American Craft Beer Festival: What is craft beer anyway?

Posted on June 19th, 2009

American Craft Beer FestTomorrow the Beeriety team is heading to the America Craft Beer Festival in Boston to sample some tasty brews and meet some fellow beer lovers. We’re real excited for the festivities and we plan on shooting lots of video and photos for our fest report next week.

Many of you may be wondering what exactly is “craft beer” and how  it differs from regular beer. For a better understanding of this sometimes loose term let’s turn to the Brewers Association website, which states:

An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional.

Small: Annual production of beer less than 2 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition.

Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.

Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of it’s volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.

This all boils down to beer that’s made by people who take a hands-on approach to brewing that emphasizes quality over cost. The first American craft brewery as we know it was Anchor Brewing Company, makers of San Francisco’s famous Anchor Steam, who under new management in the early 1970s changed their recipe to only include hops, barley, yeast and water. With this change they became one of the first breweries in Post-Prohibition America to make beer free of additives and adjuncts and since then craft beer has grown to include over 1500 American craft brewers.

Team Beeriety is looking forward to sampling just a fraction of the amazing craft beer the US produces. We’ll be twittering live from the event (#ACBF hashtag) and letting you know what we’re drinking with the Beeriety #mybeer hashtag!