Top Ten: Craft Beer Themes of 2011


List of Ten by Bryan Kolesar@

PHILADELPHIA, December 16, 2011 – 2011 may not have seen much in the way of brand new industry-wide development or innovation. However, that did not stop the following list of themes from continuing to grow deeper roots and being taken to a continually widening audience.

10. Eat, Drink, Food, Beer

The concept of centering a dinner around a beer theme has grown over the past several years and seemed to explode across the beer landscape in 2011. Pizza shops paired Italian craft beers with a variety of pizzas. Fine dining restaurants and award-winning chefs created multi-course gastronomical affairs with some of the country’s leading brew masters. Cheesemongers set up tastings to highlight the more-often-than-not superiority of beer pairings than that of wine. From region to region and across the spectrum of dining options, the way in which beer is enjoyed is changing and the idea of beer and food compatibility has become more accepted and appreciated than ever.

9. Better with age?

Beer enthusiasts have stashed away some of their beers in hopes of discovering a drinkable product better than when it was first delivered fresh from the brewery. A blended Lambic beer like Boon Mariage Parfait from 2004 has a bottle stamp proclaiming it “best by” the year 2028. In recent years, the better beer bars of the mid-Atlantic – ChurchKey (Washington), Monk’s Café (Philadelphia), and Max’s (Baltimore) to name just three – have carved out a special nook on their beer menus to showcase their own cellaring programs and the wondrous potential of aged beer. Certain beers age differently and sometimes better than others; beer enthusiasts are having a blast trying to figure out which beers.

8. Keep it fresh, keep it local

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Herald Beer Experts Talk Home Brewing

Mark Galletly of Marks Home Brew. Picture by Anita Jones

NOTE: The Professor, never having been to Australia, will not question the following statement that’s NOT necessarily true in America: “Whether you use basic kits or mash with malted grain, the results are likely to be better, and cheaper, than average commercial beers.” But the article does provide an interesting perspective on homebrewing in Australia.

Written by Stephen Jones for

HOME brewing has come a long way in recent decades. Whether you use basic kits or mash with malted grain, the results are likely to be better, and cheaper, than average commercial beers. Home brewing doesn’t take up a lot of time, and the gear you buy should soon pay for itself. But be warned: having a lot of good beer at home can lead some people to imbibe a bit more than they should.

Jeff Corbett

WHEN I started brewing in 1980 it was in a big bucket using Saunder’s malt extract and sugar from the supermarket, hop essence from a health food shop and yeast that had been smuggled out of a brewery.
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