Craft beer trend offers more flavor PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ALUSHEFF Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 31 January 2014 11:39
Andrew Younkers, an employee at The Andersons, speaks about microbrews at the Ford Road store location in Maumee, Ohio. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
(Editor's note: A special section on craft beer is inserted in today's Sentinel-Tribune.)
In the past few years, beer has surpassed wine as the craft drink of choice.
The craft beer boom started in the U.S. when states began legalizing home brewing and microbreweries in the 90s, said Andrew Younker, beer associate at The Andersons in Maumee.
Though prohibition had been repealed in 1933, it was still illegal to home brew nearly 50 years after. Jimmy Carter repealed the law in 1978, making products, ingredients and distribution channels readily available by the time states legalized the practice.
The trend caught on as microbreweries sprouted throughout the country and people introduced craft beer to their palettes.
"In the past three years, it became something people kept in their homes sharing with each other to bars picking it up," Younker said. "Instead of choosing from seven flavors of Bud Light, you can choose seven flavors of craft beer."
What made these microbreweries different from beer giants Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors was its taste and alcohol content, he said.
"The macrobrewers all have similar styles and are very watery," Younker said. "People want good quality."
And when it comes to quality and taste, people have their options.
At any given time, Younker said there are 800 varieties of craft beer on the shelves of The Andersons, with 1,500 annually. It first started doing this practice when wine became a popular trend.
"There's more to beer than the Bud Lights and Millers of the world lead you to believe," he said.
The reason for the variety is that every area has its own distinct flavor, Younker said.
The Andersons offers one of the largest selections of microbrews in Northwest Ohio with 800 labels on the shelves and 1200 for order.
"There's different beers in different areas; you'll get something different based on where you are at," he said.
Some of these popular winter varieties Younker sees at The Andersons include Bell's Winter White Ale (Kalmazoo, Mich.), Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA (North Olmstead) and Great Lakes Christmas Ale (Cleveland). Younker will also special order beers for customers.
The craft beer trend not only promotes different tastes, but local business.
"You get the local flavor, you buy local, you ship local; it fits in with the whole trend," Younker said. "The whole phenomena keeps the dollar close to home."
Some people don't even have to leave home to get craft beer, they just make it.
"Some people have a do-it-yourself mentality," he said. "There's no expectations to live up to when brewing. You can do it by the book or put in crazy ingredients."
Younker, 28, used to make his own beer just to experiment. His first brew was a champagne cider with a mango puree.
"There's more [ingredients] than just malt, water, hops and yeast," he said.
As the trend progresses, Younker sees the craft beer culture developing into something similar to Germany's.
"You'll see more of a boutique style of beer," he said. "Each town will sell its own beer and will have a local flavor."

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