The Renaissance Of American Craft Beer

With John Harwood in for Tom Ashbrook.

A look and a taste of American craft beer, in its renaissance.

NYC Craft Beer Week 2009 (Flickr/ZagatBuzz)

NYC Craft Beer Week 2009 (Flickr/ZagatBuzz)

For a growing number of Americans, “This Bud’s NOT for you.” That’s because the relatively new phenomenon of craft beers is reshaping the industry – putting distinctive brews with unconventional flavors in competition with familiar name brand giants. It’s less than 10% of all beer sold in the country, but growing fast. Are you part of their target audience? Are the big brands too dull for your tastes? How about a little garlic beer? Or would you prefer coffee flavor?

This hour, On Point: we quench our thirst to learn about craft beers.


Andy Crouch, author of, “Great American Craft Beer”  and “The Good Beer Guide to New England.” He is also a columnist for BeerAdvocate Magazine. (@BeerScribe)

Barnaby Struve, Vice President of 3 Floyds Brewing Company, in Munster, Indiana.

Tonya Cornett, Brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing Company in Bend, Oregon. She is the only woman to have received the Brewmaster Award at the Annual World Beer Cup competition, winning in 2008. (@Chickbrewer)

From the Reading List

Time: You’ll Never Guess Where the Nation’s Best Craft Beer Is Brewed — “The top 25 also includes the nation’s three largest craft brewers, the Boston Beer Company (maker of Samuel Adams), California’s Sierra Nevada, and Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing, ranking on TheDailyMeal’s list at #20, #10, and #6, respectively. Surely, there will be plenty of discussion concerning whether Dogfish Head is truly the nation’s best craft brewer, and what terrific craft brewers didn’t made the cut. Of the nation’s top three craft brewing states per capita (Vermont, Oregon, Montana), there is just one representative on the list: Rogues Ales, based in Portland, Ore.”

Draft Magazine: Will it fall? A look at America’s brewery boom — “Here is a picture of our brewing nation: Prolific taphouses multiply, while both upscale restaurants and corner dives add drafts and bottle lists. Those lists often feature new names, as different towns and neighborhoods—many of which never had breweries before—get their own microbreweries or brewpubs. Those that already had breweries are getting more, becoming destination areas for savvy drinkers. Meanwhile, shops are packing their shelves with more brands from near and far. More, more and more. Happy times, right? So why do the folks who make and sell this stuff seem so, well, nervous?”

The New York Times:  For Craft Brewers, New Law Opens Door to Competitive Market – “The efforts of Infamous Brewing and other craft brewers to gain a foothold in the Texas market received help this year with the biggest legislative overhaul the industry has seen in 20 years. Lawmakers this year approved legislation that allows small breweries to sell their products to customers to drink in the brewery’s tasting room. The old law prohibited any direct sales by a brewery, requiring samples to be free. Now these breweries can sell up to 5,000 barrels at in-house bars and beer gardens.”

John’s Craft Beer List

On air, guest host John Harwood sampled:

Notch Brewing Session Ale (Ipswich, MA)
Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils (Longmont, Colorado)
Dogfish Head Festina Peche (Milton, Delaware)
Ballast Point Brewing Sculpin IPA (San Diego, CA)
Berkshire Brewing Coffeehouse Porter (South Deerfield, MA)

Our beer samples. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Our beer samples. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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