10 years of craft beer.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by francisweizen, Aug 31, 2013.

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  1. francisweizen

    francisweizen Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2002 Washington

    Hey. Hello. Some of you may remember me, but it has been so long that some may not.

    I got into good beer in around 2002. A lot has changed since than for the better or the worst and I wanted to see what everyone thought about that.

    In 2002, it was a Unibroue mix case that showed me what could be done with 4 basic ingredients....Water, malt, grains, and hops...

    BA, helped me learn more, as did home brewing and the forums. But I had other hobbies and passions and beer took a bit of a back seat as I traveled the world (over 70 countries) and lived all over (9 countries+). However, my love of beer never wained!

    8 months ago I moved back to the US and now for the first time, beer is my career. Sure, I took a big pay cut, but working within the industry that I love has given me a whole new appreciation for beer.

    My questions for my fellow BA's are. When did your craft beer journey start? What has changed for the better? What has changed for the worse? 10 years of craft beer has been fun and interesting, hasn't it!?!?!??!!??!!??!
  2. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,838) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I may need a day or two to come up with a proper reply myself, but good for you, man! Welcome back and I hope this becomes a great thread. I look forward to hearing more about your journeys. Cheers!
  3. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Welcome back! Glad to hear you are doing what you enjoy and love.

    My involvement with good beer actually began back well over 20 years go with my first trip to the UK, where I got to hang out with lots of folks who were passionate about cask ale.

    But the beer scene was so sparse in the US, that when someone once asked me where I went for a beer, without thought I reaplied, "England or Scotland." They thought it was a joke, but it wasn't.... :slight_smile:

    Then about 8-10 years ago someone offered me a beer on a social occasion. To be polite I took it. Turns out it was a Troeg's Trogenator (he said that was all he had in the fridge). The rest is history, but my exploration was unguided and mostly based on what I found in one retailer's location.

    In 07 I found this site, bgan my serious exploration of good beer and have been hanging around now and then ever since, listenting and learning.
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  4. thatoneguymike

    thatoneguymike Pooh-Bah (1,935) Sep 18, 2012 Georgia

    The first time I really ever ventured out beyond things like Stella, Hoegarden, etc....that were deemed 'great beers' at the time by everyone I knew...I went to a liquor store with a friend, and said 'Let's just try something different. Let's pick the coolest looking thing we can find', and ended up with Shiner Hefeweizen. It was so much more refreshing and pleasing than Bud Light, Coors Light, everything else that we drank at the time. So we started doing that most every time, just picking something at random. Some hits, lots of misses, as that we had no idea what we were purchasing, and, to be honest, our palates were still young and naiive. I think it's been about 9 years ago now.

    I moved in with a guy a couple of years later, who had light years of experience with different beers ahead of me, and introduced me to stuff like Stone, Sierra Nevada, things that I had been too cheap to buy before. (Granted, I was pretty much broke all along this time.) Didn't get it still, but had a Terrapin Hopsecutioner on tap at Taco Mac, and all of a sudden, it hit me. Man, I love hops after all. From there on, it was about trying as much as I could get my hands on, but having a style that really hit home with me. And he loved getting different stuff too, which most of it was still out of my price range, but allowed me to really open up to new styles.

    Fast forward to these last couple of years. Better paying job, no kids, and open-minded-girlfriend-that-loves-styles-that-I-don't-really-get-into (porters, stouts), that also lives in a big city, means I'm able to afford and have the opportunity to check out all kinds of stuff that literally isn't available where I live. We joke that I only visit her to make beer runs and stock up. It's only partially a joke haha... This is where things have changed for the better. I've tried enough that I know what I like, can pick out things that I probably will like, can shop wisely and not be overwhelmed, as well as pick up things that I know she'll like and at least get to try myself.

    Things for the worse? I can't really say that, all-in-all, it has gotten worse. I love that the culture has grown as much as it has. Only complaint I can come up with is that others are like myself, searching out new releases, hitting bottle stores on the day of _____'s release. Given that, by the time I get off of work at 5pm, if I don't get right in my car and drive an hour and a half to the store that posts pics on Facebook of their ultra-rare for the area, 1 bottle per customer shipments, I won't get my hands on them, or especially if I go the next day, let alone that weekend when I actually have the time. But, hey, that shows the growing and increasingly widespread love of the craft itself of making a damn tasty brew, so much so that demand is often greater than supply, while also showing a definite hoarder-like culture. But, I can't hate, I'd be there at the time of delivery if I was able to be too.

    Cheers, fellow BA's. It's been a damn fine decade of craft beer (whether you love or hate the phrase)
    joaopmgoncalves, frothyhead and BILF like this.
  5. bubseymour

    bubseymour Grand Pooh-Bah (4,584) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I toyed with craft beers through the better part of the 90's, but never really knew the different styles at all. Back then I knew the IPA's were bitter and was an acronym for India Pale Ale but I thought they came from India until I learned later they were British decent. I heard that Belgians made great beer, but my only attempt at finding one was a Lindemann's Lambic which was a horribly sour one to me at the time and I remember drainpouring it. My true quest began when I joined BA during Thanksgiving weekend back in 2010. Learned about the Russian Imperial Stout style which I had never heard of before and had a Sam Smith as my first (a good intro to the style as well). Over 600 beers later, I think I've had respectable sampling of many world class offerings and know how to have fun with the hobby. Now I'm beginning to expand into beer travel and destinations as the next step. Still never found the motivation to get into home brewing hobby though. Possibly look to grow hops in backyard next year.
    frothyhead likes this.
  6. bullywee

    bullywee Zealot (689) May 26, 2005 Colorado

    Born in Scotland, I moved to California in my teens, I originally gravitiated towards UK beers, then I discovered SNPA and others. When I turned 21(1996) I began mixing six packs @ Trader Joes (they had a better selection back then) and did that for a few years. I outgrew TJ's selection and started shopping at Liqour stores in the SFV, I then discovered online beer resources leading me to local bars and breweries. I first got on BA in 2003? and really got into it in 2005 what a great resource! I moved to NC in 2004 and at that time NC's selection was limited by an ABV cap so I would haul beer back whenever I travelled, expanding my tastebuds. The cap has since been lifted (thanks PTC) and my beer hobby has taken off, trading, cellaring and homebrewing for a good number of years.

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  7. DantheRN

    DantheRN Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2013 New York

    Great stories guys!
    When I was about 21, ten years ago now (wow), a 10 cent wing bar with a variety of taps had Paulaner Weissbeir on tap, served in a fancy glass with a lemon wedge. My world changed - there was more than Bud/Coors/Miller?! I knew about and had tried Sam Adams and other beers smaller than Bud etc., but this was cool and different. I stuck with Paulaner for a bit but then discovered how amazing Sierra Nevada was, and was introduced to their Celebration Ale. Holy cow. I then went on an IPA binge that I'm still coming off, it's not easy. It's been ten years and I love tasting and trying ALL beers, but, dude, I had this sour beer by evil twin this weekend and it was just too much! Anyway, I'm about to enjoy my Green Flash Le Freak, my punk rock off my laptop (currently NOFX) while my fiance is at work, and continue perusing the site (first night as a member, but a long time visitor!) - hope you all enjoy your beer and the rest of your evening. Cheers.
    frothyhead and Geuzedad like this.
  8. stevenc1311

    stevenc1311 Initiate (0) Oct 20, 2007 Georgia

    I had Marthasville around 1995 here in Atlanta and I guess they were the first microbrewery here in ATL, but distribution was pretty limited. A couple of years later Sweetwater started up and I was able to find their beer at one of my regular bars (Mike & Angelo's Buckhead), and of course they've had a lot of success.
  9. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,627) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Welcome back to these shores. Let us know what changes are most noticeable to you. An outside perspective is healthy for these pages, where a US centric attitude is to be expected. My journey started around 40 years ago with trips to Europe as a very young and eager traveller. We started here on Schlitz, Blatz, and others in high school, but England, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Austria opened my eyes. Beer there was not an adjunct to a life it was part of the CULTURE. This single discovery was instrumental in developing a life-long passion for beer and wine. I spent 40 years in the beer and wine industry, have recently retired, and I never stop learning. Beer Advocate is a fun place with a huge number of great folks opining in many unique voices. It is all for the better!
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  10. MikeWard

    MikeWard Pooh-Bah (2,587) Sep 14, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    As a pimply faced youth straight out of school in 1974, I went to work in London, with only a couple of cans of a brew I don't remember to my name. Turned out most of the chaps working in my department were committed CAMRA members, and they made it their mission to put me on the straight and narrow, beer-wise. When I moved to Philadelphia in 1983, and tried the BMC offerings, I promptly went back to "imports", the stuff I knew so well. I had no clue, (and no "guides") about US craft offerings, and it wasn't until I moved to Pottsville, PA in 1992, where I still live, that I started investigating the "craft" offerings. Thanks to the archaic PA beer laws, it was buying by the case, and was hit or miss. Later on, I discovered brewpubs, and a few years ago, bottle shops and then beer advocate. I bang my head against the wall for all the years lost when for want of a beer guru, I could have been sampling the great American crafts since 1983. Cest la vie. (I'm making up for lost time now, and the wife is thrilled. Not)
    bullywee likes this.
  11. checktherhyme

    checktherhyme Pundit (890) Apr 8, 2008 Washington

    I'm only 26, and I can't believe how things have changed in only 5 years. Mostly good changes, but I miss the days of an $8 bomber being outragously expensive.
    joaopmgoncalves likes this.
  12. mfnmbvp

    mfnmbvp Pooh-Bah (2,385) Nov 28, 2012 Illinois

    I've only really been in the craft beer game for about 2 years, but so far it's all been an upward trek, and I still have many many more beer horizons ahead of me.

    Chronologically, my beer journey went something like this. Miller Lite > Skol Vodka > Miller Lite, again > Coors Light > Not drinking for a few years > Corona > Blue Moon. And then one day someone asked me with astonished bewilderment "You've never had a Rogue Dead Guy?!" I made it my goal to find that shit, and when I did I thought it was amazing. Rogue Dead Guy and Bell's Oberon were my craft gateway beers.
  13. muddyh2oblues

    muddyh2oblues Initiate (0) Mar 13, 2010 Illinois

    my first experience with craft beer was on my honeymoon in the amana colonies in iowa, 29 years ago. stayed at a nice bed and breakfast and sampled many wines. personal faves were the dandelion and rhubarb. anyway, millstream brewing company had just recently opened and was offering a wheat beer and a schild brau, i bought a six of each and have been drinking mostly craft brew since. not always mind you, it wasn't until the last 15 years that craft beer has been readily available in my area. now there's 4 breweries (blue cat brew pub, front street brewery, bent river brewery, and great river brewery) and soon to be a 5th, plus a distillery in the local region, plus countless restaurants and bars that offer craft selections. the hyvee in town here has a larger craft and import section now than the macros. we also now have beer tasting events, the biggest being "brew ha ha", held in leclaire park, davenport, iowa and a charity one at niabi zoo to benefit the animals.
  14. broogooroo

    broogooroo Initiate (0) May 30, 2003 Oregon

    I've been doing the beer thing for nearly four decades. Back when I started, it was pretty dire in the USA. Variety was an alien concept, imports were often not in good shape, and people who wanted to try something really good had to leave the USA and cross the Atlantic to the core countries of old-world beer culture: the UK, Germany and Austria, Czechoslovakia if you could manage it back then (still in the days of the Iron Curtain and Warsaw Pact), and Belgium.

    I finally tasted a good, non-stale imported German Pilsner, and then got to go to Germany to visit relatives who lived in the Rheinland (Cologne and Dusseldorf) in the late 1970s. Those were the game-changers for me. At the same time, and during the following few years, the first American "microbrews" made their debuts. Some were good. Some were ... not good. The sea change in American brewing and beer culture in the last 3+ decades has been, on the whole, a Very Good Thing, and as more people have discovered it, it's finally attaining a level of acceptance that was inconceivable back in the early days. It hasn't just been 10 years, really; if you go back to the founding of New Albion in California, it's been more than 35, with attendant ups and downs (I still remember the first boom-and-collapse cycle that came in the mid-1990s).

    To this day, though, those first German beers that really turned things around for me are still my go-to styles. Having a German beer bar up the street with imports in good shape doesn't hurt, and it's great to have them to compare and contrast against the huge abundance of craft brews in my region (the Pacific Northwest, where craft brewing got going more than 30 years ago). Time now to go drink another one.
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  15. zekeman17

    zekeman17 Pooh-Bah (1,986) Feb 14, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Back in the early 80's, my beer of choice was whatever was cheapest. 30 packs of Stroh's, Keystone Light, Natural Light, etc. $8.99 a case, yes please. Bud was .35 for a 10 oz glass or .50 for a 16 oz mug at my local bar. I could drink all night with a fistful of change.
    One afternoon, a buddy and I were at the mall, and stopped to eat at a German Hofbrau place. No beer that we'd ever heard of, so we each got a Celebrator. Wow, still one of my favorites. Shortly after that we found an English Style pub that had the likes of Sam Smith, Young's and Thomas Hardy. By that point we were trying anything new and different that we could find. The straw that broke the camels back (and my wallet for years to come) was the first time I had SN Pale Ale. What's that taste? Hops? I like hops!!
    All this typing is making me thirsty.
  16. herrburgess

    herrburgess Pooh-Bah (2,991) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    High school: Bass, Guinness, Heineken

    College: More Bass; Maisel Kristall- and Hefeweizen; friends' homebrew (ESB, Pale ale, Scottish Wee Heavy); Sierra Nevada PA, Porter, Stout; Anderson Valley, Sam Adams, etc.

    Grad school: watched Beer Hunter series, turned me on to lambics, Orval, Kaiserdom Rauchbier, Pilsner Urquell, Fuller's London Pride and ESB, and a number of the other beers featured therein that were available here in the early 1990s.

    Moved to Bamberg, Germany: visited around 150 Franconian breweries; traveled to Czech Republic for fresh Urquell, Budvar, U Fleku, Pivovar Domazlice, etc.; Belgium where I really fell in love with Duvel, Cantillon and other gueuzes, all the Trappists, Rodenbach (regular, Grand Cru, and Alexander), and easy drinkers like De Koninck. Ended the year with a visit to the Great British Beer Festival and exposure to 100s of smaller breweries' cask ales.

    Since then: Back in the U.S. with the new wave of "craft," I’ve been impressed by Bells' Two Hearted, the continued relevance and longevity of Sierra Nevada, some of the Russian River sours, and German beers from New Glarus and Olde Mecklenburg. I'm also impressed by the genuine, organic craft beer culture that has developed in places like the PNW, western NC, Philadelphia, Michigan, and So. Cal. Meanwhile I've continued to make annual trips to places like Edinburgh and the Scottish Real Ale Festival; Duesseldorf, Koeln, and Munich (fell in love with Augustiner Helles); and back to favorites like Brussels, Prague, and Bamberg.

    Most recently -- and perhaps most importantly to my beer education: started homebrewing. Goal is to perfect a classic Koelsch, authentic Bamberg Rauchbier, and a Czech/Franconian-style Dunkel.
    joaopmgoncalves likes this.
  17. francisweizen

    francisweizen Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2002 Washington


    Loving the posts and stories to come of my humble post! Would love to hear more stories!

    In regards to what i've seen change since 1999 (and I know us craft started more like the mid-70s with fritz and anchor the 10 years of craft beer post was in reference to my own personal journey)

    Soooo many more craft breweries and local brewpubs and taphouses
    fresher and higher quality imports with better distribution
    acceptance in the industry and by the public of beer as a high class beverage just like wine and spirits

    Hoarders, people reselling bottles for huge profits, tickers
    "golden tickets" and very limited bottle offerings/releases/evens that cost a lot of money ($20+)
    many breweries and brewers trying to "cash in" on the craft craze with a very uninspired portfolio (pale, esb, golden, etc, etc)

    What have you seen in the last 10-15 years?
  18. T-Bird

    T-Bird Initiate (0) Aug 26, 2013 Ohio

    I started home brewing in '82 but only got four batches in when life got in the way. Somewhere around that time I read a Time magazine article about Anchor Brewing and still remember one particular line from the story - that Anchor produces in a year the same amount of beer that a single Anhueser Busch brewery produces in an hour. It also said that shops that received Anchor didn't put it on the shelf - you had to be on their call list to buy a limited quantity. I asked all around town at beer stores about Anchor and call lists, but got the same answer - we don't get Anchor and we have no need to keep a list.

    Forward to the mid-90's, and I was aware that Anchor was an early player in something, but I just didn't have time to focus on it and learn what was going on. That, and none of my friends were into anything beyond Bud or Bud Light.

    Forward some more to 2009 and I hired a young guy onto my team. I quickly found out he knew a lot about beer, and I was ready to learn some myself. The first IPA he put in front of me (a DFH 60 Minute)... well, I've never been back to BMC since.

    One thing I wish I could do is go back to the last home brew batch I made and try it again. I had read a book from the library on brewing about how to bring out the bitterness in the hops and tried a totally different style. My friends were 100% in agreement that I'd done it completely wrong and had spoiled the batch - the stuff was undrinkable to them. I pretty much agreed with them, but also wasn't about to pour out five gallons of beer, so I drank the entire batch by myself. After 30 years and untold BMC's, I have no clue anymore what that batch tasted like, but I'd love to know how it compared to some of the hoppy beers now.
  19. Zimbo

    Zimbo Pooh-Bah (2,269) Aug 7, 2010 Scotland

    About thirty years ago. And the range, quality and availability of beers has never been better. Unfortunately the joy and anticipation of trying something new or long sought after seems to be gone. The beer time continuum is increasingly becoming warped and hyper accelerated too with so little time to sit back and truly appreciate the moment. Me, I blame the tickers.
  20. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    My first beer was a locally-brewed bock, just outside of Munich at the ripe old age of 2. I was always the guy who liked Bass Pale Ale, Hofbrau, Ringnes, Guinness etc along w/ Pearl and Busch. This site turned me on to IPAs, for which I am forever grateful. Michael Jackson's 1979 World Guide to Beer book didn't hurt things, either.
    Zimbo likes this.
  21. archiebunkerjr

    archiebunkerjr Pundit (854) Oct 25, 2010 Michigan

    I graduated from Western Michigan University in 1991. This was two years before Bell's started - f*** my luck. I lived just a half hour away from there my last year. I had lots of Busch Light, Natural Light and Milwaukee's Best back then. One semester we found a party store that sold cases of Labatt's 50s for $8.00 and we thought we were kings drinking that.

    My first job after college was at a CPA firm. One of the partners had a Christmas party at his house for everyone that worked there. This is where I had my first Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I can still practically taste that beer even 20+ years later! I was 23 years old and I made an ass out of myself at the party trying to explain to my coworkers that it was the best beer I ever had!

    Ever since, I rarely purchase a six pack or a twelve pack for a second time. Too many craft beers to try. I feel so bad for older guys like my father who drank nothing but PBR, Schlitz, Miller Lite, etc... during his younger years.
  22. Premo88

    Premo88 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,424) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    it's very new to me, the "craft beer" phenomenon and i love it. could do with a few less hops at times but that's OK. i take it as is and enjoy it all.

    one quick story for palette perspective:

    in 1993-95, i discovered English pale ales/ESBs/bitters and LOVED THEM. i also learned to appreciate Guinness. but the couple three 6-packs of Anchor Steam I went threw always seemed to me to be a bit TOO bitter and just not that great.

    fast forward to 2013. i've dived head first into the American craft beer scene, sucked down true pilseners and got the spice-hop tongue going, tasted about 20 different American pale ales/IPAs/DIPAs and learned what our wonderful USA-born hops can do and am 100% all in on the good beer.

    Anchor Steam today tastes like about the best damn thing a brewer could come up with. Today it seems incredibly malty with just a hint of really good grain to me, and it's not even close to too bitter though I *can* detect a pinch of spice in there.

    The craft beer scene has rearranged my palette and taught me to appreciate things I didn't realize existed 20 years ago.
  23. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    Ummm, without yeast, it ain't going to turn into beer.

    I think you meant yeast instead of grain (malt comes from the grain). :wink:

    P.S. Welcome back!
  24. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I wish I saw more new portfolios like this by me. The new guys wouldn't touch ESB (etc) with a ten foot pole. They are too concerned with coconut kiwi offerings. I'm exaggerating, but there's some truth in it.
    frothyhead likes this.
  25. francisweizen

    francisweizen Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2002 Washington

    Water, malt (and other specialty grains of course), yeast, and hops :-)
  26. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    You forgot the most important ingredient: Love
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