THE GREAT EXPERIMENT
Craft beer is easily the most exciting beverage you can expose your senses to.
Explore the artisanal and creative twists to the oft-understated beer.
Beer has always been underrated in the world of fine alcohol. Wine and spirits, with their long production processes and even longer stories, dominate the luxury market, while beer – which most people tend to associate with college students and coffee-shop uncles – is, at best, a filler tipple.
And then came the craft-beer revolution. By the mid-noughties, beer giants who gave us crowd-pleasing yet slightly insipid brews were now in competition with independent, small-batch brewers who were boldly redefining beer making.
Now, there are beers with a whole larder’s worth of ingredients in them, beers with so much hops (the flowers that give beer its bitter taste) that demand for them is actually causing a worldwide hops shortage, and even beers that have been aged as long as wine.
“Since the dawn of the Internet, the movement of individualism has gained ground in every aspect of society, and craft beer is a perfect avenue to celebrate uniqueness,” says Yeo King Joey, brewmaster of The 1925 Brewing Co. “Craft beer has become a more emotional purchase than any other F&B product, and brewers now achieve almost celebrity status simply because their products find collective favour among people.”
Craft beer is also much more versatile as an accompaniment to food, since almost every beer flavour can be made available. Microbreweries like The 1925 Brewing Co, Level33 and Tawandang Microbrewery place just as much focus on their food menu as they do their beer menu, often with pairing suggestions.
But with the mind-boggling selection out there, where does one start? “It can be a little daunting, but there are really just five to seven base styles that you can start becoming familiar with. And then, with trial and error, you begin to understand what your palate prefers,” advises Jos Ruffell of New Zealand microbrewery Garage Project. “But it’s important to remember that your tastes will develop and evolve. On top of that, beer is constantly changing as we continue to push new boundaries, so there will be an endless stream of new beers to try.”
And that is, ultimately, the beauty of craft beer: Its journey and the boundless possibilities. It’s a community of renegades who refuse to play by the old rules. There is no beer too weird for someone to craft, so if your dream brew doesn’t exist yet, trust that it will.
VARIETY FINDS FAVOUR Boutique breweries such as The 1925 Brewing Co are amassing fans who appreciate the unique taste of their beverages.