Today vs 5 years ago: Way more beer, way more breweries, better distro, much younger crowd (craft beer is exploding in the 20-something crowd). Craft is on tap everywhere. The more limited stuff is infinitely harder to get, but, there is more "top 1%" beer to be had that kind of balances that out. The biggest things are really that a) craft beer is a bit faddish at the moment, and it remains to be seen if that holds or not. And b) there is a genuine rat race for everything beer related - be it the next limited release, tickets to Extreme Beer Fest, 2 hour long lines at Hill Farmstead... beer has become the end goal, rather than an accent to the adventure. The shelves were paved with as much Fou Foune and other Cantillons as you wanted, but it was a rare purchase because $12 was way too much to pay for a bottle of beer. Today vs 10-15 years ago (things didn't change much during those years): "Rare" beer was stuff we take for granted today like Unibroue, Delirium, Chimay, etc. Everything "fancy" was called a microbrew. "Beer bars" were far and few in between, and even many of the ones in existence served some non-craft stuff. The large bottle culture didn't really exist yet, almost everything was 6/12 packs. No online discussions or reviews or anything - you bought everything based on packaging, experience, and/or word of mouth. Choices were minimal and destination beer stores weren't a thing yet. At a nice restaurant you drank wine, no exceptions. I can't speak to much longer than that - only been drinking craft for maybe 17 years or so... Interestingly, the three time periods have definitely been very different and very distinct. 5 years ago was much better than 10+, no question about that. Today vs 5 years ago is the more challenging question. Lots of things are better, and lots of things are worse. Ultimately I think we're in a better spot today, though in some ways the "golden era" is over, whereby everything you wanted was at your finger tips but it wasn't popular enough yet that you had to worry about it.