NEW YORK (MainStreet) There's a bar down the street from where I live with 24 taps against the wall, 23 of which serve beers brewed in or within a few hours of Chicago. As I'm writing this, at a different bar, the only Bud Light is in a can under the taps. Craft beer is taking over, and not a minute too soon.
Over the last ten years, America has seen an extraordinary boom in craft brewing. Once the province only of small operations and home brewers, craft beer has become a national phenomenon, capturing over 10% of the market in 2012 and quickly growing. Some 40 ago only one craft brewery survived in operation. Today more than 2,500 produce over 13 million barrels of beer a year.
Brewers are making them, stores are selling them and in the bar familiar Miller Light taps have been replaced by carved wood in every size, style and color. It's a golden age even if you like your beer dark. The only question is, how do you choose?
Happily, we here at MainStreet are here to help, with seven recommendations from the experts:
Beer #1: Ayinger Oktoberfest-Märzen
Brewer: Brauerei Aying
Price: $3.50 per bottle
Expert: Stephen Beaumont, Co-Author of The World Atlas of Beer
Here's what Stephen Beaumont has to say about the Ayinger Oktoberfest:
"When I think of fall, I think of the märzen style of lager, a little stronger and maltier and richer than the classic Bavarian blonde lager known as helles. And of all the German märzens that are imported to the United States, one of the best, I think, is the Ayinger Oktoberfest-Märzen, a medium-bodied beer with a light, floral sweetness and just a touch of toasted maltiness."