May 14-20 is a wonderful week on the food calendar. While not exactly food, beer is made from grains which are food. So in honor of American Craft Beer Week 2018 I am going to share a bit of Craft Beer History.
Let’s be honest, I am going to share my history with American Craft Beer. This is neither a confession nor an admonishment of any parenting practices that occurred in the 1970’s or 80’s. I like to think of this history as an homage to one of the pioneers of beer excellence and understanding; my father.
Thinking back over my childhood I cannot remember a time when my father did not drink beer. In fact, my father did more than drink beer he had an appreciation for it. He enjoyed beer like some men enjoy Scotch. The flavors and nuances that differentiated one beer from another fascinated him.
As a very small child I can remember being directed to gather dandelions from our yard. Not just the beautiful yellow blossoms, but the roots, too. My father was going to make Dandelion Beer. Being quite young I do not remember if this was successful or not. Most of my memory surrounding the Dandelion Beer was the gathering of the dandelions.
My father’s desire to homebrew beer did not stop there, nor did his desire to try new beers and beers from various regions of the world. In fact the very first beer tasting that I had ever heard of or been to was organized by my father.
His job as a food editor of the local newspaper gave him access to information and products that the majority of Kansans did not have. Remember, these were the days before the internet. Information and growth were both slow here.
I grew up tasting the beers that my father brought home to try. Anchor Brewing and Sierra Nevada were two breweries that really piqued his interest. Both are California breweries. He special ordered some Anchor Steam, which was first brewed in the late 1800’s, so he could try it. Another early Anchor Brewing Co beer was Anchor Porter. As I understand it, this was the first American porter brewed post-prohibition in 1972.
Another beer based out of Cincinnati, Christian Moerlein came onto his radar. He and my mother made a special trip to Cincinnati to bring some back.
These three beers were all forbearers to today’s American Craft Beer movement. My father got in on the bottom floor of this movement. As unconventional as that was, I got to come along for the ride.
With the rise of microbrews in the 1980’s the American Craft Beer evolution took off. The evolution turned into somewhat of a revolution. Denver, Colorado was a leader in the microbrewery explosion. The state of Colorado has close to 300 breweries today.
Every state has craft breweries and brewpubs now. Even Kansas seems to be catching on to the American Craft Beer movement. There are a growing number of breweries located in my slow-to-catch-on state!
Whether you are a fan of Lagers, Porters, Stouts, or IPA’s this is a great week to imbibe. If you’re not sure what to try or where to get a great Craft Beer there are many websites and magazines dedicated to rating and discerning what is best.
As for me, I enjoy trying new craft beers for the flavors and the nuances. They aren’t all enjoyable beers. There are some that outshine others. That’s why I have to try them. With that, some breweries don’t last. However, Anchor is just as good today as always.
Do you have a favorite American Craft Beer of brewery? I would love to try your favorite!
Celebrate the greatness of American Craft Beer Week and enjoy a cold pint! It’s part of our history and heritage.