East coast VS West Coast VS....No coast?

As I sit here rotating between beer from Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing and the far away coast of California’s Anchor Brewing Co, I think back to an oft pondered question: What’s the effect of craft beer reaching new geographical areas; Is it better to continually support local breweries by adhering to some sort of defined radius, perhaps using a favorite local watering hole as the epicenter? How far out can I reasonably push this circle and still maintain its “local” definition? Or is it better to experience the wide variety of high quality beers being crafted all over the world without regard for their “localness”?

Growing up in the great state of Vermont, I always felt the need to purchase milk and produce from farmers down the road over the cheaper national brands. Supporting local brands, farmers, and artists is the status quo and a long-standing tradition in the Green Mountain State. Should beer be held to the same standards? Does the title ‘craft brewery’ carry enough weight to wave a permanent hall pass on the otherwise local nature of the craft brewing industry?

Local breweries rely on local brew enthusiasts to help spread the word and fund their brewing efforts and expansion. Without locals showing their support, your favorite brewery wouldn’t gain any traction on the national scene. Continued local support will always be necessary, but I don’t think you’re doing your local brewer any favors by confining your craft beer consumption to the nearest nano-brewery. We have a huge country bursting with amazing beer and I say spread the love!

One of my favorite pastimes is sampling new beers, no matter where they’re brewed. I even love to try the newest craft gimmick from gargantuan breweries like Anheuser-Busch (who doesn’t love new shapes!). Craft breweries are chock full of inspired brewers and artists with a passion to create beer they want to drink – we should all be so lucky to give them a shot and expand our horizon a little further. I hope “local” breweries all over the world continue to offend the palates of the (un)initiated and the (un)adventurous! Trust me…I’ll come back.

To sample this post, try this coast-to-coast comparison:

Anchor Brewing – California Lager

Long Trail Brewing – Farm House Series IPA pack (Session IPA, American IPA, White IPA, Black Rye IPA)

-Dan