A question for users from other countries: Are you surprised at the US's beer culture?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cmiller4642, May 10, 2018.

  1. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 Aspirant (270) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    Would it surprise people from Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Australia, etc... to come to the United States and see that we have bottle shops in every state with hundreds to thousands of choices for beer?

    I figure most people in those countries think that Americans only drink Bud Light and Coors. Would it be weird for someone from Germany to come over and see all of the Oktoberfest beers on tap in September?
  2. Shanex

    Shanex Champion (839) Dec 10, 2015 France

    I'm French and I have discovered American craft beer through BA two years and a half ago when joining BA.

    Then I looked up on google a webshop in france with American craft beers.

    I've had, Alesmith, Sierra Nevada, Founders, Anchor, Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Brooklyn, Flying Dog, Rogue, Prairie, well and many other outstanding breweries and beers.

    I will make maybe a controversial assertion, but regarding craft, America is #1 Country in the world, ahead of belgium.

    Sure Europe has some very good beers and breweries but America is now the Land of top notch beers.

    Most people in Europe have acknowledged it. We know bud and coors are for you guys what Heineken and Carlsberg are for us.

    #2 Shanex, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  3. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (356) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    A german gentlemen came to my shop to train us on a machine. He said one restaurant he visited here had so many beers to pick from. I think they have 10-12 taps. Imagine what he'd think walking into a hopcat or similar establishment with 75-100 taps.

    By the way, he didn't like the ipa he tried. He is a pilsner drinker and doesn't know much about craft beer, but he got to see the tip of the iceberg here.
  4. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Savant (946) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I think most "normal" drinkers from Europe, especially Germany, probably would be surprised at the selection, just like many Americans probably would be surprised by how small the beer selection is at your typical supermarket or even most Getränkemarkts (beverage shop) in Germany outside of Franconia/Bavaria. Dedicated craft beer bottle shops are typically tiny as well.

    I can still remember how awed I was at the beer selection when I visited the Netherlands for the first time in my late teens. The beer aisle was HUGE compared to anything I had seen in Germany before, with lots of Belgian and other international beers. You know what, maybe it was Belgium, that was a long time ago and my memory gets kinda fuzzy. The point is, it was a huge difference. Same with the UK, where I lived for some years.

    However, I think that anyone who has even the slightest clue about craft beer should be well aware that America is the world leader by far there. I mean, you guys are basically 20 years ahead of Europe when it comes to craft beer and that really, really shows.
    #4 Snowcrash000, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  5. rozzom

    rozzom Crusader (713) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    European here. Surprised that shops have tons of bottles? And bars have zillions of tap handles? And that they’re the hoppiest/strongest/sourest/sweetest beers out there?

    So basically was I surprised that America has maxed everything out to the nth degree? Of course I was (sarcastic voice)
  6. rozzom

    rozzom Crusader (713) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Craft being defined as?

    If we’re talking DIPAs, BA stouts etc - then I agree. If you’re speaking about good beer in general, then I don’t.
  7. Cmike1992

    Cmike1992 Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2017 New Hampshire

    those breweries make very good beer, but beers from tree house, other half, monkish, tired hands, etc. might blow you away
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  8. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (356) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    All he has to do is fly 10 hours and get in a line for a 4 pack :wink:
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  9. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Savant (946) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    Let's please not turn this into yet another discussion about what constitutes "craft beer", but yes, I was talking about modern craft styles such as IPAs, BA stouts, etc. Obviously really, as I think Germany is about 800 years ahead of the US when it comes to traditional beer :stuck_out_tongue:.
    #9 Snowcrash000, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  10. rozzom

    rozzom Crusader (713) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    I’m not. Just asking you to clarify what you meant. Simple. Kein drama
  11. LiamoMill

    LiamoMill Initiate (36) May 11, 2017 Ireland

    I think the average Joe in Ireland would be shocked at the extent of the craft beer scene in the US and I’d say that a large number just associate the US with Miller, Bud and Coors Light. The same people though wouldn't really have a clue about the extent of the craft beer scene right under their nose in Ireland and probably would laugh off any suggestion that there are much better stouts to be drank than Guinness! To be fair our bars are absolutely saturated with those big brand beers so it’s easy to see where the idea comes from.

    Anyone who’s into ‘craft beer’ knows all about the US scene as it inspires a lot of what is popular over here and the best breweries in Europe are producing similar styles and similar quality levels to the most sought after breweries in the US.
  12. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,282) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Well I'm not foreign, but I have this story to tell. While in Bamberg last year I ran into a couple of young brewers at a small brewery (not their own, they were just hanging out and having a beer just like me). Their brewery had just started up and they were very proud that they now had two beers available. They asked where I worked and I told them, and they asked how many beers we brewed. I told them that we brewed dozens of beers, in all styles, basically a new beer every time we brewed, and they were shocked. In fact, to a certain extent, I think they didn't believe me. But they were very excited to talk about the beer scene in America, and other parts of Europe. If they were to come here and see what even some of our smaller craft brew bars offer I think they might pass out!

    So there are a few points here:
    - The German consumer is demanding.
    - The German brewer wants to perfect his craft.
    - The German consumer is not willing to just plunk down his money just to try something.
    - The German brewer is just as passionate about his craft as American brewers but with perhaps a bit more patience and greater attention to striving for the finest he can make.
    - The Germans, at least some of them, are very interested in what's going on in the world of beer and are very excited by it.

    There's been a movement going on for some time now and I think as time goes on Germans will completely embrace and accept new beer styles while still remaining true to their roots (they've already shown this in some of the new hops that they've produced, and the number of breweries that now brew international styles).

    I might as well throw this in as well since I've started, in talking with many people in Rome and Barcelona they were much more on top of the international scene and knew what was going on. Of course these were beer people, but they seemed far more advanced than the Germans. I doubt it will be long before they're totally up to speed and even creating new styles on their own - but at the same time, I think they'd be at least impressed with some of our bars and shops as they don't have nearly the quantity of these places there, and most don't have the same range that we offer.
  13. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,162) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

    I'm shocked, being an American and drinking American beer back in the 70s and early 80s. Thanks go out to Jimmy Carter for obvious reasons.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,646) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Thank you for making that point. While I have not personally visited Franconia I know from my readings that this part of Germany is notably different from the rest of Germany (i.e., most of Germany) in this regard.

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  15. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Initiate (131) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    Gibt es eine Baumhausbrauerei in Deutschland?
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  16. cheeseheadinMinneapolis

    cheeseheadinMinneapolis Initiate (155) Sep 20, 2017 Minnesota

    Many of the younger beer drinkers do not realize Jimmy Carter helped jump start the craft beer revolution. They think home brewing was always legal. But then again it was always legal in there life time.
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  17. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (4,205) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    I think what America "brings to the table" is variety, in an unabashedly, and perhaps in some cases a somewhat offensive, way. We have a culture right now that rewards experimentation. How long will it last? Who knows. Our "local brewery" concept is new, and for my tastes, I'd bet my "local" offers a wider range, but of lower quality beer than that in many areas of Belgium and Germany.

    I'm awaiting a chance to prove or disprove that theory (and it is just a theory on my part).
  18. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,440) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Not a foreigner, but I suspect that once European genius brewers really embrace American styles of making beer they are gonna do it in better ways that I can't wait to (hopefully) try.
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  19. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (356) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    A hefeweizen NEIPA hybrid? Sweet!
  20. Shanex

    Shanex Champion (839) Dec 10, 2015 France

    Good point and I am looking forward to it as they will be much cheaper than anything I listed in my post above. Both continents have potential of course, Europe and Germany specifically having brewed beers for centuries.
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  21. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (356) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I did have an ipa brewed in germany. It was called the black forest ale, served at schlosskeller in pforzheim. The town isn't a mecca for beer by any means, but that pub had a lot of international brews in addition to the local ones.
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  22. BKBassist

    BKBassist Disciple (371) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    Not to knock EU Brewers, but I've had a decent bit of beer from the likes of Omnipollo, To Øl, Amager and other modern, US inspired craft. In general, it fell short of what is being done over here. And in my mind, stalwarts like Evil Twin and Mikkeller didn't really hit their stride on many styles til establishing stateside brewing operations.

    I will say Cloudwater IPA are the best I've had from across the pond.
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  23. LiamoMill

    LiamoMill Initiate (36) May 11, 2017 Ireland

    Over the last year I’ve been lucky enough to try beers from for example Other Half, Grimm, Trilium and Treehouse amongst others and I’d say that some of the better beers from Cloudwater, Verdant, Northern Monk, Magic Rock and Lervig to name just a few that I have access to compare very well to the US beers although all were great!

    Check out some of the online reviews for Verdants Putty for an example of a great European DIPA. Even some of my local Irish breweries are producing great beers that I think people would be very pleasantly surprising sed by if over here on holiday.

    Haha funny enough a local brewery are contract brewing pretty much exactly this for LIDL in Ireland. Their ‘American Wheat Ale’ is a great cheap beer https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and...p-craft-beer-picks-at-lidl-and-aldi-1.3316369
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  24. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,585) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Premium Trader

    From what I saw in Poland when I was there, I don't think they would be blown away so much. I was totally impressed with the selection of beer that they had when I was in Wroclaw last summer. Almost every restaurant had multiple craft selections and there were probably 10 beer bars in the downtown area that had 12+ taps with good mix and good bottle selection. The fact that it was all in walking distance made me somewhat sad to come home. I think with a strong brewing culture, they have adapted to the styles of beer that are being made in the US pretty well. I can only think of a few beers that I had that displayed any major flaws, and they were still very drinkable. It is on my list of places to go back to in the future.
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  25. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (517) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    No, not at all. The explosion in breweries is a world-wide phenomenon.
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  26. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Savant (946) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I've had beers from Tree House, Hill Farmstead, Alchemist, Other Half and Equilibrium, and Cloudwater and Verdant are absolutely in the same league, possibly Siren as well. I think that the UK craft beer scene is generally quite far ahead of the rest of Europe for some reason, there really are some fantastic breweries there, like Beavertown, Northern Monk, Deya, Tiny Rebel, Buxton, The Kernel, etc. to just name a few more. But yeah, Cloudwater, Verdant, maybe Siren, are absolutely world class craft breweries of which we do not have many in Europe. There's also some great stuff coming out of Scandinavia from the likes of Brewski, Dugges, Amundsen, Lervig, Pohjalla, Mikkeller, Omnipollo, etc. of course.

    @Shanex What I'm curious about is the French craft beer scene, because I don't really hear or see a lot, or rather anything to be honest, about it here in Germany. I mean, I don't see a lot from Spain or Italy either, for example, but literally nothing from France. Is the French craft beer scene just rather exclusive or is there really not that much going on there? Is it because of the prominence that wine has in French drinking culture?
  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (827) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I think this is an important distinction for this thread.

    This is true of anything for Germans, not just beer. I work for a German company, and have traveled there a few times.

    Germans love innovation, and are interested in it. They're well aware to be a successful company in the long haul, you need new products. They're just not as eager to jump into something new until they know they've perfected it.

    One could say that this stifles creativity, and it may, but only slightly. There's also something to be said about getting something right before you present it to the public. Then again, there's also something to be said for getting there first...decisions, decisions.

    This is an interesting take on this whole thread. I'm curious too what they can come up with.

    Well, New England IPAs kind of already look like Hefeweizens...so it's not a huge leap.

    Did you have these in Europe, or were they imported here? Age and travel can destroy a beer, especially IPAs, and ESPECIALLY New England IPAs. Perhaps we don't get the best examples of these beers here in the US.

    And this post answers my question indirectly. One bad thing about us Americans (and this isn't directed at @BKBassist) is that we think we're the best at everything. There's plenty of room for great brewer's all around the world, no need to label one country "the best".
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  28. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (517) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    There are plenty of world-class breweries in Belgium. Any tradional Lambic brewery, for a start. St. Bernardus, Rodenbach, Moortgat (Duvel), plus the Trappist breweries. The same is also true of Germany. Franconia alone has dozens.
  29. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Savant (946) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I said "craft" breweries, not "traditional", we've already been there in this thread.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  30. elohim

    elohim Initiate (184) Dec 4, 2010 Georgia

    I am a Canadian immigrant who is living in the States so I have absolutely nothing to gain by pushing the "America is best" line and it is actually a bit cringey. With that being said in my opinion the United States currently has the best craft beer scene in the world because of the sheer amount of breweries and options. Sure, other countries make great beers and I won't argue the States make the best beer but I do think they do have the best scene by which I mean relatively easy access to more world-class options and styles than any other country. Being such a large and populous country comprised of 50 different states makes it difficult for smaller countries to compete with the massive amount of variety available in the States. And while this is off topic I'll go ahead and say that the United States also has the best marijuana scene in the world (certain regions of the country anyway). 20 years ago the answer was easily the Netherlands but due to changes in laws the United States have pulled ahead of every other country in terms of variety available, potency, and innovation.That comes with the same caveat as beer though; the United States has such a large population spread across such a huge landmass participating in the industry so that it is hard for other countries to compete.

    tl;dr - I think the United States has some of the best variety and options available but I will stop short of saying that it has the best beer available as that is completely subjective.
  31. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (161) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

    I think the main difference is that Europe had certain beer styles ingrained culturally over hundreds of years, therefore making super high quality beers but with rigid rules and customs. The US never had this beer tradition, but what we lack in dedicated traditionalist brewing techniques we make up for in experimentation and the ability to go against the grain.
  32. Shanex

    Shanex Champion (839) Dec 10, 2015 France

    @Snowcrash000, thanks for the question, the french beer scene is greatly improving, and younger people (under 30) no doubt are more into beer than wine, but without veering of off topic in this thread, my friendly advice to you is to go ask in the Europe forum (https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/forums/europe.20/) about the French craft beer scene, obviously you'll get many replies from Frenchies willing to help you.
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,646) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  34. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (161) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,646) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It's all in the wrist!:stuck_out_tongue:

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  36. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Disciple (308) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    I don't believe most Germans are uber impressed with the USA craft beer scene. After living in Germany I realized most folk are very loyal and proud of their local brew. Of course they are aware of it.
  37. Cmike1992

    Cmike1992 Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2017 New Hampshire

    haha i'm an hour and a half away and i barely do it so i see the problem
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  38. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,242) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Weissbier/NEIPA hybrid = New Belgium's Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze. It's actually using a hefeweizen yeast.
  39. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Disciple (308) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

  40. Relik

    Relik Initiate (152) Apr 20, 2011 Nova Scotia (Canada)

    while i enjoy american beer; im still not sure you have a cohesive "beer/drinking" culture (it was often discussed a few years ago) my biggest point to this is you may have regional drinking practices North America (Canada included) is just not old enough to have a defined culture for drinking.
    Unlike those drinking cultures of Germany, or Belgium, the wine cultures of France, Spain, Italy; the cider cultures of the Basque Regions and Normandy blah blah blah...

    Keep doing what you are doing and it might become a culture but in my book its not there yet.