Last updated: October 25, 2021

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Beer is one of the world's most popular alcoholic beverages. It is a universally popular refreshment because of its distinctive wheat and barley flavour, refreshing properties and affordable price. But have you tried craft beer?

This concept has become particularly relevant in recent times, as the craft industry has become an attraction whose value proposition focuses on the unique designs and ingredients of each place or brand.

Trying a craft beer is synonymous with experiencing a unique and unrepeatable work and taste. In this article you will discover the manual and deindustrialised side of one of the most popular soft drinks.

We will also give you all the information you need to choose the ideal craft beer to delight your palate. Remember that this product is only suitable for adults and should be consumed in moderation.




Summary

  • Craft beer is a beverage brewed with organic ingredients and following procedures that involve human action rather than mechanical intervention. A bottle of craft beer can contain the history and culinary tradition of an entire country or region.
  • Both craft and commercial beers can be divided into two main variations: lager and ale. The primary difference lies in the type of fermentation, as both have, in turn, a wide number of styles. Another factor to consider can be found in nationality.
  • The production of craft beer has increased considerably in recent years, as it has become an attractive drink for the public. In order not to get lost among the wide range on offer, we recommend that you take into account factors such as ingredients, tone, origin, alcohol content and place of consumption.

The best craft beer: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about craft beer

More than a drink, craft beer is a culinary experience that will allow you to get to know and understand some aspects of the culture and tradition of certain places. To make sure you don't miss any details, here's a little guide to what you need to know about this type of product.

A toast to all the great experiences accompanied by a cold mug of craft beer! (Photo: Dolgachov/ 123rf.com)

What is craft beer and what are its advantages?

Craft beer is a drink prepared according to a particular recipe and whose production and distribution is limited, as opposed to industrial beer. It can be a family, local or regional preparation that offers variations to conventional products.

The main virtue of this type of beverage is the personalisation and creativity at the time of brewing. Craft beer, by following traditional production principles, becomes a testimony to the habits and customs of certain places or groups of people.

Unfortunately, the enjoyment of these products implies a more comfortable investment, as prices tend to be higher due to the meticulous production process and concentrated distribution in specific niches. In addition, the flavours may not be to everyone's taste.

Advantages
  • Production is organic
  • Use particular recipes
  • Wide variety of ingredients and flavours
  • Creative packaging
  • Low alcohol content
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than commercial beer
  • Not as readily available
  • Flavours may not be to everyone's taste
  • Can be distributed exclusively

Craft lager or ale - what should you look out for?

This categorisation is present in both commercial and craft beer, as it refers to the type of yeast used to give consistency to the beverage. If you're not clear on how this ingredient works, here are the main differences so you can choose the craft beer that's right for you.

Lager. These are the classic light beers with a lower alcohol content than other presentations, as the yeast acts at the bottom of the fermenter and they are brewed with low levels of hops. They should be brewed in cold seasons to favour the fermentation process.

Ale. Unlike the previous one, in this type of beer the fermentation process is carried out at the top of the fermenter. This allows it to be brewed at less extreme temperatures than a lager, using more hops and increasing its alcohol content. In three words: the dark chela.

Lager Ale
Hue Clear Dark
Fermentation Low High
Temperature Very low Low, medium
Alcohol content Minor Major

Craft beer is ideal for tastings. Accompany it with a good snack. (Photo: Dolgachov/ 123rf.com)

Purchasing criteria

Drinking alcoholic beverages is an activity historically associated with tasting and formal conviviality. A bottle of alcohol can contain hundreds of years of tradition of a country or region. To make the most of every drop of craft beer, consider the following elements:

Ingredients

As mentioned, craft beer brewing adheres to a myriad of recipes that incorporate ingredients characteristic of the food culture of the place of origin. Some are more exotic than others, but you should always keep the flavour differentiator in mind to get the most out of your experience.

Wheat. One of the ingredients globally associated with German traditions is wheat. A craft beer using this grain will give the drinker a feeling of unparalleled freshness, as well as some bready flavour sensations. It has a pale tone and is recommended as a starting point for tastings.

Malta Pale Ale. Being the basis of the beers that bear its name, this grain is characterised by its little taste or smell, as its contribution lies in the fermentable sugars that give the light beer a distinctive sweetness. It is the most common of the malts, being the favourite of millions of consumers.

Seasonal. Many craft and commercial beers become seasonal when their ingredients allow for themed releases. For example, some brands use apples at Christmas time because of high cider production. The same goes for items such as chocolate or pumpkin.

Craft beer is a beverage brewed with organic ingredients and following procedures that involve human action rather than mechanical intervention. (Source: Nitr/ 123rf.com)

Hue

Colours are distinctive to beer. The toasted yellowish hue presents a wide variety of shades that the greatest experts can easily recognise. Of the different existing presentations, here we will tell you about three of the most popular ones so that you can distinguish their composition.

Pale ale. We mentioned earlier that ale-type fermented beers are usually darker than lagers. However, there are nuances in the hue that give away its ingredients. This variety, known as "pale" or "blonde", is of English origin and is distinguished by hints of caramel, walnut and spice.

Pilsener. One of the lightest beers in existence, as its tone is much closer to yellow than to brown. Its alcohol content is around 5%, which is an intermediate measure. It is the most popular beer in Mexico due to its freshness and smooth style. The hop aroma is very characteristic.

Bock. Another variant of the lager style fermentation, this beer is one of the darkest in existence. Having a variety of tones ranging from dark brown to black, it contains a higher alcohol content than Pilsener. It is considered a pure beer, as the malt is appreciated without the intrusion of other ingredients. Very popular in Germany.

Origin

Beer is considered a centuries-old traditional drink in many countries. Not surprisingly, there are significant variations between regions within a nation. It is important to know the place of origin of the craft beer consumed in order to understand the cultural stamp that is imbued in its taste.

Germany. The Germanic brewing tradition offers a wide range of varieties to suit all tastes. One of the most popular is Pilsener, which is blonde in colour and low in alcohol. In contrast, Altbier beer is distinguished by its high bitterness and emerging yeast foams.

UK. One of the most popular variations in Britain is found in Irish ale, which is characterised by its reddish hue due to the fruity content of its recipe. This variation is considered exotic, as it is scarce in the face of high production of porter and stout, both of which are dark beers.

Alcohol content

The alcohol content of beer is a fact that many people are unaware of, but can be obtained very easily. By official regulation, alcoholic beverages must clearly state their alcohol levels to consumers. Be aware of this factor so that you do not exceed your consumption and damage your health.

Non-alcoholic. You might think that a non-alcoholic beer takes all the fun out of it. The truth is that it is a good alternative for markets that prefer minimal or no alcohol consumption. These chelas are slightly sweeter, as they use other fermentation methods that reduce ethylation.

Between 4º and 7º. We could talk about the standard measure of alcohol in craft beer. Lager, Pilsner Lager, Weissbier and Porter are some variations that do not generate such strong ethyl concentrations, so it can be enjoyed without fear of immediate intoxicating repercussions.

Between 7º and 12º. Most beers, both craft and commercial, do not exceed 12º alcohol, but some places have been recorded as offering variations up to 68º! Barleywine, Dubbel and Stout are styles that exceed the average alcohol content. Always remember to consume in moderation and responsibly.

Place of consumption

drinking craft beer is much more than just drinking a soft drink

As we have reiterated up to this point, drinking craft beer is much more than just drinking a soft drink: it is an experience that integrates aspects of context and complementarity. Pay attention to the details of where you try your next craft beer.

Tourist consumption. Tastings are very common in Mexico's Magical Towns and other tourist places with a wide gastronomic offer. Some places have their own flagship beer, so a good jar is a must on your next holiday.

Restaurant or bar. It is becoming increasingly common for restaurants and bars to offer at least one type of craft beer. In the case of specialised establishments, the offer is increasing. Although prices may increase depending on the venue, it is always a good day to try the "house beer".

Themed festival. Oktoberfest is Germany's biggest festival, which becomes a beer festival that travels the world every year. In many places there are themed fairs that honour the most popular alcoholic beverage on the planet. These are perfect settings for sampling any variety of products. (Featured image source: Dolgachov/ 123rf.com)

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