With powerhouse brewing nations like Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, England and Australia; North America finds itself stymied under a reputation of producing terrible beer. It is true that craft beer really started taking off in the 1980's and prior to that the capitalist corporate machines ran the beer world, but the craft beer revolution has been constantly gaining strong momentum. New craft breweries are popping up in North America at an alarming rate, experimenting with unique brews that have converted many people from a life of tasteless beer to a new wave of beer education.
The Stereo-type is that North American beer is comparable to moose piss and unless you have emancipated your taste buds, your still tied into your corporate mass produced favorites. When I was a young person, before I was ready to discover a world of different beers over a decade ago, the choices for a Friday/Saturday night house party were slim: Molson Canadian, Pilsner, MGD, Budweiser, Kokanee, or Coors Light. Now that is even a step up from the real cheap drinker's that choked back GREAT (note sarcasm) classics like: Colt 45, Big Bear, Olympia and Lucky Lager. Now being a young person with a short wallet, this does not seem to surprising. However, the transition to venturing out to other corporate favorites like Brahma, Stella Artois, Tsing Tao and Asahi, allowed my taste buds to adapt to new beers out of my comfort zone. I remember being at a house party as the only person with a green bottle of Tsing Tao and having peers look at me as perplexed as the St.Lawrence Iroquois that encountered a young Jacques Cartier arriving to the St.Lawrence in 1534.
I am now a North American craft beer defendant and as I continuously argue with people over the qaulity of North American beer, I am taken aback by how many individuals cling on to this stereo-type that our continent is brewing-iliterate. Another stereo-type that people love is that American beers have a lower ABV, which could be far from the truth, so many American breweries have started to dabble into high percentage beers that after a few could have the old "knock you off your chair effect".
As well, it is known that Canadians love to drink beer, this is not an unknown fact, especially in Saskatchewan on a -45 evening, nothing warms you up better then a high abv Winter Ale. I have had many conversations with friends, whether that be North Americans, or friends overseas and often the response is "North American Beer is not very good".
Getting involved in the beer world, there is a divide, the individuals that classify themselves as beer geeks, aficianados, experts, snobs, etc and those that just enjoy sampling, discussing and challenging their taste buds. These two groups make up a small percentage of beer drinker's, albeit the authorities on beer, the market survives on the under Beerducated people that grab a pint of whatever you are serving and proudly pound it back. No need to know what's in it, how it was brewed, or where it comes from. So many times I have friends that will ask me "Roy, what was that beer I tried yesterday?".
I seem to be their walking beer list, that is why we decided to make beer lists simple and based on our new technology, everyone should know what they are drinking. It is these people, we strive to get on the craft beer train and explore the intricacies of gourmet beer. If you are eating out, do you not want to taste good food, of course you do. The same goes for beer, this large percentage wants to taste bud travel to knew beer worlds, but the menu's are confusing and the idea of sticking to what you know only makes us human.
Therefore, we must acknowledge craft beer and guide those into new challenges and understandings of great beer. In Canada, we start with Granville Island, Paddock Wood, Half-Pints, Cannery (4 of my favs) and we promote Rogue, Dogfish Head, New Belgium, Stone, Lagunitas (USA), just to name a few of the many great craft breweries that exist in North America.
Let's Beerducate, one person at a time!!!