American Craft Beer Week – Independence Shouldn’t Be a Lonely Affair

This is American Craft Beer Week.

As some background, ACBW is a congressionally recognized (House Resolution 753) event to celebrate craft breweries and brewers. A craft brewery is one that produces less than 2 million barrels of beer a year, and that statistic probably excludes Samuel Adams from being a “craft brewer”, but I still consider them a part of the movement in spirit and action. Craft brewers are expected to go into full PR mode this week with special brewery tours, new releases, and events. There’s even a Declaration of Beer Independence that you can sign and promise that you will only drink from independent craft breweries this week.

If you are the kind of person who reads beer blogs, this is no big surprise. If you are the kind of person who reads beer blogs, you probably aren’t doing anything new and special this week that you weren’t already doing. You enjoy craft beers, you think about those brewmasters as artists and you want to support them. You are probably one of the converted.

So how do you celebrate if you are already the very picture of a craft beer drinker? Well, you spread the word.

Do the easy things. Hell, buy yourself a 6 pack of craft beer and give one of those beers away to 6 of your macro drinking friends. Who doesn’t accept free beer? Choose something slightly challenging, but not so over the top that it will split their tongues in half. Give them a solid gateway beer and follow up with them to see what they thought.

Set up an impromptu tasting. Chill down a few styles and have some people over to try them. You can do something fancy with cheese, but the best baby step (read: un-intimidating) approach might dictate just having the beer paired with chips and pretzels.

If you have friends who like craft beer, but haven’t try many styles and breweries, set up a Beer of the Month club like I did. Get 6 people (including yourself) together each month and have each one bring a 6 pack of beer that they have been wanting to try, or love and want to share with others. Everyone trades out 5 of their bottles, and they get 5 different beers back (and keep 1 of their own.) It is a nice way to get some really diverse beers in one setting, get the cheaper 6-pack price rather than buying single bottles, and you get the safety net of only having one bottle if you choose something you might not end up liking. Of course, if you get something amazing, you will need to go out and buy more. Win-win.

Think about what you can do to spread the word. Meet your friends at a bar that sells craft beer and patronize them rather than the usual hangout that only has macros on tap. Buy the first round and make someone else drink something that isn’t a fizzy, bland beer.

Be a beer evangelist for the week. What’s the use of your independence if you are alone?

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