I had a great exchange throughout the last week with All About Beer‘s Jon Page. (Full disclosure: I’m a regular contributor.) One of the exchanges centered around a pet peeve about Americans luxuriating in European food and drink. You know the sort: They know the Loire Valley like their backyard, but they’re surprised to find Long Island has a wine industry. Here goes:
AAB: Overall, I think most recent converts to craft beer would be surprised by those stories. Switching gears now, what’s your favorite style of beer? And did writing this book make you look any different at your favorite beers?
TA: I used to fancy myself a hophead, but now I much rather prefer the milder pale, red, session and brown ales out there. To be sure, I do like the occasional “extreme beer,” just not as much any longer. (I add quotation marks as I am very well aware—as I chronicle in the book—that some people fervently believe no such style category exists.)
This switch in preference came as a result, too, of a greater realization of the wonderful geographic diversity of American beer. … My favorite beers now come from the breweries nearest my home base of Greater Boston, including from those in and around Portland, Maine, and New York City.
It kind of irks me when people return from Belgium or Germany (or even tiny Luxembourg!) and rave about the geographic diversity of brewing in these countries. As if that’s not just as pronounced—or more so—in the United States! I would venture to say that there is more diversity of beer style in Massachusetts alone, for instance, than there is in all of Germany (I welcome any correction).
Well? The interview also covers the biggest challenges to documenting the next decades of American craft beer and the oft-forgotten (purposefully, I think) controversies of the 1990s.
· Q&A: Author Tom Acitelli on The Audacity of Hops [All About Beer]