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. reprob8

    reprob8 Initiate (94) May 22, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    what a silly question
    DanH83, dar482 and bennetj17 like this.
  2. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,045) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Not at all.... The fact that your loaded comment was totally asinine wasn't lost on anyone.
  3. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Your claim is belied by the record.
  4. cavedave

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

    I sense white porcelain and a counter clockwise circulation in this thread.
  5. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    My only regret is that on a lot of store shelves the American craft has taken over a lot of shelf space and some retailers are only stocking the mass marketed and obvious Euro beers. So it's nice to find stores that still have just as much foreign as domestic, especially when I'm sure there are a few American craft beers that can just be filed under "why bother?" which are taking up shelf space.
  6. eduardolinhalis

    eduardolinhalis Meyvn (1,378) Jan 10, 2009 Switzerland

    I'm sorry, but this comparison doesn't makes sense. It's not a competition. The best thing in the beer world is something called "variety". Thanks God Germans do their good Lagers, Brits do their "bloody" Bitters, Belgian do their great Trappists, and etc. World would be just boring with only American IPAs in the menu... (Detail, I love the American IPAs!)
  7. Zimbo

    Zimbo Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2010 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    Yes. As I've said similarily so many times before: Beer. Its not a competition.
  8. nrs207

    nrs207 Defender (687) Sep 8, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You can only be so creative with water, malt, hops, and yeast. DFH throws some crazy shit in there, along with some other breweries, but extreme beers are creative. Last I checked putting beer in a bourbon barrel was creative when it was first being done. All creative means is an original idea. Creating extreme beers was creative when it first occurred. When all people drank was Bud, it was pretty creative to throw a monstrous imperial stout into a bourbon barrel.
  9. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    looks like the people have spoken! 'Merica wins! (lets just say that they both make great beers and everyone wins so no one's feel's get hurt)
  10. oak1971

    oak1971 Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2012 Wisconsin

    I think we are near even, but not in the same way. Innovation is an American tradition. Duplicating some European recipe from 500 years ago might sound nostalgic, but it's hard not to put your own spin on it. So we tend to dabble and experiment rather than reminisce.
  11. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (212) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    In relation to my previous post I thought this interview with the chairman of SABMiller was a pretty interesting read:

    mountsnow1010 likes this.
  12. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    have you understood nothing here?
  13. nach0king

    nach0king Aspirant (238) Apr 1, 2005 Texas

    I moved to the USA from the UK. From a UK perspective the answer is, simply and unequivocally, yes. The USA is leaving the vast majority of UK microbrewers in the dust, and even your macros are going where UK brewers (or, more accurately, marketers) fear to tread with things like Blue Moon.

    That said, someone above got it right when they said that you really need to go to the source - the source of fresh beer - if you truly want something world-class, and for all the variety on offer in the stores that can still be difficult to do in the USA simply because of its scale. But if you're in an area with a lot of brewers, problem solved.

    And someone else got it right when they said there were too many awful IPAs out there...
  14. BlowstotheBody

    BlowstotheBody Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2012 Florida

    I voted yes, but it's not so cut and dry. The US is currently the hub of experimentation and innovation in beer that is currently influencing the rest of the world, just as Europe once was. I don't think it's so much surpassing as it is a natural evolution of the craft, the States are just the current venue.
  15. eric5bellies

    eric5bellies Meyvn (1,394) Jun 9, 2006 Australia

    Firstly no European I have ever met "Idolizes" beer. The question surely must come down to what people enjoy drinking. Having tried the vast majority of syles I can honestly say I think DIPA's are overhyped/rated, that’s just my personal opinion. Impy Souts are fantastic in small quantities. Having tried all these styles I find myself returning to Tripels, Geuze's, Quads and Oud Bruin's.

    Of course the different cultures have much to do with brewing traditions. It’s no surprise that U.S. folk prefer big massive bold characteristics in beer, because thats who they are. Whereas Europeans (on the whole) tend to like more balanced subtle flavours.

    If the U.S. was ever going to put a stamp on beer it had to be innovative. What brewers did was take some traditional (some out of fashion) U.K. styles and beef up the flavours and put the word "imperial" in front the style. That by nature means that U.S. brewers are traditionally innovative. I'm guessing in 50 years’ time these styles won't be associated with the word innovative because they will be traditional by then, in the same ways as we now view Tripels, Quads and Geuzes. I imagine that once upon a time they were seen as innovative too.

    Beer is for having a good time and making friends, I have made friends through this website and that to me is more important than Beer itself, and I'll drink to that whatever the origin of beer is.
  16. VladTepes

    VladTepes Initiate (156) Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    And best Euro belgian ales.

    But yeah, you cannot say it better.
  17. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    I'll be objective as I live in Australia but have travelled extensively in Europe and the USA.

    I see the USA as the saviour to beer as it was/is in decline worldwide. Now people around the world are getting interested again. Thanks...

    I think we have a sleeping giant in Germany though. Wait until they get interested in beer again. Beer interest is restricted to the older generations there (very traditional), and I am always surprised that the classic pubs and breweries there are full of pensioners. As much as I love that stuff - I'm curious what the younger generation will be capable of. I don't think we will see it coming as it will not be a direct copy of the USA as we are seeing in other places (Aust, NZ, Scandinavia etc). They also have the advantage of very low beer taxes and no real barriers to brewing as its already a rich part of their heritage.
  18. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (826) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)

    Well, seeing how 99% of people on here are American...
  19. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Don't you think that brewers long ago weren't just as innovative? Don't look back 500 years though, no beer today is like that.All the "new" innovative beers of today existed long ago , you'll find DIPAs , Black IPAs, barrel aged stouts , hop bombs, malt bombs.What you won't find is those names.You won't find of course modern flavours as these derive from new varieties of ingredients.But they were recognisably there.
  20. deathevocation

    deathevocation Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2008 Australia

    I'm impartial being an Australian. I'll state that the US makes some of my favourite beers. In saying so, let's consider the whole beer experience (quality of brewing, styles originated and brewed, consumption, role in culture, history etc) when considering the topic at hand. I think Germany itself is at the head of the pack. I'm not a big fan of Belgium beers, but Belgium has to be up there and the UK as well. It's great that the US is stamping its footprint in the beer world though at this point of time if you asked me where I'd want to spend a beer holiday? It'll be Germany.
  21. WebparadoxDotCom

    WebparadoxDotCom Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2013

    Let's be objective. It really comes down to 2 things, 1) what beers are available for you to compare and 2) the beer culture.

    As a born and bred European who has worked in the US of A for the past 15 years, here is what I think.
    I'll start with (2). Let's estimate American beer culture. Perhaps a decade? Ok, to those with exceptionally strong feelings who'd yell "Semper Fi" at me for the blasphemy, I'd give it 2 decades. That goes against centuries of that of European. With that in mind, I'd say the ENTIRE PREMISE is similar to that of Indian wine makers asking whether their wine has surpassed that of France. LET'S LAUGH (And puh puh please spatre me the rhetorics). Those who tell me that American beer in general has surpassed European makes me want to just dismiss it for the next 500 years. And (1) answers why. Unlike the USA, European countries never export their best. They export their surpass (read "nobody wants") and durable (read "lots of preservatives"). First comes from cheap production of "export models" and second comes for maintaning a stable reputaions among inferior cultures. This goea for all. Weapons, Persian rugs, caviar, wines and of course beers. What this means is that what you, Americans get on your shelves is similar to what's exported to European countries as American beer - Budweiser. Miller. Coors. Collectively known as "crap". So, lets compare crappy European beers with crappy American ones. I'd say latter doesn't qualify for beer at all for it's a category of its own closer to piss. Naturally, you'd like to compare microbrewry beers made in USA against those in Europe. For that you actually have to grab a few bottles of your favorite American beer, jump on the plane, go to Czech ( I was actually amused by one of the Beer Advocators surprise as to how Czech beer ever made it anywhere ), Anywhere in UK, Germany, even Russia, and bring a bottle of what you consider a comparable domestic US beer to compare. Then we'll talk. Unless you've done that and hold your point, like I said, your country has been found wanting in that respect for the next few centuries :wink:
  22. spicoli00

    spicoli00 Zealot (557) Jul 6, 2005 Indiana

    This is like asking if Japanese porn has exceeded German porn.
  23. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    This is not an unamicable forum at its root. Regardless of how things develop over time, we generally do not start out with the intention of discussion through division. I'm not saying I'm disagreeing with some of your sentiment here, just your delivery.
    First post. Bad start. Welcome to BeerAdvocate
  24. jjchristiano

    jjchristiano Aspirant (263) Sep 24, 2009 New Jersey

    Corvette or BMW 7 series?
    The Europeans are consistently striving for a higher standard. But the Americans by experimentation have created some really world class exceptional beverages. And even Bitburger and Warsteiner are much better than Bud and Miller so their BMC are better than ours.
  25. tzieser

    tzieser Savant (922) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I voted euro. America has them beat as far as creativity and stuff but as far as consistency and pure passion for beer goes, i still think the Germans still do it best. Beer is part of life and culture there. It will never be that way in America in my opinion.
  26. beerme411

    beerme411 Initiate (0) Sep 28, 2010 California

    Well it would be a whole new ballgame if the Japanese ditch the censorship :wink:.

    Or at least changed their laws so their micro-brews weren't so expensive. With their focus on economic revival I hope they'll make more beer friendly laws.
  27. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    I'm reminded of a tale about a street full of stores with posters outside. One proclaimed "Best prices in the town" , the next said "Best prices in the state" and so on through "country" "continent" and "Universe"
    The last simply said "Best prices in this street"

    It's really a matter of what you want and whether you can get it. I have no interest in strong beers whether barrel aged or otherwise.What I do want is only available here and I'm happy with it.
  28. VitisVinifera

    VitisVinifera Initiate (94) Feb 25, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    I won't say yes or no, as beer preferences are entirely personal. But I do have a new insight that sheds light for me. I came back a week and a half ago from a full month in Europe, including several days in London entering every authentic-looking pub and trying their ales, and in Bavaria including Regensberg and Bamberg (the home of rauchbiers) and Austria and I can say, while I found many beers there i liked a lot, I was really looking forward to coming back and having some of the American beers and styles I do prefer.
    cavedave likes this.
  29. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    Beer ain't no contest. You like what you like, and everybody makes it. Choose your own favorites.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  30. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2005 Connecticut

    The question itself and many answers show a complete lack of perspective.

    - Europe in general has been brewing beer longer than this country was around
    - Prohibition and Big Beer did something to this country's beer culture that took a long time to recover from
    - In general, we cannot match the well crafted, lower ABV beauty of English Ales
    - In general, we cannot match the beauty of Belgian Beer, remarkably consistent.
    - We have are doing things in this country that others are emulating all over. Thornbridge in England is brewing magnificent beer that is not traditional English Beer.
    - There are plenty of Magnificent IPAs coming out of Europe, Omnipollo stounds out right now. AND they are doing it showing the beauty of the hops without making bitter bombs.
    - Find me better Lagers and Hefe than Germany has to offer?!

    So who is better? Nobody.

    My 2 pennies...
    cavedave likes this.
  31. cavedave

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

    I totally agree, no one is better for the reasons you state and a few others.

    Another thing makes the question skewed and unfair is this. It is like asking who makes the best _________________. Is it that large family of creative folks who have an amazingly large and varied tract of land, have the best conditions to make products, and are united by their common family name? Or is it that group of strangers with tiny little tracts of land who are united by a common hatred for each other that goes back centuries if not millenia, and are united only by a word, such as Europe, that is meaningless and belies the true nature of their relationships?

    Add to this that tradition is in many ways the opposite of variety and innovation, and your definition to choose the best __________________ will need to decide if variety and innovation is a better determinant than tradition and singlemindedness of purpose?
  32. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    I love tradition. I also love innovation. The Germans, Brits, Czechs and Belgians will forever be known as fine purveyors of beer. My fellow Americans are also great brewers. There is room for all of us.
  33. Flashy

    Flashy Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2003 Vermont

    I think America is on the way up and Europe on the way down (in more than one way). Europe excels in locally brewed lagers for sure- but are the young people buying? Never forget the sight of Irish people probably holding up a Bud long neck as a status symbol in bars. How many local breweries in the US have opened in the past decade and how many have closed in Europe? That would be your answer.
  34. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    This of course assumes that old world brewers are confined by their traditions and from what I see in these parts this is by no means the case.Brewers have embraced change while at the same time have continued with their incomparable versions of traditional beers.The British brewing scene is unrecognisably different from what it was not that long ago.
    It's not a level playing field because beer in these parts is firmly a drinking beverage and certainly not a sipping one.That's why session beers dominate the market although generally done very well.British beer enthusiasts don't on the whole spend time at home drinking one,two or a few tiny bottles.They go out and drink pints and this dictates the brewing emphasis.
  35. Ahappyhiker2

    Ahappyhiker2 Initiate (93) Mar 27, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Yes. Just my opinion and I drink 90% American beer, but I think as far as barrel-aging and overall variety, American beer is more suitable to my needs. I still enjoy a lot of stuff from overseas, and I have a lot of respect for those who started something great.
  36. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    I don't know about the rest of Europe but the UK now has 1100 breweries for 60 million inhabitants spread over an area the size of Oregon. Rapidly increasing year on year and double the number 10 years ago.
    Flashy likes this.
  37. mmmbirra

    mmmbirra Aspirant (208) Apr 19, 2009 Italy

    Europe is a big place, with many different cultures, and while beer consumption may be decreasing in many European nations, it's increasing in Italy, as is general knowledge of, and interest in, craft beer styles. www.microbirrifici.org lists over 500 Italian craft breweries, most of which have opened in the past 10 years. Where I live, 5 years ago there was virtually no craft beer in the city, and just a month ago the 6th(and probably best) exclusively craft beer bar opened up in the center, with a nice little brewpub also opening just a few blocks away. Quite a few little bars also carry an Italian craft on tap, or at the least a nice German lager like Augustiner.
    Things are changing for the better here.
    Flashy likes this.
  38. cavedave

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

    Yes, you're certainly catching up to us, I say realizing the irony of the statement.

    I don't believe there are enough customers and regions in your tiny country to compete with us in this way of new trends and innovation. I can name as many, or more, styles made well in my own state than you can name in your whole country. I think New York State barely is number ten on that list of top craft beer states here. Here is what is currently available at just one of our locals. Trust me, they all are amazing! BTW a few of those, like World's End, and Midnight Toker are so new and innovative we just picked out the closest existing styles to categorize. Cheers!

    The spice of life
  39. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    No, one thing is that we have established tastes.It's so easy to get good beer that the lack of style variety isn't an issue.One thing that doesn't sell is strong beer, except in tiny volumes.I know of two brewers who have had to reduce their ABV simply to sell the stuff! But we have a pretty wide range available all the same from milds through to black IPA , wheat beers are starting to reappear , stouts and porters and so on. Be sure that if the demand is there we have the brewers to meet it.Plus the best malting barley on the planet to brew it with.Though hops have to be bought in :slight_smile:
    cavedave likes this.
  40. cavedave

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

    Indeed. While I am proud of our brewers, I long for the sort of culture you take for granted.

    We are starting to appreciate the subtler styles but still finding our way through a temporary love of the big and bold. I believe we are trending to demanding more simple sour beers, coffee infused beers of all styles, and appreciation of milds and bitters. At our hb club we all speak of learning to do "English Style", and appreciate the skill level necessary to do them right.

    I have no doubt that were your fellow beer lovers to demand it, your brewers could flawlessly make whatever style were asked of them. I am hoping that next generation of brewers here, just now entering the fray, will be able to have that same compliment given honestly about them.:slight_smile:
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