Living in Phoenix, especially the East Valley, there has always been one staple in the local craft beer scene: Four Peaks Brewery. Just about every ASU student can look back fondly at time spent on the Four Peaks patio, enjoying some awesome food, drinking great beer, and people watching. They make a really nice Special Bitter called 8th Street Ale. It’s on tap all over town, and it’s really responsible for introducing me to traditional British styles. It’s a beer I’ve brewed in the past, but I’ve never been exactly happy with how it turned out. Approaching the holidays a few months ago, needing a drinkable beer, I figured it was time to give this Special bitter another shot.
As of May 2013, there are 2,514 breweries in the US with an additional 1,559 currently in planning, and I personally don’t believe the market can sustain them all.
Now before the nasty-grams start coming in, let me explain myself. The craft beer market is clearly expanding fast. Craft sales have increased 15.4% in volume YTD, so the US beer consumer is definitely drinking much more craft beer. This isn’t the issue in my opinion, as I think craft beer will continue to steal market share from the big boys. So what is the issue? Well, there’s a few.
If you drink hoppy beers, I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘hop haze’ before. There’s a notion that heavily hopped beers or dry-hopped beers will inherently have a hazy appearance due to the hop oils in suspension. I see it all the time on home-brew forums and beer websites; hell, even the BJCP states it’s acceptable. Personally, I call BS. I think hop haze is just another excuse to fall back on for hazy beer.