Cracking open a Bud Light after a long, hard day or ordering a draft pint while out with friends may be something you do instinctually these days. However, if you find yourself asking the bartender for their best beer recommendations because you know nothing yourself or thinking Coors Light is as good as it gets, think again. Read on to learn more about craft beer so you can amaze your bartender, and maybe pick up a different kind of six-pack for your kitchen.
The difference between craft beer and non-craft beer comes down to three qualities. According to craftbeer.com, a craft brewer is small producing 6 million barrels of beer or less. Brewers must also be independent with less than 25 percent of the brewery owned by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not also a craft brewer. Finally, the craft brewer must keep their brewing traditional getting its beer flavor from traditional brewing ingredients.
Now with this in mind there are some beers that many people think are craft beers. You may have had some of these beers yourself thinking you were finally breaking out in the craft beer scene. Think again. Here are three beers commonly mistaken for craft.
Blue Moon: Lots of people may think this is a popular craft beer but don’t let the slice of orange on the side fool you. Blue Moon is manufactured by MillerCoors, the company that makes Coors Light and other Miller products.
Leinenkugel: This popular brand pops up in bars all over the area in the summer with its Summer Shandy beer. Summer Shandy is enhanced with lemon flavor to give a fresh, crisp taste. In the fall and winter, its Orange Shandy flavor is also popular with its orange taste. But don’t be fooled, this brand is owned by SABMiller, Miller Brewing Company’s brewer.
Shock Top: It promotes itself as unfiltered wheat Belgian beer and its colorful, fruity labels give a good impression of being a fancy craft beer. Yet, Shock Top is not a craft beer. Its manufacturer Anheuser-Busch InBev also owns some beer brands you may be familiar with such as Corona Extra and Bud Light.
Now that you know what beers aren’t craft here are some true craft beers to broaden your palate.
Three Floyds Dark Lord: This is one of the more hardcore craft beers. Brewed by Three Floyds Brewing Co. in Munster, Ind. this American beer isn’t for the faint of heart. The taste is rich and hearty giving it a harsher taste than other beers. Yet, if a true craft beer experience is what you want its essential to try Dark Lord.
Allagash White Beer: If you’re looking for a craft-friendly version of Shock Top this is the beer. Allagash Brewing Company located in Maine brews its own version of a traditional Belgian wheat beer. A sip gives the flavor of wheat, coriander and Curacao orange peel for a more mellow craft beer experience.
Big Daddy IPA: Straight from Speakeasy Ales and Lagers in San Franciscoli, this beer is perfect for those who love fruit. Although still a little bitter, notes of grapefruit soften any harshness to the flavor. It’s a good craft-beer for any beginner.
So put down that Bud Light and pick up a craft beer for a new beer experience.