Thoughts On New World Craft Beer

One of the dangers of coming from the new world is that we like things that are big, bold, and in your face. The subtle, serene, and quiet tend to be missed in the maze of wows and kazaams in the bigger and better america.
This heartily applies to craft beer in america. Take sours for example. New world sours are blowing up in a variety of styles and craziness that the traditions of Belgium never expected. Or take IPA’s. Touchy subject I know so I will tread lightly. Avery brewing, in a marvelous pun, made a “new world porter” which is really a black IPA proving that americans are taking classic styles to their borders and beyond.
This trait of the New World, most realized by the good old ‘Merica, is something to be cherished and honored but also to be used with a cautious and careful hand. If we forget the tradition which has inspired our wild witches brews then we tend to boil down to arrogant “a-cultural” jerks who don’t give credit where credit is due. However on the other hand if we fear the tradition we never experiment and try new things collapsing into the sepulcher of the past and never utilizing our individual gifts.
This is one reason why beers like The New Belgium and 3 Floyds Gratzer is such a great beer. Not because it tastes good but because these new world brewers are honoring the style while also putting their own spin on this.
I dont think the american craft beer scene is necessarily in danger of become “a-historical” because many brewers have done taken advice from the heroes’ of the old world such as Allagash going to Cantillion to figure out how to do a coolship (see the book American Sour Beers). Or for example how it was in american that the lost styles of Gose and Berlinerwiess were recovered, changed, and taken in as our own. But we always want to say Cheers to the world of tradition for the sake of new inginuity. For the love of craft beer enjoy a old world style and raise a pint to our family across the pond.


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