Two-thousand one-hundred and twenty-six.
According to the Brewer's Association, that's the total number of US breweries as of June 2012. So what? Why should you care? Well, that means that you have the privelage - nay obligation - to try new things and be discerning.
We live in a world where you can buy maple bacon donut flavored beer. Surely there is a little something for everyone out there. You have the luxury of choosing a beverage based on the flavors you enjoy - take advantage of that opportunity. If you don't like the way it tastes, ditch it and try something new.
One of the side effects of this brewery explosion is lower turnover on the shelfs. When you walk into a store that has 500 varieties of beer, you will encounter some bottles that have passed their prime. Not everyone is fanatical about quality and it's important to educate yourself about flavor flaws so that you can better understand if what you are tasting is what the product is intended to be.
A lot of beer is mishandled in the marketplace. Whether through high temperatures, light exposure (dark glass doesn't block everything) or even temperature fluctuations - most beer undergoes some degree of oxidation by the time it reaches your home. There is nothing more frustrating to the brewer than losing a customer who blames them for the package stores' folly.
People may call you a snob but they are wrong. Snobbery is shallow and largely concerned with appearances. Snobbery is drinking something you do not like because you are supposed to like it.
When you choose something on it's inherent qualities - that's the opposite of snobbery; that's being discerning.
Filed under: [beer]