As we approach the 4th of July many of us will celebrate by grilling our favorite foods accompanied by the delicious elixir called beer. As the line-up of beers continues grow and spill into different parts of your local retailer (due to lack of shelf space for craft beer), I encourage you to consider the origins of your beer. Is your beer truly American or is it owned by a foreign company?

Although large brewers (i.e. AB InBev, MillerCoors) continue to brew in the U.S. and do provide jobs domestically, they are no longer American owned companies. This may be old news to many; however, there are still those that associate the larger beer brands with the stars and stripes. Some interesting facts about U.S Craft Breweries (Source: http://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/economic-impact-data/):

– Contributed $33.9 Billion to the U.S. Economy in 2012 (includes non-beer products such as food and merchandise)

– Provided 360,000 jobs

I continue to choose craft beer for a variety of reasons. First, when I began homebrewing years ago, it led me to also seek out more flavorful local beers. One of the first craft beers I tried was Widmer’s Hefeweizen and eventually I “graduated” to Deschutes Bachelor Bitter and Black Butte Porter.

Today, with the incredible amount of craft beers in the market, even I can’t keep up with tasting them all! Don’t intimidated by the hundreds of beers offered, take your time and find the beers that fit your taste buds. Visiting a local craft beer bar can help as they often offer smaller portions or samples to help you decide which beer best suits you. You will also find that the food you decide to pair a beer with will have an impact on the flavor. Some beers may compliment a dish, while others will provide a contrast. For example, I find that a German lager goes well with a brat and India Pale Ale goes well with spicy foods. I recommend experimenting to discover what works for your particular tastes.

So, instead of picking up a Budweiser because it is in a 4th of July can, support your local craft brewery and community by trying their suds. The following link will help you find a craft brewery in your area:

http://www.craftbeer.com/breweries/brewery-locator/find-a-us-brewery

You can also find out more about how you can support your local brewery by becoming an activist for local breweries:

http://www.craftbeer.com/breweries/support-your-local-brewery/current-issues
Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Cheers,

Aaron

P.S. If your significant other insists they don’t like beer, have them try a Lindeman’s Framboise, which you can generally find at retailers with craft beer.

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