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How craft beer has made us smarter

Craft beer is slowly taking a strong hold on the world and below are the top reasons why you are now smarter for banishing fizzy yellow beer from your life.

Big Beer thinks you are dumb
A television advertisement for an apple “ale” shows a man getting hit in the head with a piece of fruit, knocking him out. Coming out of a daze the man proceeds to order a beer. A craft beer drinker would NEVER succumb to such a treatment. Unfortunately for the vast majority of beer drinkers in this country, the Big Beer companies thinks we are all idiots.

Big Beer thinks we need blue mountain graphics on our beer labels that tell us if our beer is of acceptable temperature to drink, common sense (or touch) be damned. Big Beer wants us to think drinking beer is about dancing on a cruise ship with hundreds of people we don’t know and not about enlightened conversation with a group of close friends (or new ones). Big Beer wants you to think adding a wedge of fruit to your beer is acceptable and so is drinking out of a dirty bottle. Big Beer wants you to think more about the temperature of the beer than the taste, and how quickly the liquid comes out of the technologically advanced shape of the container. Truth is, the tongue cannot taste certain flavors if something is below a certain temperature, thus the true quality of the beer can be and obviously is masked.

Thankfully as a craft beer drinker, you have made the decision to seek out quality, innovation and taste and make the millions of dollars Big Beer spends on advertising and research just a waste of money. Soon, our beer dreams will come true and Sierra Nevada will have a commercial on during the Super Bowl and taste buds around the world will be awakened.

Sciency stuff
Ask a friend, your neighbor or your parents what Humulus lupulus means and you’re likely to receive a blank stare. But ask any beer geek and they will probably tell you it’s the genus name for hops. When us beer geeks heard the name then learned the plant was closely related to the cannabis family, we dug deeper and discovered other cool facts about the plant, such as their medicinal and preservative qualities.

As beer geeks, words like mash tun, wort and fermentation now just roll off the tongue. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Brettanomyces bruxellensis sound more like words from a poem recited by Ninkasi herself than the difficult to pronounce scientific words they are. ABV and SRM are wondrous things to try to explain to the uninitiated.

As the world’s third most popular beverage, beer has a lineage that spans centuries. Beer has been used to create civilizations, end wars and even be a form of currency. Sure the recipes and styles have changed over the years, but no other beverage has had a huger impact on culture and world history than beer.

Think the names of some of your favorite craft beers just appeared out of nowhere? North Coast Old Rasputin Russian imperial stout was produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia's Catherine the Great. Not just the name of an overrated IPA, Pliny the Elder was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire. Even the macrobrews of today have roots in American settlements (Pabst, Adolphus Busch, Coors) when their German ancestors landed here. The story of beer and American agriculture, technology and innovation is tied together tightly.

They brewed what?
Craft beer style guidelines are continually being blurred by creative and innovative breweries around the world. Gone are the days of the 6% ABV IPA, given way to the double and even triple IPA hop bombs of today. But have you seen some of the ingredients brewers are using today? Sierra Nevada has used plums, mandarin oranges and peppercorn in their Ovila series. New Belgium has used pluots and yuzu juice in their brews recently (yes, you’ll want to look both of those ingredients up). Grains of paradise, kaffir limes, chipotle and Anaheim chiles, spices…. the lineup of ingredients of craft beers these days looks like an episode of Top Chef. Innovation and novelty are some of the reasons we got into craft beer, and we’re not about to turn back now.

Fish species
Thanks to Ballast Point next time I find myself on a fishing expedition and pull a fish out of the sea I am likely to be able to tell what kind it is. From Sculpin to Black Marlin, Ballast Point through naming and amazing artwork have combined a love of brewing and the deep blue sea while producing award winning craft beers for 18 years. The branding and artwork are top notch and the nautical and water themes go great with San Diego’s position right on the Pacific Coast.

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