Mikkel Borg Bjergso, a 38-year-old former high-school science teacher who runs the Danish brewery Mikkeller, stuck his face into a bag of hops and inhaled deeply.
In 1990, Cambridge archaeologist Dr. Barry Kemp unearthed Queen Nefertiti’s Royal Brewery buried beneath the Egyptian sands. There, he found ten brewing chambers containing ancient beer residue. With the help of some electron microscopy, the 3,250 year-old recipe was identified.
Small batch brews are all about local flavor—both in and on the bottle. For those who appreciate craft beers, life has never been so good. The world of American artisanal brews is one of astonishing variety.
There was once a time when it was easy to throw around the term "craft beer" and know exactly what you were talking about.
On a recent Monday morning, the stretch of Route 100 that runs through sleepy Waterbury, Vt., was bumper-to-bumper. The line of Camrys, Sierras, and Outbacks, some from as far away as Illinois, inched forward in the crisp air, their drivers united in a singular goal.
It's happened to the best of us. You fancy yourself to be pretty well-versed in all things ale and lager, but suddenly, you find yourself reading through the extensive menu at an ambitious new beer joint and you feel like someone dropped a foreign-language dictionary into your lap.
Ken Grossman has survived his share of froth and burst bubbles in the 35-plus years since he cofounded Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Now 59, he still oversees the nation’s largest private craft brewery, producing nearly 1 million barrels of beer a year and ringing up more than $200 million in sales.
Craft beer is big. Independent craft breweries saw their collective sales grow 20 percent last year, and they’re slowly taking away sales from the giants. Overall beer sales are flat, but locally brewed India Pale Ales are killing it. Craft beer is also small.
Time was, beer came in one size: whether bottle or can, the stuff inside measured a reliable 12 ounces. But walk into a craft-beer store these days and you’ll see shelf after shelf taken over by giants: 22-ounce “bombers,” 750-milliliter wine bottles, even three-liter jeroboams.
As of March, the United States was home to two thousand three hundred and sixty craft breweries, the relatively small, artisanship-oriented producers best known for India pale ales, porters, and other decidedly non-Budweiser-esque beers.