Over at Fuggled yesterday, Velky Al questioned the “localness” of local beer because of the worldliness of the ingredients that go into most beers. He made a good point in that respect but got me thinking about why local beer still matters, even if the ingredients aren’t themselves local.
To me, local beer matters because local beer is very likely to be in better condition when I drink it. Time and travel are both bad for almost all beer, and local beer is usually younger and obviously has travelled less. I cry inside a little when I go to Bevmo or another retailer with a large import selection and see fine German or British beers sitting on the warm shelf with dates indicating that they are a year or more old. I’ve had many of these beers local to the breweries and know that they are amazing when fresh, but experience has taught me that they just don’t stand up to months of travel and storage at distributors and retailers.
Conversely, I regularly get beer from work that has been packaged only days prior and stored cold at the brewery since then. This is beer in its freshest, most vibrant state. Once you get used to drinking beer in peak form, it’s almost painful to drink stale, oxidized beer that has been sitting on shelves for weeks or months.
Im my perfect beer world, there are amazing breweries in every city and town the world over, each with a distinctive style. All locals get the highest quality beer of unique and outstanding character, and travelers get a memorable and unique experience wherever they go. This is the power of local beer.
Oh, and Al, if you read this, thanks for motivating me to write a post!