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Why I love Micros!

Updated: Sep 4, 2018

I have an affinity for craft beer that started in college when I worked at one of the largest independent micro-breweries on the West Coast. There is nothing that beats a well-deserved cold IPA after a long day of workouts, kids, jobs, dishes and laundry. Let me tell you why I love them so much!

1. Supporting Local Business

According to the Brewers Association, the majority of Americans now live within 10 miles of a craft brewery. Buy local and more money stays closer to home, which not only helps your local brewers brew more of the beer you love, but it also supports your local economy.

Going local gives you the opportunity to drink the freshest, best-tasting beer, but also make connections, meet the brewers, and contribute to something built out of passion. Also, many craft breweries are very supportive of their communities; using locally sourced ingredients, giving time and effort to help host events, and funding local charities. Now, who doesn’t want to be a part of helping their “home” thrive? Silly question isn’t it? I know.

2. Sustainability

Most craft brewers have an environmental "bent" in doing their craft in a sustainable way. From using composting to providing spent grain to farmers; using equipment and practices that take less resources to using alternative sources of energy, these breweries have more in mind than how much money they can make. And even you are part of it. Every time you take that reusable growler or fill your keg locally you are helping to decrease energy usage and waste.

3. More and more

There is more selection, more styles, and more love in the craft beer world then you will ever find in the big beer world. There’s a reason “craft” is in the name. How many styles of beer do big commercial beer companies make? Think about it for a moment.

Now, think of how many styles and variations are available at your small local brewery. There are currently 9 local breweries in my 45,000 person town (Bozeman, MT). I can walk into any one of them and find variations of stout, saison, amber, IPA, kolsch and porter - each ready to match a different mood.

Then there’s the love of the craft. Just about every professional craft brewer I know started as a home brewer and loves to experiment, stretch the craft, always toward something new but awesome. You won’t find that kind of environment in the macro breweries where the innovation or “craft” is irrelevant to the bottom line. Your average beer takes four ingredients: water, grains, hops, and yeast. It’s not rocket science. But odds are your local brewery uses higher quality, fresher, and sometimes even locally-grown or organic

4. Better Ingredients

Your average beer takes four ingredients: water, grains, hops, and yeast. It’s not rocket science. But odds are your local brewery uses higher quality, fresher, and sometimes even locally-grown or organic ingredients. Go into your local brewery and 9 times out of 10 the brewer will be more than happy to take you back and let you actually handle, smell, and taste the ingredients they use. It’s rare that a brew master turns down a request to showcase the ingredients they utilize to make their beer.

Beyond quality, and possibly of more importance, is the question of what else is going into that big beer brew. Concerns have been raised, most publicly by food blogger Vani Hari, over the possibility of some macro beers containing additives such as corn syrup, caramel coloring, and propylene glycol alginate.

5. Nutrition / Health Benefits

Much has been made about the health benefits of drinking wine, but research has shown that beer carries most of these same benefits, though to a somewhat lesser degree. There are a couple things beer even trumps wine on. Beer contains more protein and vitamin B and the antioxidant makeup of beer, though different from wine, is equivalent.

It is also a rich source of silicon and new research points to hops as a possible guard against cognitive decline. But remember these health benefits will fluctuate with ingredient quality and brewing practices. Have you ever seen a macro brewer leave any nutrition rich yeast in a bottle?

Drink micros and feel better about what you’re getting out of it. However, please don’t misinterpret this as a new “diet fad" - drinking in moderation, along with a balanced diet and regular exercise may have some health benefits, but binge-drinking without the latter has the exact opposite effect on your health. Moderation is key.

6. Seasonals

Who wants to drink a light American lager in the dead of winter? That’s, in large part, all the national big breweries offer. And if you raised your hand, you’ve obviously never sipped on a snifter of barrel aged stout on a cold winter’s night or ushered in Fall with the deep richness of a Märzen or pumpkin beer. Craft brewers have seasonals, making certain styles for certain seasons, or using ingredients that are in season. There are seasonal’s I excitedly wait for every year, and the waiting makes them all that much better.

BONUS — 7. Taste

IT TASTES BETTER!! (sorry, I couldn’t help myself…. but craft beer really does taste better. Try it.)

Well, I believe I’ve pretty much proven my point. Craft beer is better! If you’re not familiar with craft beer find a friend that is and have them take you out for a tasting challenge. I guarantee it will be an eye opener, you will find something you like, and it will expand your beer world. And that’s a good thing.

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