Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Local Beer is Better Beer!

As beer people we tend to look for the most exotic and the rarest beers that we can get our hands on. This is a fun and a great way to enjoy craft beer.  I would like to emphasize the benefit of drinking from local brewers.  

I know that for some of you, this seems like an absurd thing to say.  Some people are lucky enough to live by a whole bunch of breweries. These people may seldom think of getting some things else.  Others don't have local breweries. For me I have one brewery close enough to me to consider it local, Star Hill Brewery, and I drink their beer often.
What most people don't consider is that as soon as the beer leaves the brewery it begins to degrade.  That is why beer nerds like me love to go to brew pubs and tap/tasting rooms at breweries.  When you drink a beer at the brewery you know that you are getting the product at its best.  When you pull a bottle off the shelf at a large grocery store you can’t be sure that beer was not mistreated.  The likelihood that a beer has degraded increases the further away that beer gets from the brewery.  This seems to be especially true for hoppy beers.  

Once a beer leaves the brewery, depending on the distributor, it may be placed onto hot trucks, end up staying in a hot warehouse, be put onto another hot truck, and then end up on a non-refrigerated shelf at the store.  All of those steps lead to a degradation of the beer.  If you drink local all of those steps are shortened.  A lot of small local breweries self-distribute.  That means that they skip the entire middle of this process; straight from the brewery to the shelf.  Bottom line the shorter the beer travels that less chance for degradation of flavor

My last point to make in this drink local rant is: Buy Beer Locally.  I realize that you can get some craft beer from large grocery stores, but the selection is never as good as a local bottle shop.  For me I shop at a small gourmet store.  They sell fine chocolate, cheese, wine and beer.  They do not have a large beer section, but what they do have is awesome.  These places should be the foundation of the craft beer movement.  I can go get a 6-pack of Sierra Nevada from my local grocer, but I will not be able to talk about the four different 30th anniversary beers that were released by Sierra Nevada with the cashier (I've tried....they don't seem to appreciate it).  I have also never been able to find Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA or a selection of sour beers at Safeway. Most of the fun of drinking new and exciting craft beer is talking about it (i.e this blog).  Shopping at a local beer store not only gives me the opportunity to grow my beer cellar, it also gives me an additional opportunity to really geek out on beer.  


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