Has American Craft Beer exceeded European Beer.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BreakingBad, Nov 19, 2012.


Has American Craft beer surpassed European beer?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    My travels to the UK (frequent trips to London and some trips outside of London and also Edinburgh) were quite some time ago so maybe they are not 100% relevant but it was my experience that the pub is just as important as the brewery or particular beer. My personal favorite beer was Bass on cask (a totally different beer from the bottled version). I had good Bass on cask at some pubs and less stellar Bass on cask at other pubs. Later in my beer drinking ‘career’ I learned how important proper cellaring is to the taste of cask ale.

    My drinking experiences lead me to become a homebrewer. I brewed my first beer in 1995: Munton’s Traditional Bitter. I have brewed a Bitter Ale at least once a year since 1995. A fresh Bitter Ale with flavors from a characterful English yeast strain and East Kent Golding hops is a beer of beauty!

    cavedave likes this.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, for some reason Brooklyn charged a ‘pretty penny’ for that beer.

    Southampton and Triumph have more reasonably priced Keller beer.


    P.S. When you win the lottery you will get a growler. When I win the lottery I am traveling to Germany! Woo-Hoo!
  3. HenrikO

    HenrikO Initiate (0) Jun 19, 2011 Sweden

    I know very little of what if any of the smaller Euro breweries get exported to the US. Do you get Alvinne, Emelisse, Fantome, De Dolle, Jandrain Jandrouille or Viven in the US? They would be in the spirit of what you are looking for, I think.
  4. RichardMNixon

    RichardMNixon Zealot (515) Jun 24, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Fantome is the only one I've heard of, but I've never seen it. That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about though, thanks. I'll keep my eye out for those.
  5. highdesertdrinker

    highdesertdrinker Disciple (371) Nov 5, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I think the American craft breweries are creating hybrid styles with and without intent. SN Kellerweis is not a true "hef" to me in the traditional sense but more of a cross between a hef and a Belgian Pale Ale but it is delicious nonetheless. The New Belgium Trippel is also another beer that has elements of what they were trying to replicate and is tasty and potent but is really a new style that stands on it's own merits. That's the difference in a nutshell to me; if I want the old standard bearers I'll buy the imports, and I'll go American Craft if I want a new twist on the old favorites or something entirely new altogether.
  6. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,292) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I have tried Emelisse, but don't remember much, DeDolle is excellent and is easily available, Fantome is one of my favorites, though it has been hard to get locally lately. I have never tried or seen Jandrain, Jandrouille, or Viven but I will certainly look out for them now!
  7. HenrikO

    HenrikO Initiate (0) Jun 19, 2011 Sweden

    Emelisse is getting better and better. They did a series of barrel aged imperial stouts recently that all are wonderful. NB Jandrain Jandrouille is one brewery, not two.
  8. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Here's a sub-question to the original post (which is bound to elicit wailing and gnashing of teeth) -- how many of you who voted "yes" have actually ever sampled a European beer at its source? And thus can compare it to a same or similar style brewed here in the U.S.

    Or, as I'm alluding, are you mostly voting on blind patriotism (if not prejudice)?
    dennis3951 and herrburgess like this.
  9. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,035) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I fear they might have long since moved on to vote in the "Top 10 global travel destinations as determined by people who have never left their home country" poll.
  10. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Well Hell, I can't vote in that one. :wink:

    Well... not honestly anyway! :grinning:
  11. cinghialetwo

    cinghialetwo Initiate (0) Oct 20, 2012

    One time ago, a French friend said "the best pizza are made in France"
    My answer:"Is possible!" . For his taste are the best for my taste are the worst....What I mean everybody trust to arrive at the best beer, but for her consumers. If consumers are local, is good, if consumers are in a State is very good, if consumers are in some continents is apoteosi
    cardern and Giovannilucano like this.
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have had beer in the UK (England and Scotland).

    I have had beer in Belgium (Brussels).

    I have had beer in Italy (Rome).

    I have had beer in Norway (Oslo).

    Am I ‘allowed’ to vote “yes” to US craft brewed beer!?!

    cavedave likes this.
  13. marquis

    marquis Crusader (744) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    It's worth bearing in mind that "styles" are a recent concept , brewing is and always has been in a constant change.It isn't possible to tie down a "true style" in most cases. What's a true mild or IPA in the traditional sense?
    cavedave likes this.
  14. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (447) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    Well, a very hearty thank you for those who do adore the Italian craft! It means a lot to change the perception and understanding to those who do not know....

    To say it again and again, when total invasion of Italian arrives at its peak, it was the few like me who knew the power of it! :grinning: I seriously see the Italian section at the Wine Works growing in EPIC proportions and surprises even me!

    Now, it is time for a Brown Shugga!
  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    One down, 210 sets of feathers to ruffle.

    Jack -- you never seem as touchy and defensive as you seem when you respond to me. Sorry to set your hair on fire, but you knew who I was calling out.
  16. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Just had a Celebration myself, blasphemy for sure -- but with beer, there are too many good ones to take hard-line sides.
    Giovannilucano likes this.
  17. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Loaded question, but I'll indulge: Yes I have, and my distaste grew even further having it at the source. This general myth about stuff that sucks not sucking if it is in a more rare form doesn't work for me. But it sounds fun, so let me try it:

    How many of you voting against having a sex offender work at your children's daycare, have ever had a sex offender provide daycare to your children? Or are you voting mostly on blind preference for your children not being cared for by sex offenders (if not prejudice)?
  18. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (791) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I have never been to Europe. I voted yes based on bottled and tap beer i've drunk in the USA. I have no doubt European beer is better in Europe but i'm not going to go there to find out.
  19. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,292) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I have had a beer offender at work that became sex, does that count?:wink:
  20. rrryanc

    rrryanc Disciple (310) May 19, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Make that 209, as I've stated earlier in the thread. While Italian beer is certainly getting better, the good stuff isn't the easiest to find. Portugal, like I said earlier, might as well be a beer wasteland from what I could determine. Spain and Italy are still wine countries. Easy to dismiss those as bad beer countries, but they're a large part of Europe too. Care to compare only the beer-centric regions of America with those in Europe?

    Additionally, I think Americans value diversity in the beer more than Europeans. Sitting down at a bar, looking at the bartender, lifting a finger and getting served one of the two beers available holds pretty much no appeal to me. I want a variety of flavors. I want my hops pallette-wrecking, my stouts roasty and my sours puckering. I'd rather have one flavor-packed beer that's 13% than 10 mild beers that are 4%.
  21. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,292) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Since it has been brought up, and I don't know an easy way to find out: How many American beers make it to Europe? How many Europeans have no clue about what is going on in America?

    It's been brought up "shoulda visited Belgium, shoulda visited UK, shoulda visited Germany, shoulda tried the beer at the source." These comments are correct. For the record Belgium. UK, and Germany are the sizes of states in our country of 50 states.

    We get a good variety of beers from Europe that, according to what many say, are some fine ones from those countries. Do they get much from us?

    And even if they do, the idea of some one, any one, being able to try representative brews of the best USA has to offer...well, it would take a dedicated and hard trading serious BA beer geek who lives in a good distro state in this country, like many on this site. The idea that a European, even one who has visited, even one who has made a few trades, could possibly have any clue at all about the breadth and depth of our brewers is ludicrous.

    I'd bet there are the most precious few people in Europe who possibly could have a clue.

    That said, I think the world itself is poised to enter the new beer revolution, when fine beer of luscious body, striking flavor, and beautiful artistry becomes as common to us all that the thought of who is best never occurs to any of us. One thing is obvious, that day is coming.

    PABSTMASTER Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Hahaha! Beer = good.......period! LONG LIVE BEER.
    cavedave likes this.
  23. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I picked "No" strictly due to Belgium and Germany, and strictly referring to quality. Beers from those countries consistently rate higher in quality and execution than most beers in the US, at least IMO. Too many ridiculous no talent ass clowns over here trying to cram as many hop pellets as they can into a bottle.
    keithmurray likes this.
  24. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    You're kidding, right? Could you be any more off base -- let alone inane. I guess you prove my theory about lack of real thinking around here. :astonished:

    Such an offensive comparison may have made you my first official "ignore" candidate at BA. Sex offender to lack of experience beer drinker -- yeah, classy.
    StarRanger and herrburgess like this.
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Beerandraiderfan, permit me to provide some advice. Do not respond with a message with a winky face. It has been my experience that only one BA is ‘allowed’ to use that emoticon.

    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  26. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada


    You do realize I was mirroring your tactic (re: loaded questions) to show its absurdity? Prolly why you left that part out of the quote you replied to (rather than ignored).

    While I'm here. . . you uh, realize that hitting reply, then replying, is very different from ignoring?
  27. IamMe90

    IamMe90 Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2012 Wisconsin

    Unfortunately, as steveh implied, the extent to which your question was loaded was FAR greater than his. It was a dishonest "tactic" - saying that one should have more experience in tasting beer from Europe before voting on a poll about whether or not American beer is better than European beer, is frankly extremely less retarded than saying that one should have experience with a sex offender working at your child's daycare before commenting on whether or not sex offenders should work at daycares. There isn't even an analogy between the two, the comparison is totally asinine.
    StarRanger and herrburgess like this.
  28. Ruds

    Ruds Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    London has really turned itself around and into a world class craft beer destination over the last 2 to 3 years

    7 years ago it was pretty average TBH

    And always prior research is a must, there are around 7,000 pubs in London, the vast majority mediocre in terms of beer choice and quality

    I frequent no more than a dozen from the 7,000!
  29. Ruds

    Ruds Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    This recent thread is a pretty accurate list of the US stuff we get in the UK


    And you're correct about most Europeans not having a clue about beer in the US (and vice versa applies probably to a lesser extent to be fair to the US beer geeks I've met! )

    That's why I always stress the importance of travel (and not just one trip) when I talk about knowledge of other beers scenes/countries and that only helps a little - there is just so much to know !

    I flew back from Seattle the weekend before last after a weeks vacation dedicated to beer (largely around Portland OR).

    Washington was the 30th state I've set foot in and I still feel I am merely scratching the surface in terms of my US craft beer knowledge.
    cardern, cavedave and herrburgess like this.
  30. omnigrits

    omnigrits Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2006 Texas

    Even with the two qualifications you listed that's a huge generalisation. Would you like to include 'even one who has lived here for 13 years'? Even before I came to live here I was a frequent visitor and one who actively sought out good American beer, and people who could clue me in about it. I can't believe I'm the only one. As a result I know far more about US beer culture than I do about Belgian or German. Full disclosure: I've been professionally involved in the US beer business for the past seven years.

    True, anyone from the US who has only experienced beer through European imports and vice versa can't fully appreciate the beer culture of the other, but any active European BA must be aware of the amazing richness of US beer, its variety and quality these days because of these forums and the handful of US beers they may or may not have an opportunity to try. The other way round maybe not so much because this is a predominantly American website. Either way, I can't accept the idea that you have to live here to know that the US craft beer industry is the most vibrant and innovative one in the world. However, because the initial question was posed without context we don't know if that's what the OP was asking:
    herrburgess likes this.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is a valid point that the OP did not contain a 100% concrete metric for determining the answer to the poll. Having stated that he did indeed opine:

    “I know people idolize European beer like there is some magic voodoo that makes it taste amazing but I feel that they are afraid to experiment with really big beers and just stick to old recipes (don't get me wrong some of those recipes are damn good).”

    You could read the above to be a metric of experimental and big beers with doing something ‘new’ being a plus.

    I would suggest that BAs cast their votes and please post how and why they made their determination. I made a previous post that a metric that is important to me is a diversity of beer styles (with those beers being of high quality):

    “I truly believe that we have the best (in quality and diversity) beers here in the US. Just my humble opinion.”

  32. HenrikO

    HenrikO Initiate (0) Jun 19, 2011 Sweden

    I agree with this, and I am someone who travels to the US regularly, buys whatever US craft he can get his hands on over here ("here" is London, one of the best cities in Europe for US craft), and who trades, too. I constantly hear about breweries here and on RB that I want to try and that I've never heard of before, and I know that there are many excellent breweries that barely make it out of their home state! My sister-in-law (I'm married to an American) brought some Southampton Publick House beers when she visited and my mother-in-law has promised to bring some Elevated IPA from La Cumbre (none of which have Euro distribution) - but Lord, think of all the ones I'm missing! Just like the UK is associated with "traditional" low-ABV beers from a "limited" amount of styles, many people - even people who know more than average about beer - associate the US with big IPAs and big Imperial Stouts and not much else, which I know is just wrong (factoid: more different Berliner Weisses are made in the US than in Germany).

    I want to learn _more_ about US brewing - I can't get enough! What am I missing?

    Breweries that have at least some limited (sometimes only occasional) distro over here include but are not limited to (not including Coors, Miller etc) Stone, Sierra Nevada, Bear Republic, Ska, Left Hand, Flying Dog, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, Avery, AleSmith, Boston Beer Company, Anchor Steam, Brooklyn, Westbrook, Drakes, Green Flash, Indigo Imp, Odell, Uinta, Victory, Element, Epic, Jolly Pumpkin, Kona, Maui, Sly Fox, Pretty Things, Stillwater, Clown Shoes, Against the Grain, Bruery, Weyerbacher, Kuhnhenn, Shipyard, Fordham, Founders, Dominion, Beer Valley, Anchorage, MateVeza, Rogue, Southern Tier, Hoppin Frog, Dark Horse, Jester King, Cigar City (too little!), Magic Hat, Pyramid, Cambridge, Smuttynose, Pretty Things, Captain Lawrence, Three Floyds (too little!), North Coast, Anderson Valley, Lone Star, plus a whole slew of others.
    cardern and cavedave like this.
  33. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,035) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Good stuff. Perhaps the wide-eyed, genuine curiosity that used to be the exclusive domain of so-called naive Americans has finally found its way across the Atlantic! Topsy turvy beer world we seem to be living in....
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Firstly, permit me to commend you on your ability to obtain quality US craft brewed beers. Your list is impressive!

    I will provide some more US craft breweries that I have a high opinion of that is not on the list you provided (I am unsure how easily you could obtain beers from these breweries): Russian River, Firestone Walker, Hill Farmstead, Bell’s, New Holland, The Alchemist, Great Lakes, Ithaca, Troegs, Deschutes, Alpine, Ballast Point, Stoudt’s, New Glarus ...


    P.S. You listed Pretty Things twice but that is OK. It could be argued it should be mentioned twice!
  35. HenrikO

    HenrikO Initiate (0) Jun 19, 2011 Sweden

    Not all of the ones I listed are available all the time and nor are all of their offerings available (no KBS/CBS from Founders, for example). I've also seen The Alchemist and Ballast Point, now that you mention it - but I think the Heady Topper was a very limited import here, and it's certainly not a regular (I've only seen it once). New Glarus I've sampled elsewhere and I'm currently trading for some Deschutes and possibly Alpine - good to hear I'm not totally off the mark!
    cavedave likes this.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “Heady Topper was a very limited import here ..”

    Heady Topper is a very limited import for me (the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area). This past spring The Alchemist ‘exported’ a very limited amount of Heady Topper to Philadelphia and New York City during the Vermont mud season. On a Tuesday (I can’t recall the month) I had the drive to three beer places (Whole Foods, a beer distributor and then Capone’s) to ‘find’ this beer and all I got was two cans of Heady Topper (at 5 bucks a can). I was told later by the beer dude at Whole Foods that I was extremely lucky. What!?! $10.00 plus I don’t know how much gas money to get two cans of beer!?!

    The Heady Topper was OUTSTANDING but the US craft brewed beer scene can get crazy at times (and yes. I recognize that I am part of the craziness problem).

    cavedave likes this.
  37. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Yeah, that was the point, which I guess got lost on a few people. I can ask loaded questions too.
  38. IamMe90

    IamMe90 Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2012 Wisconsin

    I think you're missing the point. Asking a ridiculously loaded question to point out the fact that someone else was using a ridiculously loaded question requires them to have used a ridiculously loaded question. And their question wasn't ridiculously loaded, only yours was. The comparison SHOULDN'T be asinine if you're using the question to point out how stupid their question was.
  39. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    I disagree. Its been quite effective in matters of life and death frankly.
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