To save us all from trend pieces that needn’t be assigned and arguments that don’t have to happen, I humbly offer these three caveats:
The vast, vast majority of Americans do not drink craft beer and do not care about it (if they’re even aware of it). This holds true even among that subset of Americans which drinks beer at all. We can assume this because they’ve had decades to let themselves be introduced, and have chosen to either toe-dip and leave, or ignore it altogether. Only beer geeks, aficionados, those in the industry and those in those persons’ orbits care that much (a formidable crew, I’ll give you that, but still the minority American beer-wise). It’s sad, and unfortunate, and you weep for them; but, hey, some people don’t like North Carolina-style barbecue or the New York Yankees, either, and they’ve both been around longer.
Which leads me to the second point: While U.S. craft beer has grown dramatically in the last 50 years, the underlying fundamentals and controversies and challenges have not (for challenges, see Point 1). In other words, pretty much everything going on today has happened in some form before—whether it’s the hand-wringing over defining craft beer or the twilight of the gods who made it all happen or beer-food pairings or that goddamned vampiric trend piece that defines beer in wine terms. Maybe U.S. craft beer will have a Judgment of Paris moment like U.S. fine wine; and everything will take off in exciting, novel directions. But that moment, if it’s going to arrive, appears to be taking its time.
Remember the first two points.
· Skyscraper Brewer: 30 Years of Jim Koch and Sam Adams Beer [TomAcitelli.com]
· The Evolution of GABF Categories [All About Beer]
· Big Bottles Equals Wine? [Brookston Beer Bulletin]
· On A Thanksgiving Long Ago, A Beer-Food First [All About Beer]