What’s up with this whole craft beer thing?
For the sake of discussion, let’s go ahead and replace “beer” with “pizza”, and work from there.
When you’re in the mood for pizza, which would you prefer?
If you’ve never been to a craft beer brewery or tasting room, I can assure you this is indeed an accurate metaphor. The mass-produced, fizzy yellow stuff you’ve been drinking for years is okay if you’re one of those folks who views their consumption as nothing more than a means to an end, but then again if you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for something more.
Welcome to the wonderful world of craft-brewed beer.
Lager vs Ale
The vast majority of fizzy yellows you’ve been drinking are typically lagers. Lagers are “cold-brewed” with yeast strains that ferment at lower temperatures, at the bottom of the fermentation tank, and are often described as, “smooth”, “crisp”, and “clean”.
When it comes to craft beers, especially here in San Diego, the vast majority are ales, incorporating “top fermenting” yeast which activates at warmer temperatures as it floats at the top of the fermentation vessel. Ales are often described as more “robust”, “hearty”, sometimes even “fruity”, but even those don’t cover the wide range of flavors available in San Diego craft beers.
Just to take you one step further, we’ve included this handy reference guide that sheds a little more light on the many craft beers available to the conscientious consumer, and the vessels you should be using to enjoy them.
That concludes your first lesson, more to come. 😉