While beer has been a popular beverage around the world for thousands of years, it was also typically seen as a low-quality drink. Unlike vine, its fancier cousin, beer was looked down upon as something you drink when you want to get drunk, not something you actually enjoy the taste of. This all changed in the 1970s, when artisans craft breweries became popular and financially viable. Using traditional methods of beer brewing – instead of those that large modern breweries adopted, losing a lot of quality in the process – these small businesses started producing relatively low quantities of beer, but with a focus on taste and excellence.

These beers were experimental; full of flavor, and usually more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts. An entire culture based around craft beer making and consumption soon formed.

The spirit and culture of modern beer are related to experimentation, creativity, and innovation. Beer brewers have become inventors of new recipes, instead of simply sticking to the old ones. That is why competition among craft brewers is strong and accelerates innovation – to the very limit of what can be imagined.

Just like how beer originally started to get made, this movement began as an agricultural revolution, this time in the Northwest of the Pacific in the United States. Small hop producers began experimenting with new varieties of hops that had wild new tastes and characteristic aromas compared to traditional Czech, German, and English varieties. These opened up new possibilities, so they could suddenly produce entirely new flavors of citrus, tropical fruit, pine, and aromatic herbs. This opened the doors to brand new beer styles.

At the same time, small beer producers in America were inspired by the beer from the rest of the world. They wondered why Americans had to live with the products of the same five big breweries and their boring mild beers. They began to produce beers, mainly in the English style, but with an expressive American hop. A real life, modern beer revolution was born.

In the late nineteen-seventies, breweries in California, such as Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada, were among the first wave of successful new “micro-breweries”. In 1989, there were 205 breweries in the United States. Today, America has over 4000 of them.

And then this (beer) wave from America spread throughout the world. The dream of beer connoisseurs who have longed for new and special aromas and flavors have finally been answered. We can safely say that we are now living in the golden age of craft beers.

Today, craft beers are served and available practically everywhere. So, the next time you get the opportunity, order one. Or several. Even if you dislike the taste, it will be a new experience you are unlikely to forget. Especially if you are on vacation, since different countries – and even parts of those countries – have different beer-making traditions.