The United States of Craft Beer takes you on a once in a lifetime journey across all 50 states to visit the best breweries. Including generally three breweries on each state, Jess Lebow is able to highlight the larger, more successful craft breweries while still being able to highlight smaller microbreweries who are in their infancy still.
This book is fantastic for anyone who loves craft beer and can be used as a resource for people who are visiting a new state. Educate.Beer recently had a trip scheduled that would bring us past several of the breweries on the list and we were not disappointed in the quality of beer that was being served! All of the breweries that Jess highlights produce high quality, delicious beers and thankfully, a listing of each breweries beers are included in the text of the book. This allowed us to use the book almost as a checklist at each brewery, seeing what was available and what wasn’t. It was slightly disheartening coming across a vivid, enchanting description of a beer that Jess provided only to learn that it was a seasonal release that wouldn’t be around for months but that is the life of a passionate craft beer drinker.
While we may not all agree with some of the choices that Jess has made for the top breweries in each state a thoughtful and well communicated reasoning for each of the selections is included. Educate.Beer is based in California and the top brewery described here was Ale Smith. Ale Smith is a fantastic brewery that we don’t want to take anything away from, we actually really love Ale Smith in fact but California has names that are recognized nationally by a wide range of beer drinkers like Lagunitas, Stone, Sierra Nevada, even Anchor Steam. Some may argue us saying that Anchor Steam isn’t a craft brewery but they created an entire category of beer based of their iconic Anchor Steam Ale, if that’s not innovative and memorable we don’t know what is!
Regardless of your opinion about some of the breweries that are highlighted, you will find interesting factoids about each state and the beer industry. Our favorite or most upsetting depending on your perspective was that Alabama has only recently (2013) legalized homebrewing of beer!
The United States of Craft Beer should be used as a road map for beer drinkers. If you are a homebrewer some of the descriptions of beers from other states that you may not be able to get will inspire you to heat up the hot liquor tank and get a mash started up immediately! The more that you read of this book the more you will start to plan your road trips for the next couple of years. Every state has a craft beer area and this book will help you connect all the dots and start the gears in motion for drinking great beers at some new establishments!