7 Jul 2017
American Beer- a good news story
I had some great beer on my recent US roadtrip. Beer in the US used to be a disaster story. Every bit as bad as beer in Australia. Everywhere you went it was the same big brewery product offer. And underpinning it all was the "king of beers" Budweiser-the original beer with no flavour. There is only one beer worse than Budweiser and that is Budweiser Light.You might as well drink mineral water.
I used to visit Milwaukee frequently and this was once the biggest brewing city in the US-famous for beer and Harley-Davidson and once home to Pabst,Schlitz,Miller and Blatz breweries.
By the time I was visiting Milwaukee its glory days as a brew city were well behind it. Old breweries stood vacant and Miller -soon to be owned by South African Brewing-was dominant. Their signature beer-Miller Draught-is an insipid brown liquid almost devoid of taste. How it came to be revered I will never understand. A victory for marketing if there was ever one.
Over the past 20 years craft breweries have exploded in the US. It seems as if every small town has its own craft brewery or two. Even Milwaukee now has literally dozens of craft breweries.
The beers being produced by these craft breweries are excellent-full of flavour. Wonderful pale ales and Indian pale ales dominate but there is plenty of choice of styles and the US is no longer a beer desert. Fortunately Australia is following the same route although we have some considerable way to go before craft beer achieves the market penetration it has in the US. There are still plenty of Australians drinking the mass produced tasteless brews and the big brewers are using all the tools available to them to slow down the penetration of craft beer into pubs.
There are now 290 craft breweries in Australia and there are two within 20 minutes driving distance of my home on the Central Coast. Sydney and Melbourne are thick with them. Long may it continue.