This is part 2 of a multiple-part series of posts that explain the basics of beer. In Part 1 I answered the question “What is a tasting room?” In this post I will explore what separates craft beer from mass-produced beer. Stay tuned for future posts on the various styles of beer.
At some point in life you hear most people say “Beer is beer. Why should I spend much money on it?” It is apparent that you are spending a lot more money per beer when you buy a six-pack of IPA for about the price of a 12-pack of Budweiser.
If you like the pilsner style of beer (which most mass-produced beers are), you certainly can’t be blamed for buying the cheap stuff. Though it might not be perfect, it usually does taste like a pilsner (unless you get the light variety).
Craft beer is about transforming the experience from drinking to get drunk to drinking for the flavor. Just as people are more satisfied by a really fantastic slice of cheesecake than some grocery store cake, a really good craft beer tends to satisfy you much more than a Budweiser.
Beer is a complex beverage that requires balancing a number of different ingredients to come up with the perfect flavor. Exploring craft beer is a way of learning to recognize the different flavors so that you can better enjoy your experience drinking beer.
There are many different styles of beer
If you’ve ever gone over to a friend’s house only to be asked if you want an IPA, a porter, a pale ale, or an amber you might have replied “Dude just give me a beer!” It really is a lot more complicated than that and there are a lot of different flavors that you can taste in different styles of beers. The descriptions below may not be technically accurate but are written in a way that I hope will be understandable to the average person. Over the next few posts I will go into detail about the various styles of beer with local examples of each style listed at the end of each section.