The Lowdown on American Craft Beer: Distinguished Ales, IPAs, and Stouts to Excite Your Taste Buds
Whether you’re enjoying a night out with friends, or you’re simply relaxing after work, beer is often the go-to drink that makes you feel good. For me, nothing beats chilling on my teak outdoor furniture lounger and enjoying a cold one while the steaks are sizzling on the grill. I often experiment with different brews and food pairings, and American beers are my current favourites.
When someone mentions this term, the first two that pop into your head are probably Budweiser and Coors. However, you’d be surprised at how many excellent undiscovered gems are out there, from Ales to Imperial Stouts. If you’re a fellow beer lover like me, read on and discover more about these amazing beers!
What Are the Different American Beers in Australia?
If you’re looking for a real treat for your taste buds, then you won’t be disappointed with the wide selection of American beers in Australia. The long-standing popularity of American beer styles has resulted in many different types being brewed Down Under, so you can enjoy all your favourites without having to travel too far.
You’ll find hidden beer gems from hundreds of US breweries, ranging from brewpubs and microbreweries to big corporations. The modern craft varieties cater to everyone’s taste and include Pale Ales, Cream Ales, Hazy IPAs, Double Stouts, and many others.
Despite the wide range of options, my all-time favourite beer remains Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. Brew enthusiasts have been mesmerised for decades by this beer classic. It offers distinctive piney and citrus scents that give it a natural, bold, and refreshing feel. Its floral aroma and spicy taste are a result of the generous use of quality Cascade hops. Here are a few notes on what you can expect when drinking this beverage:
This Pale Ale’s soothing floral and grapefruit aroma has a little bit of sweetness and spiciness to it. Although it has a limited aesthetic, it still has a refreshing and enjoyable taste. Other elements include certain biscuity malt flavours, low esters and a touch of sulphur.
The malt flavour of this American beer perfectly balances out the up-front hops. The citrus peel and floral notes dominate the hops’ flavour. You’ll also notice a restrained yeast flavour, some caramel and fruitiness. The hops are noticeable, and their bitterness lingers on after drinking it, but the beer is still light and carbonic;
Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is a traditional USA beer that’s flavourful and soothing. All the notes blend beautifully and don’t compete. A crisp, drinkable pale ale that’s a little less hoppy than an American Pale Ale and has a hint of sweetness in the middle of the palate.
A Short History of American Beers
Everyone’s familiar with Budweiser and Coors, two classic American beers. Since beer first emerged in Dutch towns at the beginning of the 17th century, beer production has faced many obstacles over the years. However, due to the popularity of other alcoholic beverages at the time, beer brewing didn’t prosper during this time.
Breweries expanded by the middle of the 19th century because of a surge in German immigration. Most of these immigrants produced lagers, which were stable enough to transport if refrigerated. Then pasteurization arrived, which contributed to the growth of beer. With the use of these technologies, Anheuser-Busch made Budweiser the first beer that was sold throughout the state.
After this huge success in the history of beer, the Prohibition (1920-1933) caused a major setback for breweries across the USA. At this time, about 40% of breweries were destroyed. Later, the breweries also suffered major losses during the Great Depression and both World Wars.
The Rise of American Craft Beer
Since then, the beer brewing sector has grown significantly, with a few main giants controlling the market. Independent brewers sought to make beer with flavours distinct from lagers in 1978. The number of craft breweries in the US nearly quadrupled till about 1990. The artisan market has grown a lot in the previous decade.
According to the Brewers Association, craft sales captured almost 25% of retail dollar sales and 13.6% of the volume of the U.S. beer market in 2019. However, the two largest producers of mainstream beer, Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch, still control more than 60% of the market.
American beers continue to lead in the hearts and minds of consumers around the world, even after decades of beer production. They’re in the top 50 beers globally and make up 76% of the top 25 selling brews in the nation.
How to Pair Your Beer with Food
Lastly, to create a successful pairing, you must first familiarise yourself with the many types of beer because they vary widely in terms of colour, alcohol content, flavour, and texture. Here are some helpful tips that will help you match beers and food:
-Light lagers go well with spicy BBQ sauces, burgers, and salads;
-Wheat beers also complement spicy food, but also fruity desserts;
-IPAs pair well with steak, BBQ, and Mexican cuisine;
-Amber ales go well with fried food, pork, and pizza;
-Brown ales taste great with fish, seafood, and sushi;
-Stouts go well with Mexican cuisine, seafood, and chocolate desserts.