So this post has been well overdue but there are a lot things to have to sort out when moving country let alone continent! Now I'm based in the home of the modern IPA the United States of America and my journey through the world of craft beer takes on a whole new chapter. Be it microbreweries or brew farms or some of the big craft producers I'm looking forward to writing all sorts of things about the beer and beer related culture over here.
In the US beer holds a special place in the culture and is much more widely drunk across all demographics and there are some differences related to the culture as well. First of all bars are awesome! No queueing, just great service and fantastic knowledge about the amazing range of beers that are on tap. In pretty much every bar I've been to I have had a choice of at least 8 great craft brews with each place trying to support their local brewers. For me this means coming across breweries such as Heavy Seas from Baltimore and 7 Locks from just down the road in Rockville. Also there is very limited amounts of cask available and the keg is king. This really helps to account the hop profile of all the big IPAs that are on offer.
In Maryland there is also a new craft beer movement that is taking root, Brew Farms! These are breweries that grow a proportion of their own ingredients and as such get a helping hand from the tax department. I have been to one called Brookeville Farm Brewery and the beers on offer were stunning and the variety including wit and fruit beers was one to rival even the best of bars.
One of the other major differences I have noticed so far is that beer shops are everywhere! They also have the range to rival the best of those seen in the UK (just so happens I have one in my apartment block!). My favourite so far is Gilly's craft beer and wine. It has a growler club where on sundays it is half price on growler fills and they also have 15 beers on draft and serve some amazing sandwiches! Gilly's has now become part of my sunday lunchtime routine and is something I look forward to every weekend.
So yes there are differences from the UK and looking at the two respective beer scenes I can now begin to appreciate the amount of growth there still is in the UK market for new breweries. This makes me very excited to see how things develop from afar as well as fully engrossing myself in the scene over here.