Many years ago when people spoke of American beer they were speaking mainly of the watery flavourless lagers produced by Poor, Miller and Budweiser. When Americans talked about good beer, they were speaking mainly about German, British and Belgian beer.
It was because of my experience with cheap mass produced American beet — aka. pure shit — that I was not originally a beer drinker. My Americans friend enjoyed drinking as much of this piss water as they could for as little as they could; the dreaded $1 pint of swill. The American beer industry was dominated by a handful of large corporations making a very limited, and subpar range of ales.
However, in the last three decades, the American craft beer revolution has transformed and progressed.
Craft beer is now brewed all across the United States with an increasing number of small and independent brewers experimenting with new ingredients and brewing methods. American consumers are increasingly drawn to the interesting flavours craft brewers offer.
According to the Brewers Association, the number of operating U.S. breweries grew 16.6 percent from 2015 to 2016 and small and independent breweries accounted for 99 percent of the operating breweries in the U.S. in 2016.
When I first moved to New Jersey, the only micro-brewery in the area was Triumph Brewing in Princeton. Now I have choices; Troon Brewing in Hopewell, Conclave Brewing in Flemington, and Flounder Brewing in Hillsborough. I can drive 30-45 minutes into Pennsylvania and I can enjoy ales from some of the top breweries in the region.
The India Pale Ale or IPA is the most popular form of beer sold in the USA. It is 5-7% ABV and packed with hops and flavour. It was Great Britain’s answer to the problem of providing beer for the British Empire in the east. The weather in India was too hot to brew ales, so what was needed was a beer that could survive the gruelling six-month journey from Britain intact. But the IPA died out in Britain but made a comeback in America in a big way. In an American way. We now have an American IPA; two form. One popularised on the West Coast and one crafted out of the former colonies of New England; the New England IPA. The New England IPA is my favourite. Hoppy. Juicy. With interesting experimental flavours such as mango and pineapple.
Life is good. This is good. This is progress.
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