Craft Beer – What Is It? How Does It Vary from Regular Beer?

Craft Beer – What Is It? How Does It Vary from Regular Beer?

If you go for drinks with your friends occasionally, then you must have heard of craft beer, right? In case you don’t have an idea, read this post for a complete breakdown.

What Is Craft Beer?

Most people think that craft beer is only an informal name used especially for brews full of flavor because they are ‘well crafted.’ But in a real sense, there is a formal definition: to secure the ‘craft’ title, breweries must be defined by the following criteria:

  • Small: this means the yearly beer production must be 6 million barrels (186 million gallons) or less. The production of beer is attributed to the regulations of alternating ownerships.  
  • Independent: not more than a quarter of the craft brewery is controlled or owned by a member of an alcoholic beverage industry that isn’t a brewer of craft beer (non-craft beer brewery).
  • Traditional: this implies that the greater part of the brewery’s yield (total beverage alcohol volume) should consist of beer whose flavor originates from traditional or innovative brewing components and their fermentation. Not taking into account FMBs (Flavored Malt Beverages).

That’s the professional description of a craft brewer as described by an organization associated with craft beer. And thus, any beer that is produced by those small, independent and traditional breweries is craft beer.

Types of Craft Beer

With the numerous types of beer available, plus regular brands, it seems like drinking new craft beers is the name of the game in nearly all places. Just in case you’re not sure of where to start, you can go through our ever-growing list of beer types. Have you tried them all? Check out our listings of Lagers, Ales, Pale Ales, Ambers, Darks, Blonde Ales, Wheat and so forth. Get to know more about your favorites or hone in on a new variety that fascinates you.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at the types of craft beer that you’ll find out there:

  • American Dark Wheat Ale

As the name suggests, this is an American variety of German dunkelweizen. This is where brewers conventionally added black malts to their recipe (hefeweizen).  The brew has a color medium to dark brown. The smells can range from dark fruits to relatively sweet tones of caramel malt and wheat. Basically, the American Wheat Dark Ales have a light and quenching character. At times fruit is added- especially for summer varieties. They have low hop characteristics, and their Alcohol by Volume (ABV) trends fall in the range of 4-7%. They are normally cloudy with long-standing heads.

  • American India Pale Ales

IPAs, Indian Pale Ales are beers focused on the hop. They have fragrant smells that vary from citrus to pine and flowers. These craft beer types are likely to have a bitter finish. Along with hop front and center, malts are mainly used to add a touch of color and a tip of sugariness.

  • Belgian Witbier

Belgian Witbier which in Flemish means white beer, appears pale and cloudy. This is as a result of the lack of filtering plus the large quantities of oats or wheat used in the brewing process. For a beer to be called witbier, there are 2 conditions.

  • First, it must contain up to 50% wheat; this gives the beer its signature milk glow.
  • Second is the use of spices where coriander is normally used as the predominant spice.

Another familiar addition is orange peel that creates a complex contrast to the savory coriander. Additional spices such as chamomile, ginger, and anise can also be added in small quantities. They have an ABV of 5-6%.

The above are just three of the most common craft beer varieties. There are still many other types such as American Pale Ale, American Golden Ale, Bavarian Style Lager, German Pilsner, Red Ale, and Robust Porter plus many more.



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