Monday, February 23, 2009

Is There A Craft Beer Culture?

Some day when I'm feeling more verbose and intellectual, I want to write about the culture of craft beer. I'm a believer that there are certain tenets, underpinnings, commonalities, in the craft beer lifestyle.

Is "lifestyle" the same as "culture"? Where does "community" fit into all of this? Is there a craft beer lifestyle within the community such that it comprises a culture?

I wish I were a sociologist. I could evaluate all of the craft beer drinkers out there. But even there, would you need separate genus within the species of craft beer drinkers? Industry, homebrewers, everyone else? Or all they one and the same? Or, instead organization by activity, we could organize by personal preferences: imperialistas, the reinheitsgebot nazis, sessionarians, and the caskdorks. We could organize by status: low-income, mid-income, high-income; or, thought of a little differently, by price: low-price, high-price, mid-price. Heck, we could organize by website: BeerAdvocate or RateBeer? Or, maybe there's commonality amongst package sizes: 4/6-packs, 22/750, cans, growlers.

Which raises another interesting point. Where do brewpubs fall? There are folks out there that are completely loyal to a brewpub, or even brewpubs in general, but could care less about craft beer at home. Are brewpubs part of the craft beer lifestyle/culture? Is it an inclusive sub-culture?

I only ask because I spent all day brewing my first all-grain batch of homebrew (a Dortmunder Export that ended up with a way lower OG than expected, we'll see how it ferments out - I was planning on 5.5% ABV, but it's looking more like 4.5-4.75% or so, which is still fine). During the course of brewing, I discovered some bottles lying around: Stevens Point Original, a City Golden Leaf Wheat Ale, a New Glarus Alt, and a New Glarus Bohemian Lager. And, I realized that this really runs the gamut from cheap "craft" (the City) to mid-level (Point) to high-end (the NG). And, I got to wondering whether other craft beer folks out there run this gamut or whether we tend to compartmentalize more? I find when I'm at home, I tend to the more "high end" but when I'm out at a bar, I may go for lower or mid-range stuff.

Just spent the day wonderin' and thought I'd share.

1 comment:

  1. Brewpubs should be an inclusive part of the craft beer scene, but the state of Wisconsin insists on making them restaurants instead. I'm so bitter!

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