We’re back to work today and we wanted to take a few minutes to share some of the beer-related things we’re thankful for this year.
Abundance. The U.S. brewery count is currently sitting pretty at 2,126 with another 1,252 breweries in planning. In the past year alone, 350 new breweries opened their doors. According to the Brewers Association, we have more breweries operating today than the country has seen since 1887. Sure, some breweries are certainly better than others but options are never a bad thing.
Availability. When I first got into beer I had to go to specialty stores to find what I wanted. Today I can pick up a growler of something crazy at the gas station or get almost anything I could ever want at the grocery store. More bars and restaurants offer craft beers these days and we’re starting to see it offered at sports venues, events, and just about everywhere.
Community. From clubs and events to apps for your phone and forums on the web, there are more ways than ever to connect with other people who love beer. If you’ve ever tried to talk beer with someone who doesn’t care about beer, you already know how valuable this is.
Positive Economic Impact. All of the new and expanding breweries need equipment, installers, grains, yeast, distributor reps, line cleaners, and staff – also, they pay taxes. All of the beer drinkers need glassware, growlers, books, and in some cases home brewing equipment. Occasionally they take entire vacations based on their love for beer. There have been plenty of new jobs created (we’ve more than doubled in size since I started at KegWorks five years ago) and the overall economic impact is all good (and something to be thankful for).
More Food Pairings. In my humble opinion beer is far more food friendly than wine, yet wines have always been more welcome on the dinner table. Until now.
The flavor possibilities are endless when it comes to beer. While wine is more or less limited to one ingredient (grapes), beer has grains for sweetness, hops for bitterness, yeast for that bread-like flavor, and can also include specialty ingredients like chocolate, fruit, nuts, vegetables, or a million other things. A couple of months ago I tried a beer brewed with bull testicles.
There are more certified Cicerones than ever (think beer sommeliers), more menus designed around beer, more beer incorporated into dishes, and more opportunities to pair your meals. As an aspiring foodie, I am extra thankful for this one.
I’m also thankful for my fulfilling job that allows me to write about beer and some very special beer-related experiences I’ve had this year (my trip to Denver/GABF and my first sip of Westy 12, just to name a couple).
I’m sure you all have much to be thankful for as well. Feel free to share with us in the comments.