These days, everyone has access to a plethora of styles of beers made by an endless amount of breweries. Not all of these are created equal. With that access to beer, comes increased access to the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions about the beers consumers are dropping their cash on.
With an appreciation for handmade goods and support of smaller, localized companies at the heart of their monetary values— millennials are drinking the craft brew kool-aid. Breweries can be designed so patrons may see behind the scenes and marvel at the shiny, stainless equipment that their pint was born in. To be so close to the brewing process and able to discuss the nuances of the beer with those who made it, consumers are having valuable conversations with the team that creates their beer.
Droves of breweries bring their best brews to beer festivals to allow drinkers to try smaller portions of beers. With the ability to try new styles of beer, or compare the same style done by various breweries, drinkers can contemplate and discuss the finer points of what makes a beer distinct and pleasant. It was at a beerfest that I discovered that I really love the acidic tang of sour beers.
Homebrewing is a firsthand way to learn about beer styles, and it has been steadily gaining popularity (1.2 million homebrewers in the US!). Anyone with an interest in ferments and fun can start brewing at home inexpensively. If not you’re not homebrewing, then one of your friends is.
Books and Online Resources
If you head to your local book store, you’ll be sure to find a book or two about beer. It could be an instructional on home brewing or a consuming graphic novel on the history of beer. Furthermore, if one is really feeling a beer they can whip out their smart phone and be on a brewery’s website, describing what is fizzing on their tastebuds.
All of these things are lending themselves to the base knowledge of the American consumer. If your friend takes a swig of their first craft brew and decides they’re jumping on the beer enthusiast bandwagon, there are so many ways they can speed up the newbie to connoisseur process. Read a book. Talk to brewers. Buy your beerfest ticket. Brew at home.
It would appear that there is no reason not to know the basics. How did these things help you learn about the many facets of beer? Were there any other essential components to your informal beer education?