For centuries, man (and woman) has brewed beer. The simple ingredients and natural process has made its creation a favorite the world over. As the traditional European Brewmasters began to immigrate to the United States in the late 1800’s, larger, more consolidated operations and standardized recipes began to appear. As the population exploded, so did the popularity of this increasingly available and inexpensive beverage.
The industry was dominated by huge multi-national corporations throughout the most of the 20th century and the true art and craftsmanship brought over from Europe was abandoned in favor of a mass produced product for the masses. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that a new trend began to take hold. Small, “boutique” breweries focused more on the process than the profit of beer making, began to pop up all over the country. These “micro-breweries” made their products in small batches and catered to a growing number of people looking for the same experience with beer that they could have with wine.
As the popularity of micro brews swept the country, some breweries began to outpace their contemporaries in terms of sales and national recognition. Consequently, a new term was coined; Craft Brewery. A Craft Brewery, or Craft Beer officially refers to an independent brewery that is producing more than 15,000 barrels of beer per year while still holding to a more traditional and artistic style of beer making.
The term, however, is more commonly used to describe the actual artistic act or the “crafting” of the beer. As this process has grown, brewers have become as skilled and inventive as their counterparts in the wine industry and just as passionate. In fact, many restaurants are offering beer tasting flights, pairing beer with certain dishes and, in the case of Peter B’s Brewpub behind the Portola Hotel & Spa, brewing their own beer. As Monterey’s only craft brewery, Peter B’s offers all that and more and is actively engaging and educating locals and guests about the process. So in celebration of American Craft Beer Week, stop by Peter B’s, raise a pint and see what all the excitement is about. Cheers!