Craft Beer

Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in America and the craft beer movement has only continued to grow since the 1970s. A brewery is defined as “craft” if it’s independent of outside corporate ownership, produces fewer than six million barrels each year and uses either traditional or innovative ingredients. There are strong craft brewing cultures across the country, but Portland, Oregon is home to more breweries than any other city. Check out some of our favorite canned craft beers or find the best IPA in your state. Find out everything you need to know about craft beer in F&W’s hoppy guide.

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These Cities Have the Most Breweries Per Capita

Big cities have plenty of breweries, but smaller cities have more brewers per person, according to a report by C+R Research.

20 New High-Alcohol Craft Beers to Warm Your Bones This Fall and Winter

Leave the heat off for another few weeks, pull on a sweater, and let one of these brews keep you warm this fall.

5 Groundbreaking Craft Beers Worth Traveling For

Forty years ago, America was at its beer nadir, with the lowest number of breweries since Prohibition: a mere 89. Today, there are more breweries than that in Massachusetts alone.

Inside the Ever-Changing World of Craft Beer Labels

With the craft-beer market showing no signs of slowing down and shelf space at a premium across nearly every aisle, there's no denying how important graphic design is these days. Compelling packaging is so crucial to a brewery's growth, in fact, that the industry's old and new guard seem to be in a steady race of rebranding themselves."A lot of what originally drew drinkers into craft beer was packaging that screamed personality," says Adam Lilly, Goose Island's vice president of marketing. "Now with nearly 7,000 breweries across the country, there’s a lot of personalities screaming at once. It’s hard to focus. Simple aesthetics are more alluring—and premium—now than ever, and help keep focus on what’s in the package rather than what’s on it.""There’s been such an influx of new brands that’s it tough for anyone to stand out," adds Steve McKeown, associate creative director at the ad/marketing agency Brokaw Inc. "You can almost see packaging trends happening in real time on the shelves."Take Highland Brewing, a longtime industry leader that went through a welcome makeover last month is. A pioneer in Asheville's small-but-thriving scene since the mid '90s, its labels used to look like something you'd find in Scotland, right down to their Renaissance Fair-esque font and bagpipe-blowing logo. And while that certainly worked for a while, the company's pub crawl packaging wasn't quite keeping up with the creative strides made by its brewers over the past couple years. With that in mind, owner Leah Ashburn brought Helms Workshop on board to rethink the branding of her family's otherwise thriving businessAnd they’re not the only ones. Everywhere you look, it seems that breweries are turning bottle shops into gallery spaces. Here's the story behind Highland Brewing’s reboot, along with 17 other craft-beer creations that look as good as they taste. 

14 Essential Craft Pilsners

Light. Refreshing. Crisp. Clear. These descriptors are almost synonymous with many of the mass-produced “adjunct” beers that dominated the American beer scene for most of the 20th century—beers like Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. And so, in the world of craft brewing, these adjectives and the beer styles they described were for a long time all but verboten.That’s changing. Independent craft breweries now account for more than 12 percent (and climbing) of all beer sales in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association. And since craft now has a solid grip on a sizeable share of the American beer market, its brewers seem more willing to pursue and perfect some of the lighter, toned-down styles they’d once shunned. Pilsner is one of those styles.Arguably the most popular type of beer in the world, pilsner (sometimes spelled “pilsener”) is a style of lager popularized in Germany and the Czech Republic that features a spicy, often-bitter hop kick. While craft pilsners tend to be light-to-medium-bodied and crisp, that hoppy shot of aroma and flavor elevates them above the Buds and Coors Lights of the world.In a lot of ways, craft pilsners are a kind of microbrew-macrobrew hybrid—combining the easy-drinking qualities of light lagers with the nuance and hoppy charm of craft brews. If you’ve ever found yourself hesitating at the bar—unsure if you’re in the mood for another ultra-bitter pale ale or super-dense porter—the new wave of craft pilsners is for you. (They’re also great with bar food.)Here are 14 excellent brews to try:

More Craft Beer

Denver Has a Craft Beer Specifically Made for Dive Bars

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The 25 Most Important American Craft Beers Ever Brewed

With more than 5,000 breweries, some of which produce dozens of different beers every year, America is home to the largest and most diverse beer culture in the world. But as exciting new beers appear weekly in bars and on specialty shop shelves, we shouldn’t forget their forebears: the brews that spawned, defined and advanced the craft beer movement, made by the influential brewers who brought our country from a low of less than 100 breweries in 1978 to where we are today.To help better appreciate the history of American craft beer, we reached out to 21 experts from across the American beer scene, including legendary brewers like Ken Grossman and Jim Koch, industry representatives like Julia Herz, and veteran writers like Aaron Goldfarb and Joshua Bernstein.We asked each voter to nominate five to seven American beers that they consider to be the “most important of all time.” The only stipulations were that the beer must have started production after 1960, and it must have met the generally-accepted definition of “craft beer” at the time it was introduced. Voters were limited to two beers from any one brewery and encouraged to diversify their choices across years, states and styles. In the case of brewers, they were allowed to vote for themselves; however, every single beer on this list received multiple votes, meaning a brewer’s self-endorsement only counted if it was seconded by another voter. The final order was determined strictly by the votes received, with the exception of any ties, at which point we used our editorial judgment to determine ranking.The final list, like any list of this type, is sure to spur debate. However, thanks to the collective knowledge and expertise of our 21 voters, we think it’s an exceptionally telling look at the beers that have shaped American craft beer history.—Mike Pomranz