Craft Beer: An Appreciation

There are lots of things to like about craft beer. I know how obvious that is. But every so often we need to spend some time deliberately thinking about the obvious things that go underappreciated because of their obviousness. So indulge me, alright?

Today, let’s just consider the term itself: “craft beer.” It’s wonderful. In two brief words, a universe. And that universe tastes damn good. Craft beer is beer done better. Sure there are bundles of brewers doing things in myriad different ways and producing wildly different examples of the artform. But through it all these inventive souls remain dedicated to one noble and unimpeachable ideal: what they do is a craft.

Sure, they have some skin in the game and want to make a few bucks for their trouble, but ultimately, these operations are founded as a labor of love. The tastes they offer are born as idle daydreams in their hop-crazed minds, and they will stop at nothing to recreate the sensory experiences envisioned in reverie.

One of each please.

There is nothing cold or impassive about this. Craft beer does not mint instant millionaires. Idea begets inspiration begets fevered, frenzied action propelled by the enthusiasm of a series of “This is it!” moments cascading into one another until the final product is ready to enjoy. With any luck, that final product catches on with the masses and sells like mad. But the craft beer ethos dictates that the profit is a benefit (albeit a necessary one), not the goal. The goal is to give the world an expertly shaped flavor that tickles beer-drinkers happy zones like a trillion tiny feathers. If you can do that, the rest will take care of itself.

Drinking a craft beer is like drinking the brain of a brewer and suddenly understanding that you know next to nothing about the world, but you are so blessed to be afforded infinite opportunity to learn more. It is science meets art meets ass-kicking awesomeness. When you find the brew that really does it for you, each sip is a revolution. Every pint is a rebellion against the forces of monotony and tedium that vie for your attention with bloated marketing budgets and sheer ubiquity.

Not all beer is created equal. Your tongue cannot be bought. You demand more. You demand better. So isn’t it obvious? You demand craft.

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