha acids, giving rise to various forms of humulones. It is these iso-alpha acids that are responsible for the distinctive bitterness inherent in beer. Hops can also be introduced post-boil during whirlpooling for flavor and aroma, during fermentation for dry-hopping for aroma, or during maturation for enhanced aroma.
Following this, the wort is transferred to a fermentation vessel, and yeast is added, or “pitched.” Ale yeast typically rises to the surface, while lager yeast typically settles at the bottom. This stage signifies primary fermentation, where sugars are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide, ultimately defining whether the brew becomes an ale or a lager, depending on the yeast strain employed.
Once the yeast is pitched at the appropriate temperature, the beer is typically maintained between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit for ales and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for lagers. This phase, crucial to the yeast’s conversion of sugars into alcohol, is closely monitored by brewers. The elevated temperatures employed for ale yeast result in the production of more esters, aromatic organic compounds that contribute to the beer’s character.
Here at Canard Brewing Co., we hold a firm belief that there’s a beer to suit every palate, and it’s our mission to help you find yours. Our unwavering passion is dedicated to crafting exceptional quality brews. We are committed to utilizing only the finest ingredients, adhering to authentic brewing methods and recipes, and maintaining the highest standards of packaging. Our ultimate goal is to proudly serve the finest craft beers within this archipelago. Visit our website to find more information