With LiBEERty & Justice For All: America’s Beer Renaissance

‘Merica! Before we were branded as a McDonalds eating, NASCAR watching, Budweiser guzzling nation of indulgent obese loudmouths, we were branded as traitors, traitors rebelling against the oppressive rule of a monarchy. But, neither the crown nor the scepter could hold our brave nation down; and in our act of rebellion, we cemented ourselves as a sovereign nation, a nation of individuals dedicated to the cause of freedom.

It is this same spirit of rebelliousness that transcends the political arena and is woven into every facet of our lives as Americans. Everything we do has a flair to it, a signature of sorts, a signature whose ink is a tri-colored red, white, and blue.

This flair is quite evident in our brewing industry. All of the traditional beer styles from the Old World that came over with other nations’ poor, tired, and huddled masses who were yearning to breathe free have been adopted, enhanced, and brewed to deliciousness in the brew kettles of our rebel nation.

From unheard of ABV’s, to cramming three times the amount of hops into a recipe, to beers made to taste like bacon or doughnuts, the only force oppressing the American brewing industry is the imagination of the brewer.

This ability, this desire to deviate from the traditional shackles of brewing antiquity, is what has catapulted the U.S. brewing industry into the global arena of beer.

Our successful boom in the U.S. beer market has been hard-fought. With fierce competitors from other nations who have been perfecting their brewing craft for many hundreds of years, America has had to fight for every single bit of brewing credibility it has.

George Washington was a well-known beer lover as well as being the inspiration for the name of the state I am from. If he were alive today, I’d be emboldened to show him what the Pacific Northwest has done with his beloved beverage. It would begin at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon where “G Dub” and I would imbibe on a tulip of The Abyss, an award-winning Imperial Stout darker than the hopes America once had at winning a war with little more than pitchforks and a can-do attitude.

notoriousFrom there we would head on over to Boneyard, a stripped-down, no-nonsense, brewery befitting of a general who lead a small nation of farmers to victory over seemingly insurmountable odds. The 12% ABV Notorious Double IPA we would partake of there is high octane enough to give anybody the courage to cross the Delaware. I’ve visited both of these breweries and I do believe they would pass muster in the general’s eyes.

Craft breweries from all over America have ignited a passion within the populous for high-quality, handcrafted beers that showcase the spirit and the individuality of the American people. We’re a hodgepodge bastard nation united through our individuality; this unity is the driving force of the craft beer industry in our country.

From baby chicks to bald eagles, Kenny G to Motley Crüe, from Sam Adams Light to Old Rasputin, the diversity of America is evident. The ingenuity of our beer industry has brought us the Randall, an invention by Dogfish Head; it is an organoleptic hop transducer module, which is a double-chambered filter that, once connected to a tap, will fill your brew with flavor enhancing ingredients. We have also seen Dogfish Head team up with Sierra Nevada to come up with the optimal drinking glass to truly enjoy an American favorite: the IPA. Distributed by Spiegelau Glass Company, this glass really showcases the aromas that IPA’s are famous for.

American craft beer has given us a plethora of quaffable brews to compliment some of our favorite foods. Perhaps you’d like a Rogue Dead Guy Helles/Maibock or a Hennepin Farmhouse Saison from Ommegang to wash down your pepper bacon and jalapeno burger while you watch the skies get lit up on the 4th of July? I have personally tried the Dead Guy with the above-mentioned burger and it truly is a great beer style to cleanse the palette inbetween bites! But wait, you say it’s Veterans Day? Well then hoist the stars and stripes and take your favorite vet out for pizza, just don’t forget to wash it down with Three Floyds Zombie Dust, an American Pale Ale which pairs excellently with pizza. Thanks to American craft brewing, we can throw off another monarchy (the “king” of beers), and enjoy handcrafted goodness with our meals.

Although the traditional “domestic” beers still saturate the media in an attempt to lure beer drinkers into liquid monotony, “rebel” brewers from all over the nation have changed the face of the beer industry in this country, setting the foundation for a delicious, flavor revolution. This revolution has produced “craft domestics,” which although fit for a king, belong to the masses.

What can other countries learn from the U.S. craft beer industry? Probably what they already know about us: we will defy convention, we will take what is known and venture into the unknown, we will build upon what we were bequeathed, we will do it OUR way, we will make it ours, and we will make it American.

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About Ryan Van Brunt

Ryan is from Vancouver, Washington, a mere stone’s throw away from Portland, Oregon. Along with a love of craft beer and writing, he's a sucker for 80’s movies, hair metal, and most all other pop-culture.

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