It seems that when there’s word of a new craft brewer opening up in NoCo, we just go nuts! It’s not like we don’t already have enough to go around, so why the excitement?

Why do we love them so, these craft beers? That’s my question. Not that I dislike craft-beers. I love craft beer. I was one of the folks that when Odells first opened in the mid-90s, would show up and have Doug Odell himself fill up my growler while the smell of the yeast and hops almost overpowered the teeny-tiny ‘brewery.’ Don’t consider me a beer snob though; I’ve had more than my share of the macro brews- the Buds, the Coors, and the PBRs. So, why? What is it about craft beer that I, and so many others across Northern Colorado, enjoy so much?

To start, having a craft-beer makes ME feel more like an adult. “Cultured” to an extent. “Yes, THIS is an excellent beer. Oh, just taste those flavors and the richness….” Honestly, I couldn’t really tell you one damn thing ABOUT most of the craft-beers I enjoy; how they’re made, what exactly is IN them. But how much cooler do I feel with a pint of craft beer in front of me instead of a huge mug of really cheap beer? Much cooler! I think it goes to that ‘I’ve earned this’ feeling.

Maybe it’s the variety. I, myself, like IPAs, American IPAs and Session Ales. I do not like Stouts, Porters or Ryes; I especially dislike Saisons. Small, crafted batches of beer. That’s what we’re talking about here. Lots of different recipes, lots of different variations on a theme. It is nice to know, walking into an establishment, that you’ll not be saying ‘just give me a light.’

There’s also that feeling of knowing you’re helping out of the small guys. Most craft brewers are regular Joes who have had enough success in their garage that they’re ready to step out and go for it. It feels good knowing that the people you see behind the bar are the ones who have created the beer(s). It's the ‘American Dream’ with beer. Cheers, guys!

I also see the attraction as a feeling that you’re part of some underground movement; even though the craft beer industry is far from a secret society. When you visit a craft brewer it’s like you’re at a chef’s house, and you get to enjoy the meals he’s painstakingly created; meanwhile, the masses are across town consuming a mass-produced hamburger! Those fools! “Shh, this will be our little secret. But we should get Tony and Beth to check this place out!”

The craft beer taprooms, the ‘venues’, are also a plus. My girlfriend and I travel around trying out new craft-brews and rate them not only on their taste, but on their setting. I think most would agree that craft breweries just have a certain ‘feel’ about them that’s inviting: “Pull up a seat, stay a while! We’ll get you a beer while you play a game of cards.” Maybe it goes back to when these folks were all in their garages making their first creations; they have a way of making you feel at home.

Maybe the question isn’t ‘What do we like about craft beer?' Perhaps the question should be ‘What DON’T we like about craft beer?' That’s why America On Tap is going be such a great event! I’ll see you there!

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