Craft beers are those made at home by independent brewers who pride themselves on the quality of their product and how many batches they can make. A microbrewery or craft beer factory is a small brewery, which makes small quantities of beer, usually less than larger breweries, and is mostly independently owned. Like big breweries, microbreweries are widely seen and sold as having an emphasis on new flavors, enthusiasm, and different brewing methods. Craft beers are usually of lower quality than those made in large-scale breweries.
Microbreweries vary in size, a number of employees, reputation, location, etc. Microbreweries can also specialize in particular beer styles, such as pale ale or IPA. Some microbreweries produce a limited number of specialty beers, such as Oktoberfest. Smaller breweries generally brew traditional beers, such as light beer, lagers, wheat, ale, etc., while microbreweries that specialize in one or two beer styles tend to have more consistent product quality. There are also well-known microbreweries that distribute to selected retailers, but many smaller breweries distribute to general consumers.
An excellent place to find craft beers is at a restaurant or brewpub. Restaurants and brewpubs typically have knowledgeable staffs who are able to answer questions about the variety of craft beers available and help create interesting pairings with food. They can also help introduce people to the variety of beers available and highlight the best of the best.
Many craft beers contain the same basic ingredients; water, hops, yeast, malted barley, hops, etc. The difference between these ingredients and those in mass-produced beer is the quality of the ingredients and the process of production. In mass-produced beer, the fermenting of ingredients takes place at a temperature high enough to allow the yeast to begin the fermentation process. The end result is heavily carbonated, containing high levels of yeast. The yeast can also produce undesirable sulfur compounds during the fermentation process, which can be removed by the addition of additional ingredients. By contrast, in craft beers the yeast and other microorganisms continue to grow and do their job, creating flavor, character, and aroma.
When choosing ingredients, you’ll want to choose only the best. For example, if you are creating a German-style Bock, you would want to use German malted wheat, juniper berries, and citrus peel to give your beer that distinctive German taste. Using the right ingredients and the proper brewing process will make a world-class Bock, without sacrificing the uniqueness of the brew. This article focuses on three common processes used by craft brewers to make beers unique to their makers’ flavors.
Most craft beers are crafted using a traditional home brewing method. Many home brewers started out brewing just one kind of beer. In time, they broadened their brews by introducing different varieties of the favorite beer as well as different kinds of ingredients. Beer brewing has evolved from a single-brew system to a multi-brew, mass-produced brews system, so the ingredients and process have changed quite a bit.
Many commercial craft brewers make money by selling off existing batches of beer. They package these off with specific brands. These are packaged for sale to the public, through their own or independently owned sales outlets. Major commercial craft beers include Anheuser Busch, Widmer and Coors Light, Budweiser, Stone Brewing, and many others. Some of these brewers have also expanded into making and bottling their own line of premium microbrews.
Because of the sheer cost of starting a small-scale business, many small-scale independent brewers have started to create a niche in the larger beer industry. By creating specialty beers and other micro-brews, they can work directly with the consumer. They can make their own labels, give away their microbrews on community tap cards, and sell their products at farmer’s markets and festivals. This allows them to tap into new markets and build independent brewer credibility.