los angeles+ craft beer = finally!

September 16, 2010

If cities were alcoholic beverages, Los Angeles would be a mix of vodka and Red Bull — a potent dose of liquor hidden beneath the sugary-sweet sheen of a counterintuitive energy boost.

San Diego, just a few hours south, would be defined by its main boozy creation, one rooted in a working-class ethic that has been around millenniums longer than Red Bull’s wing-giving jolt: hand-crafted beer.

As far back as Ancient Egypt, humans have been fermenting grains to make alcoholic beer-like beverages and yet recipes are still constantly in flux.

After centuries of Belgian and German brewing traditions dominating world consumption, beer-lovers have recently been looking to the United States for guidance on how to push the boundaries of the craft.

This concept might seem weird for anyone who thinks of the ultra-yellow macro brews Budweiser and Miller Light as “traditional” American beers. But those willing to look beyond the 7-Eleven beer cooler will easily find that new availability of ingredients and the exploration of non-traditional brewing methods have made the last few decades some of the most innovative in beer history, with small-batch craft breweries slowly creeping into the mainstream breweries’ market share.

This feat is most surprising in the United States, where Prohibition eliminated our flourishing dark-beer culture and replaced it with watered-down, rice-infused drinks that maximized bootleggers’ profits but ruined our craving for craftsmanship.

…read the rest here

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