The age-old debate about what is craft beer and why does it hold such a high status in the world of beer-loving blokes?
For those who are just discovering this world of beer crafting, or anyone who has a craft beer enthusiast and wants to understand them better, here’s a bit of a beginners guide.
What Is Craft Beer?
Craft beer is simply any beer made by an independently-owned brewery. The beers are produced on a smaller scale, and often not with a set standard recipe. Craft beers are similar to anything crafted – they taste better, look better, and are often held to a higher standard than commercial counterparts.
A lot of small independent brewers start making their own beer on a small budget. They get to experiment with different kinds of brewing styles to make their own craft beer and continue honing on their craft with each batch.
Where is This Mystical Brew Crafted?
Yes, the rumours are true. You can brew your own beer at home. But this doesn’t automatically make you a craft brewer. (Aside from the fact that you need a liquor licence to produce and distribute that beer).
Craft beer is made in smaller, more controlled breweries. They have all the same equipment as a larger brewery like Newlands Brewery, but fewer people and much smaller kegs.
What is a Craft Brewery
Craft breweries are not entirely consistent but are relatively small. They are independently owned breweries that apply traditional brewing methods to emphasize the flavour and quality of their beers.
Usually, a craft brewery is a small independent brewery that keeps to traditional standards. But with the craft beer scene blowing up in SA, craft breweries have ranked up in the world as bigger than microbreweries (explained below).
What is a Microbrewery
There is not really much of a gap between craft breweries and microbreweries in the quantity of beer made. Usually, a microbrewery will make small amounts of beer and have an onsite beer garden where one can taste their selection on nectar brewed. Much like Red Bridge Brewery.
A microbrewery is not necessarily independently owned – and so not every microbrewery produces actual craft beer. Although there is a lot of speculation around the term microbrewery as to the size of the premises, a microbrewery is a brewery that makes less beer than a commercial brewery.
What is considered a Craft Beer?
We mentioned before what is craft beer but there is still a very small fine line on what we considered craft beer.
Craft beer is determined by the way it is brewed.
Each brewery makes its beer differently and there is no exact same type of beer. For example, Brewery A beer will taste different to Brewery B beer.
What also is considered a craft beer is the flavors. A regular beer you taste has a “beer-like” taste and there is no exotic flavor to it where craft beers will have a hint of nutmeg or berry taste with a fruit full smell.
So what is considered a craft beer? Well, it’s the hard work that is put into mixing different types of grain and hops to get exotic flavours.
What Is The Difference Between Craft And Regular Beer?
The battle has begun. What is the difference between craft and regular beer? Get your mugs out and let’s talk about it.
Regular beer is mass-produced in millions of litres and you can pretty much say it tastes the same from point A to point B. It has an overall standard taste and smell and could be quite heavy for the first-time beer drinker.
Craft beer is where it gets a little different. It is made by a variety of brewers and tastes are completely different from beer to beer. It’s not produced in millions of litres and is controlled more carefully. You’ll find different ranges of light or heavy beers and can be easier for the first time beer drinker.
You have your regular beer lovers and your craft beer lovers and both have pros and cons but it’s down to the drinker at the end of the day on what they prefer.
Why Is Craft Beer Better?
Mass-market beer has been produced for years – a lot longer than craft beers have been around. So is craft beer really better?
It doesn’t take an experienced palate to taste the difference between a commercial lager and a craft one. Most craft beer has a richer and more distinct taste which has come through the flavours of the ingredients used.
Coming across craft beer you will see the alcohol content is higher than your mass-produced beer so if you want to have a lower-cost drinking session, craft beer is the way to go. Plus we know the brewers have put their heart and soul into it.
Even if you can’t tell the difference between a commercial beer and an independent brew, there is an opportunity to support an entrepreneur with his business as a microbrewery.
Take a look at some of the best breweries in the Western Cape.