American Craft Brewing – A tip of the hat to our pioneers

I bet you think you know something about craft beer. I bet you’ve tried a million different IPA’s, porters, kolsches, and saisons. You’ve been to at least one craft brewery in each state in the eastern or western half of the United States and you’ve got plenty of experience talking about these beers. Your fridge is full of imperial scotch ales and that really good smoked geuze from that esoteric brewery in your favorite little town a few hours from your house that you only go to after visiting a certain friend who lives near there.

Right? Am I talking about you?

If I am…then great. Keep up the good work. You’re a true patriot and a brew enthusiast we can all be proud of.

But if I’m not, I might be able to tell you something you didn’t know about craft brewing and the great breweries that have gotten us to this point. As I’ve said before, I do not believe we’re experiencing a “renaissance” in craft brewing, nor are we in the middle of a marketing bubble about to collapse. Our love for this great beverage has been steadfast for the last 120 years, and it might have gone into hibernation for…ummm…50 years in the mid 20th century, but it never faded from our collective consciousness.

This post is the introduction on a larger series on the first great craft brewers that re-introduced us to the wonderful community of craft. A spotlight on established breweries who haven’t stopped making a great product and have inspired thousands of brewers to step forth into the light.

The first breweries didn’t get the benefit of a wealth of suppliers, advanced equipment custom built to make beer, or cheap internet marketing via social media. They made their own mash tuns, bottled their beer when no one would help them, and peddled it the old-fashioned way, one customer at a time. Admirable work. We’re talking about our friends in the modern era of craft brewing over at Anchor brewing, and Sierra Nevada, and Sam Adams, and Brooklyn Brewery. They made the mistakes so we don’t have to, and they have a truly interesting story to tell. In the coming weeks, The Brew Enthusiast will be doing a small expose on these guys, and hopefully show you why we love what they’ve done and how they did it. Keep your eyes peeled.



Chris McClellan