The Craft Beer Revolution

Melbourne Good Beer Week is right around the corner (kicking off tomorrow, May 14!) and, after having to cancel last year’s celebrations, we are absolutely stoked to be back for the beeriest week of them all.

Each year Carwyn Cellars partakes in Pint of Origin, where bars transform into a weeklong hub celebrating beers from one specific place. Our Pint of Origin tradition: showcasing the good ol’ US of A. America, land of the NEIPA and home of the Craft Beer Revolution!

Talkin' Bout A Revolution

It all started with a ‘little’ brewery in San Francisco, you may have heard of, called Anchor Brewing. The year was 1965 and post-war, mass-produced light beers, made of corn and added sugars, flooded markets and homes. Anchor Brewing, famous for its delicious Anchor Steam Ale was struggling to stay afloat. Moments from closing its doors a young man stepped in and purchased 51% of the brewery, saving it from extinction. His name was Frederick Louis, or “Fritz”, Maytag and he is credited with laying the foundation of the modern-day craft brewing industry.

It would be years of repairs and problem-solving before any beer was released, and more years still before Anchor Brewing would see a profit, but the wheels of change had been put in motion. Inspired by a Napa winemaker who prioritised quality over quantity, Maytag and his team adopted the same motto now held by modern microbreweries, switching out cheap, flavourless adjuncts for all malt and American hop varietals.

In 1975 Anchor released, what is credited to be, the first modern American IPA, which in turn was the first modern American Single Hop IPA AND the first modern American dry-hopped ale. Its name? Liberty Ale.

With the IPAs that have been released in the near half a decade since its release, there is no questioning the gigantic influence Liberty Ale had on the brewing industry. The introduction of bolder hops, though shocking at first, became what beer drinkers desired. But unlike today, where beer enthusiasts can go home and experiment with their own brews often eventually leading to building their own commercial breweries, home brewing was illegal until October 14, 1978. On this fateful day, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill legalizing homebrewing without excise. The bill became effective one the 1st of February, 1979, home brewers got to work and commercial microbreweries began to pop up around the country that would push the boundaries of traditional thought and bring a new sense of adventure that would inspire folks the world around.

From there came influential brews and breweries such as Sierra Nevada, Founders, New Belgium Brewing Co, Stone Brewing Co, Dogfish Head (utilizing culinary additions), Firestone Walker (Blending), Oskar Blues, Anderson Valley (rebirth of the German Gose), Hill Farmstead (American Farmhouse), The Lost Abbey (Modernizing Belgian styles) Russian River’s Pliney the Elder (the first DIPA), and eventually The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, which is credited with giving rise to today’s haze craze.

So here we are in Australia, decades later, drinking the ripple effects of what was started in America. So what better way to celebrate the good, no, great beers of the world than with a glass from whence modern-day beer was born! Drink up buttercup!

Whan to explore American beer further?

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