Each month Beer Bloggers from around the world converge on one topic. This month Ding’s Beer Blog has the hosting honors and has proposed this topic…
Anyone with any inkling of my online, in-person and blogging presence in the American beer world since 2000, will know that the whole of my beer experience in that time has been colored by, sits against the backdrop of, and forms the awkward juxtaposition to, my English beer heritage and what has been happening the USA in the last few years. Everyone knows that I have been very vocal about this for a very long time, so when it came to thinking about what would be a great ‘Session’ topic, outside of session beer, it seemed like that there could be only one topic; ‘What the hell has America done to beer?‘, AKA, ‘USA versus Old World Beer Culture‘.
This probably won’t be pretty, and you’re probably not gonna like it much, but hey, what’s new?
I didn’t quite know how to approach this topic. Primarily because I don’t see American beer in opposition to any other type of beer. I don’t see the brewers I know, “Doing things” to beer. Is the envelope being expanded and then crushed? Yes. But not in response to the good to great brewers in the rest of the world.
I reiterate that I don’t underestimate the impact that the craft beer scene has unleashed. But I think that the “old World” is in a spot that the U.S. was in a few years back. Stuck in a sea of Bud and Heineken. And I think that Germany, Italy and Belgium as well as England will come roaring back. Why? Because there is a gap of quality. A gap of creativity. And market gaps get filled.
That is why beers from here are so popular and so wildly inventive. There was a yawning gap between the flavorless and what people yearned to taste. Laws needed to be changed. Competition needed to heat up and many other financial and brewing factors had to change. You needed the rabble rousing and the Imperial IPA’s to open up the field. And once it was open, it was OPEN and there was and is nothing that can’t be done. I have had two beers which simulate the spice patterns in Horchata. You look up Mango IPA and get multiple hits.
And you see it in England with BrewDog and with breweries like Kernel. You see it at Baladin in Italy. And you will see that creative spark lift the boat of World Wide beer to levels that you and I cannot imagine.
As long as the options remain open and brewers do not feel constrained to fit into a box then whatever beers are created will further the growth of craft beer.