American Beer Month 2005
Breweries - whether they were small regionals, large regionals or wannabe nationals - that tried to compete based not on the beer in the bottle but on price, efficient distribution and marketing during the second half of the 20th century were steamrolled by the Big Three. Now we have a new set of big little guys. Who are these not so micros?
American homebrewers are just plain different. Different from homebrewers in other countries. Different from amateur winemakers. Different, in fact, from other hobbyists. For instance, the most enthusiastic band of model railroaders could never change the U.S. railway system like homebrewers changed the face of beer in the United States.
Women were the first brewers, and today they often are more willing than men to explore new tasting territory. We've got weekly classes, all conducted by women, about beer appreciation.
- Lisa Morrison leads a tutored tasting.
- Cornelia Corey answers questions.
- Lucy Saunders on grilling with beer.
- Daria Labinsky leads a roundtable.
New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colo., is one of the fastest growing breweries in the country, but hasn't lost track of its beer roots.
In parts of the United States, people pay a hefty price to try cheeses and beer imported from Belgium in organized tastings. In Wisconsin, you can enjoy local pairings at your kitchen tables.
As droves of immigrants landed on American shores in the 19th century, beermaking entered a new era. Without question, the age of the "Beer Barons" had arrived.
Not long ago beer drinkers from outside North America generally made fun of what was brewed here, and rightfully so. Those who've recently sampled American products have kinder words these days.
Even in Oklahoma, where the history of legal alcohol sales is pretty short, they've got a romantic beer story.
American Beer Month I started in grand style in the friendly mountain town of Salida, Colo., as the Colorado Brewers Guild hosted a delightful festival.
American beers successfully defended their home turf in a series of "Liquid Lunches" and other tasting events during July 2000.
In Yakima Valley, Washington, many in the hops industry are the sons or grandsons of men who worked in hops.
Mark Matheson splits his time between brewing at Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. in Rio Rancho, N.M., and making wine for Santa Fe Vineyards.
Randy Mosher's designs for beer packaging may conjure up images of simpler days, but there's nothing simple about them.
Chilton, Wis., has one brewpub, one malt house and one stoplight.
The brewpub has two employees.
When Earle Johnson took control at Quenchers Saloon in Chicago 20-plus years ago Hamm's Dark was an exotic beer to find on tap.
In July 2000, several beer experts led conducted tastings for Real Beer. The beers they wrote about are still out there waiting for you to try them.
Scott Birdwell: American ambers and pale ales
Ray Daniels: American porters
Lew Bryson: Hey Now, Try Some Goot Pennsylvania Dutch Bier
Mitch Steele: New England IPAs
Stephen Beaumont: American versions of Belgian styles
Todd Ashman: Beers that inspired him to brew