If your taste for beer is getting a bit more sophisticated, then there’s no doubt you’ve been introduced to craft beer. So, what is its difference from regular beer anyway?
In a nutshell, craft creations refer to beer produced by small or independent breweries.
On the other hand, we all know what regular or mass-produced beer is. Regular beers are canned or bottled at corporate macro breweries.
Of course, there are other factors to uncover. So, read on to find out all the ways craft beer and regular beer are distinct concoctions from each other.
Craft Beer vs. Beer: Defining Both Brews
Let’s delve a little deeper. Before diving right into the distinction between craft beer and regular beer, it’s a good idea to quickly review some fundamental concepts to gain a better grasp of the two categories.
The term “craft beer” is pretty new to the realm of beer brewing and consumption. That’s a little odd, considering the fact that the beer-making enterprise has a pretty extensive history.
There is little information available regarding the term’s originator, but it makes sense that it’s called as such.
Here’s how I would define craft beer:
Small or independent breweries typically dominate the craft beer scene.
If you were to ask The US Brewers Association, this is what they would tell you. Breweries have to produce less than 6 million barrels annually in order to be considered “small.”
Although, they would still need notice from the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. You can’t just brew batches out of your garage and officially call it draft beer.
Additionally, a brewery must own at least 75% of the shares in order for it to be “independent.”
In comparison, an establishment is regarded as a non-craft brewery if it controls less than 25% of the company’s stock.
Craft beer has an artisanal or customized flair.
Any “handmade” or personalized brew is another way to define craft beer.
The popularity of this style of beer increased in the 1990s, a time when sales were falling as a result of breweries producing unappealing beers.
Many breweries were more concerned with making money than with the customers’ tasting experiences.
They essentially traded quality for shoddy brews. Customers undoubtedly picked up on the flavor variations in the beer.
Homebrewed craft beers then became more popular as a result.
Craft beer is produced with custom methods and ingredients, with inventiveness driving the process.
When most people hear the term “regular beer,” they most likely picture some popular, weak beers like Coors or Millers.
Some may go one step further and define regular beer as any inexpensive American beer—Budweiser, Busch, Narragansett, etc.
However, just about every country produces beer in large quantities. Beers like Heineken and Corona are “international” beers that we know well.
A Brief History of Craft Beer
Craft brewing has unquestionably found its home in the US, a sizable market that is mainly responsible for Fritz Maytag’s success.
Young Fritz Maytag, who hailed from the Maytag family, purchased a 5% ownership in the Anchor Steam brewery in 1965, just as it was about to close.
He began brewing a variety of previously unheard-of beer varieties in an effort to salvage the business as an investment.
In effect, American beer lovers in the 1960s who were used to mild macro brews started paying attention. The American palate for craft beer had begun to adapt by 1975.
A bill authorizing homebrewing of beer with a strength greater than 0.5% was signed by Jimmy Carter in 1979.
Homebrewers were passionate about the craft, and microbrewery growth exploded until 1997, when the market was overrun with breweries—many of them awful.
Because there was so much subpar beer available in the 90s, brewing as a hobby emerged as a sort of natural reactive movement.
Enthusiasts started making hoppier and boozier beer with all sorts of crazy flavors. The beer scene was booming.
Macro breweries quickly became interested in getting in on the fun. In 1995, craft-inspired microbrews like Michelob Amber Bock and Blue Moon could be found on the shelves.
The craft beer movement is still on the uptrend and shows no signs of slowing down.
Comparing Craft Beer and Regular Beer
When contrasting craft beer with ordinary beer, there are several significant distinctions. The key distinctions between craft and regular beer are listed below:
Is craft beer actually stronger than the stuff you can buy at any grocery store? Yes!
While certain craft beers may contain less alcohol than conventional beer, most craft beers contain more alcohol than standard beer.
I suggest exercising caution when drinking craft beer. Depending on the brand, one craft beer may have the same alcohol content as 2-4 standard beers.
To avoid overindulging, be sure you are aware of the alcohol content of the craft beer you’re chugging down.
Regular beer and craft beer might be significantly different in price throughout a drinking session.
Depending on the type of craft beer you’re drinking and the likelihood that it has a higher alcohol level than standard beer, you might only need to consume half as much.
Sure, craft beer is typically more expensive per bottle than regular beer. However, you may still wind up saving money by going for craft beer.
You might even luck out. Some craft breweries in your area might offer high-quality craft beer for incredibly low prices.
Similar to most wines, different craft beers are produced with specific food in mind.
Craft beer is now being paired with elevated 3-course meals and other meals, precisely like a pricey red or white wine.
Beer has the ability to generate distinctive flavors and subtleties. It has advanced to the point where it can now be paired with particular dishes to enhance the flavor profile. I don’t know if I can say the same thing about a Budweiser.
Craft beer fans will tell you that the mass-produced beer that most people usually drink is “water.”
Craft breweries typically invest a lot more time and effort into developing their beer recipes. That’s what gives their brews distinctive flavors and qualities.
The larger producers of conventional beer are typically thought not to give their products nearly as much attention.
When compared to most conventional beers, craft beers usually offer a novel flavor experience with each sip.
The craft breweries put a lot more time and effort into making these beers, as was already noted, and they produce intriguing products.
There are countless varieties of craft beers. Because each one has a distinctive flavor, you have an incentive to explore various brands and labels.
A Personal Touch
When you look at a craft beer, the label itself frequently contains a wealth of information about the history and philosophy of that particular brew.
The perception that the brewers genuinely care about their craft is one of the key factors in why people opt to drink craft beer.
There are a ton of craft brewers in the US, so there’s a high likelihood that one is close to you.
You can even go to the brewery that creates your favorite craft beer to learn more about how it is made. It would be harder to walk into a large factory and chat up the workers there.
Does Craft Beer Definitively Taste Better Than Regular Beer?
Craft beer is miles away in flavor from regular beer. Any enthusiast for craft beer or home brewing will be happy to tell you that drinking Coors alone just won’t do.
Craft brewers don’t produce as much beer as macro breweries, which produce billions of gallons annually.
You might be amazed at how inventive beers can be if you haven’t visited a nearby artisan brewery yet.
You can get smooth lagers, acidic ales, and stouts with chocolate flavors that will dazzle you with their complexity. Ordinary beers don’t even come close to competing.
Most of the time, icy cold temperatures are the only thing that can save a regular beer. The cold conceals how tasteless mass-produced beers are.
A craft beer, on the other hand, will only be served slightly chilled, allowing your palate to detect the flavors and smells as you sip.
Should You Go For Craft Beer For Health Reasons?
How comparable is craft beer to regular beer and wine in terms of how it affects our health?
Craft beers generally have more calories per serving than typical beers because of the methods and ingredients used in their production.
Although, as I previously noted, you often drink less beer overall when drinking craft beer due to the increased alcohol levels.
This might result in a close or possibly lower calorie intake than when drinking standard beer.
And according to some studies, craft beer is healthier than wine. The heart-healthy qualities of antioxidants, particularly those found in red wine, have been promoted by experts and medical professionals.
However, craft beer may be just as beneficial to health as wine, if not more so.
With the moderate consumption of craft beer, the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes might be reduced.
Beer won’t harm you in terms of general diseases, but wine may be slightly healthier for you if your objective is to reduce weight.
Related Reading: Beer Brewing Steps: What Goes On In A Home Brew – Check Them out Here
When talking about beer styles, everything depends on the quality of the ingredients and the manufacturing process.
Brewers of craft beer prioritize quality and originality. While ordinary beer is relatively flavorless, craft beer is brimming with flavor.
Naturally, this also has an impact on the cost and caloric content of the beers.
While both craft beer and regular beer have their merits, I always advise trying a regional brew. You might just find a hidden gem of a brew that could be your signature drink!