Craft Beer Criticisms? Part III

A plethora of tapsSo many options, so little time.

This is a continuing series of posts about the "darker" side of the craft beer industry. To catch up on the topic visit the <a href="">last article</a> in the series devoted to pay for play. Also visit <a href="">this page</a> for the entire series.

While our last two craft brew criticism was directed at brewers it doesn’t mean that fans of craft beer are faultless in their enthusiasm.  The next few articles are going to aim the endless, watchful eye of judgment toward a mirror and place ourselves as enthusiasts beneath the gaze of criticism. Self-assessment is a healthy and constructive endeavor.  Surely we can be better people.

The way of the session beer seems lost in the modern craft brewing world.  The typical mainstream American beers are on average around five percent alcohol by volume. Their immensely popular “light” counterparts are undeniably session beers.  Yet once entering the world of craft brewing the average lager or pale ale is often a few percentage points higher.

It is not unusual to drink a single IPA or even a APA that is upwards of eight or nine percent alcohol by volume.  Fans of imperial IPAs can easily end up having a full pint of deliciously hopped beer that is into double digits in terms of alcohol by volume.

There is nothing inherently wrong with strong beers so long as they are ingested in moderation but beer enthusiasts are known for their gusto when it comes to indulging in spiked spirits.  The danger comes in the fact the overindulgence is easier than one realizes.

Personal experience has shown that craft beers delivered in a full pint glass can be the downfall of overindulgence for those unaccustomed to drinking in careful moderation.  Drinkers who are used to drinking Bud Light or PBR and expect to be merely tipsy after three or four beers in an hour can be dangerously intoxicated after only a beer or two.  This level of misjudgment can sneak up on a drinker who doesn’t realize how drunk they really are and lead to a dangerous situation.

The important point here is that enthusiasm for craft beer is fantastic, especially when it is about the magical combination of hops and malts.  But craft beer can quickly lead to dangerous situations, especially for the uninitiated, and craft breweries, tap rooms, bars, and drinkers should be vigilant against overindulgence and drunk driving.

Major breweries like Budweiser, Coors, and their brethren actually spend a significant amount of advertising promoting drinking responsibly.  Shouldn’t the same obligation be there for those who enjoy craft beer?