The History Of Craft Beer: A Brew That Pleads To Taste

Informational

Craft Beer neon signage

Craft beer is a term that has been thrown around for decades. It is an alcoholic beverage brewed in a variety of styles that are typically characterized as having a full-body flavor with significant malty taste and often have a very hoppy bitterness.

The history of this beverage dates back to medieval Europe and America, when brewers would use anything they could find in order to make an alcoholic drink - including barley water spiked with honey, fruit juice, herbs, and spices. But what exactly is craft beer?

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Cracking the Craft Beer History

craft beer beside books

Unless you're a beer drinker or connoisseur, you're probably a fan of one of humanity's oldest beverages. 

Malted beer is thought to have been produced by humans in 5000-4001 BC, though artifacts suggest that beer may have been produced even earlier in some parts of the world, particularly Egypt, China, and America.

Modern beer is an integral feature of many cultures around the world, particularly in the United States. While America has one of the best beer histories since the country's founding, the history of craft beer is much more applauded even today.

Egypt 

As far as we can tell, craft beer first appeared more than 5,000 years ago in the grasslands of southern Babylonia, between Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Fertile alluvial soils aided wild grain plants, which the locals obtained for food.

Settled on the Egyptian plains, the Sumerians identified the world's first civilization in Lower Mesopotamia. They began to produce the grains, which they turned into a type of bread known as bappir.

They hailed the goddess Ninkasi, who signifies "lady who fills the mouth," the oldest known recipe known to archaeologists. Ninkasi, the gods' brewer, instructed humankind how to make beer, which they termed kas.

America

Reflecting closely, a significant advance in the history of craft brewing occurred in 1976, with the establishment of the New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, California. Jack McAuliffe has risen prominence for himself in the craft brewery renaissance. 

With partners, Suzy Stern and Jane Zimmerman, Jack McAuliffe, a former sailor looking to replicate the flavorful beers he discovered on his voyage beyond American shores. He traveled extensively and tasted exquisite beers in far-away lands.

He brought a homebrewing kit guide from Glasgow, made an alternative brewing vessel using a trash can, and made a primitive beer that impressed many, even Scottish locals.  

It was during a tour of the Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco when McAuliffe had an epiphany. Guaranteed by Fritz Maytag, the successor who saved Anchor from foreclosure gave the idea for McAuliffe’s artisan expertise. This gave rise to the New Albion Brewing Company.

China

China is among the nation's biggest beer export industries, thanks to popular beer brands such as Snow Beer and Tsingtao Beer. Both of the beers mentioned above are lagers produced by cold craft beer yeasts till it is fermented through the bottom of the tank. They ferment near the bottom of the tank containing the liquid.

Nevertheless, pale ale beer was not the only type of beer to become prevalent since there is one intriguing beer type that was popular in China. Eight thousand years old, through its age, you can see that beer brewing was present in the country well before beer in Western Asia and Europe became well-known.

Scientists discovered that the ancient Chinese have been stirring up beer since 7000 BC, as evidenced by relics found in various parts of China that were once used to craft beer. According to legend, the old Chinese beer was made with grapes, honey, hawthorns, and rice.

Within the first documented dynasty in China, the Xia dynasty, up to the Zhou dynasty, this rice beer, known as the Lao Li, is often used as an offering for the Gods and the dead. However, Lao Li was ultimately surpassed by Huangjiu as perhaps the most renowned alcoholic drink in China during the Han dynasty.

History of Craft Beer Breweries

Ancient wooden pint with beer on dark background

Beer production dates back to Noah's time, Egypt, and the spread of this beverage all over the world, wherein the emergence of breweries has unquestionably proven to be the world's oldest recipe.

This technique is still deemed as a defining moment for anyone who appreciates the emergence of beer.

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Noah’s Provision Included Beer on the Ark 

According to Thomas Sinclair, a professor of Crop Science at North Carolina State University, Noah was a beer trader on the Euphrates River. He most likely sold kegs of beer from his boat in ancient Sumeria.

Biblical scholars agree with Sinclair and believe Noah was a beer trader. God tells Noah to bring "every kind of food that is eaten" onto the ark, which the Bible confirms, including meat and grain products.

Beer Recipes Discovered (4300 B.C.)

The Babylonians brewed beer in large quantities, with about 20 different kinds. Beer was so valuable that it was sometimes used to pay workers as part of their daily salaries.

Beer as Egyptian Medication (1600 B.C.)

To the ancient Egyptians, beer was known as "Hqt" ("heqet" or "heket"), but it was also known as "tnmw" ("tenemu"). There has been some indication that ancient Egyptian beer was not particularly intoxicating as a food staple but is somewhat nutritional, heavy, and sweet.

Nevertheless, beer can be as intoxicating as Egyptian wine, as attendees in the Bast, Sekhmet, and Hathor festivals would get very drunk as an aspect of their devotion to these goddesses.

One Egyptian brewery myth is when Osiris taught ancient Egyptians the art of brewing beer. Still, brewing beer was traditionally not solely a female activity by which women could earn a little extra money for themselves rather than their families.

Beer Introduced by Romans (55 B.C.)

The Romans made "cerevisia" (from Ceres, the goddess of agriculture & vis meaning strength in Latin). After traversing the Rubicon, a general and statesman named Julius Caesar usually served his troops beer, kicking off the Roman Civil War.

Chinese Brewed Beer - "Kiu" (23 B.C.)

China's people brewed with millet. Beer consumption played a role in the significance of Chinese rituals.

Breweries Throughout Renaissance History

From the 1500s to the 1700s, historical figures such as Queen Elizabeth I of England founded hundreds of breweries, who guzzled robust ale for breakfast. In addition, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson each had their own private brewhouses.

Modern History

Beer became so popular in many states in America that women, such as Elise Miller John, led Miller Brewing as the first and only woman to lead a major brewing company for the past eight years. 

Beer Brewery brand progress has been established because it produces 20% of the world's beer volume (the largest in the world).

Different types of Craft Beer

  • American Pale Ale 

two glasses of American Pale Ale

The American pale ale has a medium body, a low to medium caramel flavor, and a toasted maltiness. Pale ale is best enjoyed in food-friendly styles since it syncs well with lighter fare like salads and chicken and also stands up to a bowl of chili.

  • Kolsch Blonde

Blonde Ale in wine glass

The subdued maltiness and unobtrusive hoppiness classify this German-style classic. This beer's crisp yet flavorful taste is a hybrid of ale and lager styles that can be enjoyed by any beer lover and is ideal for a day of park frolicking.

  • Saison and Farmhouse

Saison and Farmhouse beside the beer bottle

A Saison beer, also known as a Farmhouse Ale, originated in Wallonia, a small town in the French-speaking region of Belgium. It was originally developed as a cool drink for farmers during the hot summers.

Saison and Farmhouse Ales are richer than other Belgian Pale Ales due to high carbonation and spicy fruit elements. The color of this brew style can range from pale straw to darker golden-amber.

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  • Belgian Pale Ale

A glass of Belgian Ale

The Belgian-style pale ale varies in color from gold to copper and can have caramel or toasted malt varieties. These beers were inspired by British pale ales and have minimal but notable hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma.

  • Porter and Stouts

Porter and Stout Beer on the Table

Porters make use of dark malted barley. Unmalted roasted barley or black malt is used in stouts.

Porters are sweeter, with less burnt or roast flavor and more chocolate, caramel, and toasted malt character. While stouts have more variation than porters and impart an espresso, roast, and almost burnt flavor and aroma.

  • Hefeweizen

A glass of Hefeweizen

Hefeweizen, an amber-colored beer made with at least 50% malted wheat. The yeast contributes significantly to the aroma and flavor of a weissbier, which is fruity (banana) and phenolic (clove).

The concentration of these wildly different flavor qualities varies according to the brewer; however, the two are usually balanced. Hefeweizen typically has a low to moderate alcohol content which is the most popular of the German weissbier varieties.

  • Brown Ale

Brown Ale in a wine glass beside chips

For American brown ale, roasted malt, caramel-like and chocolate-like flavors and aromas must be of moderate intensity for both flavor and aroma. American-style brown ales have a light to medium hop taste and aroma, as well as a moderate to high hop bitterness.

This style's origins can be traced back to craft brewers in the United States who were influenced by English-style brown ales and stouts. It has a flavor between those two British styles and is more bitter than both.

  • Amber (Red) Ale

Amber Red Ale in a wine glass

Amber or red ales have a dark color that ranges from mahogany to rosy gold. It has a higher malt emphasis on caramel and other malt flavors, which is balanced by American hop varieties that often impart citrusy characteristics.

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Famous Breweries Known for Their Craft Beer

  • Founders Brewing Co.

Founders Brewing Co. Beers

Image by Founders Brewing Facebook Page

Pioneers, a Michigan-based brewing company, makes a variety of outstanding IPAs (India Pale Ales) with exquisite flavor profiles. Its beers aspire to push the limits of flavor combinations, and its Azacca IPA is an illustration of that.

This IPA has robust tropical fruit flavors, a jaded pine aroma, and a lustrous texture. That's a good beer with malty sweetness, barley malt notes, and orange and lime to guarantee its mix.

  • Lagunitas

Lagunitas

Image by Lagunitas Facebook Page

One of Lagunitas' strongest beers is Maximus, which has a potent hop flavor and a fragrance of pineapple, mango, and brown sugar. It has an 8.2% ABV and a deep golden flavor: spicy, hoppy, malty, and citrusy.

  • West Kill Brewing

West Kill Brewing Beers

Image by West Kill Brewing Facebook Page

West Kill Brewing in New York features a wide range of high-quality beers for an affordable price. Because of the sensitive nature of the brewery, care and compassion are crucial parts of the production process, and each beer is slightly distinctive.

To guarantee that each and every element of the beer is local and fresh, the brewery integrates honey cultivated from its hives, cherries picked out of its orchard, crawling thyme plucked from its fields, and yeast cultured in the Spruceton Valley.

  • Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams

Image by Samuel Adams Facebook Page

The brand's "Utopia" is a robust American ale with a 28% ABV, making it one of the most unique and most costly beers on the market.

Utopia is a limited-edition beer aged up to 16 years after being brewed in limited quantities. It's a beer brewed to be slurped, with flavor notes of spiced pear and peach, brandy doused in cognac, and subtle bourbon flavors with touches of oak and vanilla.

  • Vermont Brewery

The brewery has released a variety of enjoyable beers over the years, including IPAs, fruit beers, bitters, and more. Every relaunch is made with a unique mix of local, national, and international ingredients.

Vienna Lager, an intermediate Austrian-style amber lager, is its best beer. It's the center of attention at Vermont Brewery, with a 4.9% ABV. It is very well for appealing to people and is a pleasant, convenient beer.

  • Foam Brewers

Foam Brewers

Image by Foam Brewers Facebook Page

"Try the Deep City," a pale ale sold in a one-liter bottle with a prominent flavor to match its large bottle size, was released by Foam Brewers.

It is distinguished by its muddled burnt reddish-orange and diverse fruity aroma, as well as this is a light to the medium ale with orange and lime flavors, pine, and an indication of tropical fruit.

  • Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Brewery beers

Image by Bell's Brewery Facebook Page

Bell's homebrew shop in 1983, before such popularity necessitated a much-welcomed advancement. First, before craft breweries frenzy decided to take over, it was among the first impartial craft brew companies to expand all across the United States.

Bell's Two Hearted Ale is a 7% ABV double IPA. Recognized for its strenuous hop aroma and malt stability, as well as Bell's house yeast's signature fruity flavors. It's a bitter beer with citrus and pine notes that's remarkably fresh and easy to drink.

  • Marz Community Brewing Co. 

Marz Community Brewing Co.

Image by Marz Community Brewing Co. Facebook Page

Marz is a brewery committed to making a difference in the worlds of art, heritage, food, and beer. Its brewing company combines all four components to produce a variety of experimental beers.

It creates its products by analyzing the current local beer industry and introducing elements such as kombucha, yerba, shrub sodas, and house-made seltzers. 

To genuinely discover the world of beer, try its Lavender Lemon Gose, a German wheat beer with lavender, lemon, and butterfly pea flower flavors, with a 5.4% ABV as well as delicate fruity and floral notes.

Conclusion

Looking at the beer you're drinking, it is clear that it made progress in terms of its craft and the people who support it. The discovery of a method for producing sugar and fermenting it into alcohol was a defining moment in ancient human civilization.

When modern brewing began and for such a plethora of craft brew brand products emerging today, looking back in time is just as important as looking forward.

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  • Aubrey on

    This article is very informative. I’d like to share it with others! :)


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