First off you should go to this. It's a big event for Lakewood and is going to have so much awesome going on it's unbelievable. You can buy tickets at the event, online or at World of Beer and Rozis! Go here for more information!
I wrote part of this a little while back and decided to turn it into a blog. I should have some pictures up after the event.
Over the past decade the craft beer industry has rapidly expanded. There are a number of reasons for this growth, including directly introducing brands to local markets, the rise of home brewing, and the unifying of craft beers as a market. These factors combine to make a product market that has moved beyond a simple fad and becomes a part of our edible culture.
Why is craft beer different than your regular domestics? The first reason is purpose. Craft beer aims to be tasted. They describe their beers with words like hoppy, malty, piney, bittersweet. Domestic beers goal is maximum drinkabilty and depict themselves as what people like you drink. They instead represent themselves with words like crisp, refreshing, and nondescript flavor word like superior and flavorful. At this point the domestics usually detour to their cool cans, history or effect on your lifestyle. The second is fizz. A proper craft beer and basically all home brewed beer gets its fizz from the gasses released by the yeast. This means that the beer has a life form continuing to ferment, adding alcohol and fizz for the lifetime of the beer (up to 5 years) Obviously, domestic beers ferment their beer as well or else it would simply be gross grain juice. However, your domestic beers are more likely to kill their beer and then carbonate it like a Coke. The farther you attempt to compare the two the more you see the same differences you find with any products that are made both in factories and by artisans. Examples include store bought and baker made bread, prepackaged and butcher cut meats, and of course Amish vs IKEA furniture.
The most important difference you will find between the craft breweries and the large corporate brewers is...well, it's beer. Craft beer is not made in the cheapest way possible. It's not made to give you something to drink with the fewest calories imaginable. It's not a “lifesytle choice.” It does not strive to be the most flavorful beer tasting alcoholic beverage. Craft beer is beer.
It's not simply that craft beer tastes better and has an alcohol content higher than NyQuil. Craft beer has become part of our culture. It has entered the standard guy conversational topics, like cars and sports have in the past. (*Women can, do and should like beer just as much as guys. Awesome has no boundaries.) Networking no longer needs to be on the golf course, but now takes us to the craft breweries and gastropubs. When we are expanding our business, we no longer have to worry about sweating out in the sun carrying a bag full of steel but instead share an experience with our associates with a mug full of a cool, unique lager. It has become the wine of the common and not so common man.
Craft beer is a reflection of the state of Ohio. The grain we grow over a vast section of the state. It is our ingenuity at the building of industries, like our expanding automotive that should no longer exist. We yearn to create superior products and work hard to get ourselves success. It creates a community of growers, builders, crafters, family members, friends and drinkers. Craft beer brings these elements together into something that is more that just alcohol, it's Ohio.