Wendell Berry has said that eating is an agricultural act, but what about drinking beer? A thirst for fermented beverages may have inspired the world’s first farmers to plant crops some 13,000 years ago, yet today beer is rarely part of the larger conversation about where our food comes from. Read more
A few months ago my wife gave me a home brewing kit. Home brewing is a fun activity and something I’ve done with greater (and lesser) success over the years. While I do enjoy it, I also drink more beer than I brew, so I tend to sample my share of beers made by others.
And there’s a lot of different beer being brewed, as other bloggers have explained (here and here). Domestically-produced American beers, called craft beer or microbrews, have started a revolution in terms of quality, variety and flavor. Art, science and the marketplace have combined to make better beers blissfully commonplace on store shelves around the country. And the proof is showing up in bottom lines—in spite of the overall shrinking of the beer market, the craft beer segment has thrived. What’s more, this better beer movement challenges decades of perception (and reality) of the lowly American beer. Read more
Some consumers may be surprised to hear that the organic beer they have been drinking isn’t necessarily made with organic hops. While not the major ingredient of the four components of beer—along with malt, yeast and water—hops are nonetheless crucial in creating it. By placing hops on the National List of “Allowed and Prohibited Substances” in 2007, the USDA approved the use of conventional hops in beer labeled organic, provided that the producer can prove that the organic version is unavailable. But this allowance is about to change. Beginning in 2013, all beer labeled organic must be made with organic hops. Read more