The ‘Brewhaha’ of Craft Beer
October 16, 2019
With so many styles and brands to choose from, the beer market is a huge (and sometimes daunting) industry to sort out. Especially rich and varied is the craft beer category, which can be as deeply nuanced as the world of wine.
Read on for tips on what you can expect and how you just might find the perfect craft beer for you at the Woodforest Craft Fest noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the community’s Christine Allen Nature Park, 5831 Woodforest Parkway South.
What exactly is craft beer?
Craft beer has its roots in home brewing, an activity that dates back to the 1600s. The movement has evolved from individual experimentation to something more professional, with the introduction of microbreweries in the 1970s. The opposite of macrobrews (think big beer companies), microbrews are small, independent and yet traditional by definition. The most well-known of these microbreweries are the Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada labels.
What makes craft beer so special?
Beer enthusiasts light up like Christmas trees when describing the special qualities of a good craft brew. Like snowflakes, each one is subtly different from the other. Craft breweries use traditional ingredients such as malt, hops and yeast, but show their true individuality with ingredients such as fruits, spices, and recently, even coffee.
What should I look for in a craft beer?
When first considering a particular beer’s merits, people tend to discuss things like “appearance” and “mouth feel” (similar to wine tastings). Craft beer comes in many colors, from a delicate pale blonde to a deeply rich brown. One consistent visual characteristic of a good craft beer is a thick, foamy head. The mouth-feel can run the gamut from dry and light to heavy and creamy, and it all depends on personal preference.
What flavors can I expect from a craft beer?
Beyond the initial smell and taste that is derived from its traditional ingredients, craft beer can also be sweet, sour, bitter, malty, spicy, fruity, nutty and even have hints of chocolate. That’s why an opportunity to sample a small amount of many different craft brews is both exciting and economical. It’s virtually impossible to find the brew that is perfect for YOU, without tasting several brands for comparison.
I’m a wine drinker; how does that compare with beer?
If you like light-bodied wines such as sauvignon blanc,pinot noir, or pinot grigio, you may like a lager,Pilsneror wheat beer. Medium-body wines such as merlot, zinfandeland syrah are basically in the same ballpark as ales, IPA’s and bocks. If heavy-body wines like cabernet sauvignonor malbec are your favorites, then look for a stout or Porterbeer.
Is there an order to the process of sampling craft beer?
If you want to sample a wide variety, then it is advised to start light and work your way towards the stouts. If you don't, then you may overwhelm your palate early on and miss some of the subtler flavors and aromas of the delicate beers.
What’s being brewed locally?
The Woodforest Craft Fest will have a range of local, artisanally produced creations on hand for sampling, including the following:
Guests also have an opportunity to sample Austin Eastciders hard cider. Southern Rum Runners returns with margaritas for sale.
They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so the process of finding the craft brew that is perfect for your personal tastes may be a long (but wonderful)journey.With so many craft beers to sample, and plenty of delicious food options for pairing, this festival is sure to be a great opportunity to have a good time while learning more about the ever-growing, diverse world of craft brews.