First of all, it is important to raise a glass of beer to the Canadians. Since 1600s, there have been records of Canadians brewing and enjoying their own beer but always being curious and interested in trying other beers from other countries. It could be said that the Canadian beer industry is an intoxicating one for many good reasons. The brewers have been subject to or causing many mergers and acquisitions among the big breweries. Battles have broken out on the advertising hoardings, what messages are acceptable and which go beyond the accepted rules and even brisk debate has taken place about the very shape of beer bottles.
Underneath all of the front line battles of the big breweries the growth and rise of the microbreweries has continued steadily and quietly. This growth is often explained by their concentration on craft beer that is considered to be the connoisseur’s choice of the best beer, thanks to its careful professional production and amazing taste.
Beating back boring beer
Only in recent times have the Canadian beer drink public finally had access to a new choice of beers that don’t come from the commercial lagers and pilsners brewed in large factories. Some say that these are anonymous and lack any real flavor. Today there is a revolution in the brewery sector as there are microbreweries literally springing up left right and center, they are independent, fiercely proud of their craft beer products and are effectively changing the Canadian beer landscape across the whole country.
A throwback to the future
Brewers of craft beers have reverted back to traditional methods to brew their beer and only accept traditional means of preparing the beer for its customers that require craft and skill rather than using mass production chemical methods. What does this mean in real terms?
Well, craft beer is brewed slowly and uses natural ingredients, combine this with traditional means of production that require time, patience and great attention to detail. Natural ingredients are the key choice of craft beer manufacturers that include barley, malt, carefully selected hops and yeast and the best mineral water. Unlike mass produced beers that use chemical ingredients and fast production methods to rush beer to market the artisans who craft their special beers reject these easy methods of production.
The main reason that they explain as you taste their beer is that each great craft beer has its own distinctive signature taste that the mass produced chemical beers stand no chance of matching and seem bland and boring by comparison.
Creating a craft beer is as specialized as creating a great wine
In the craft beer brewery you will find owners and staff who are passionate about the beer that they brew. If you have the chance to make a visit ask if you can meet the owner or their representative who can explain to you the advantages of their hop selection methods and allow you to sample the final product.
The craft beer microbreweries are not novices when it comes to marketing either, many of the names of their beers may leave you scratching your head or looking on with amazement “Old Peculiar” from England, The “Black Widow” from South Africa and “the Spitfire” also from South Africa have names that conjure up all kinds of imaginative images and help you prepare for what you are about to taste.
The microbrewery owner and his team will explain to you how much research and testing they have done to find just the right hops to produce their particular craft beer. Fruit and flavor, tastes like coffee or even chocolate are often used to describe the flavor, these hops give to the finished craft beer.
The one consistent theme that runs through all the descriptions is the care and attention to detail the hop buyers use to get just the right hop product from around the world. The brewers go further and describe the hops that are used add the soul into the beer that they create. They will explain to you that hops are cone shaped flowers that come from the humulus lupulus plant that grow on vines. These plants were grown for the production of beer from ancient Egyptian times and carefully selection of the hops will define the bitterness or fruity taste of craft beers today.
Where do craft beer brewers find their hops?
The answer is literally all over the world. Thanks to the internet, it is possible to reach out to hop manufacturers across the globe to find just the right hops to produce a signature craft beer. For example brewers in South Africa are regular customers of the hop farmers in the Yakima Valley that is in Washington State in the United States. When producing IPA (India Pale Ale), the brewers want citrus, spicy and flowery flavors that come from 3 different American hops – the Cascade, the Amarillo and the Citra. Today, it is certain that microbreweries are building a global business!