Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Macro to Craft Beer - How to move from the dark side

Part One – Why Drink Craft Beer?

If you’re like me, you have friends who think your craft beer obsession is nuts or you’re an alcoholic – or both. Nope, I’m not an alcoholic, just a fan of craft beer and I experiment by trying new beers. AA meetings aside, I’m starting to see these same friends become curious about craft beer. They seem more willing to put aside their usual favourite macro and try something new and when they’re drinking with me, it’s craft beer. So how do you take a macro beer drinker and bring them over to the craft side where unicorns run freely and every day is full of sunshine? Baby steps. Don’t throw a hop bomb at them and expect that they will share your love of all things grapefruit and bitter. If they’re like my brother, they’ll tell you it tastes like a bouquet of flowers sautéed in a pine tree covered with baby poo. Yeah, he’s a charmer. What I should have done is eased him away from that yellow fizzy lite beer and given him a transition beer.

First off, they may want to know why they should even try something new, let alone this whacky craft beer I keep yammering on about. Fair enough. Their go-to macro is like their favourite PJ’s – disgusting (to me), full of holes, but comfortable and reliable. So why drink craft beer?

1.       Quality ingredients – There are four essential ingredients in beer: water, barley (malt), yeast and hops. Craft brewers source quality ingredients and do not include adjuncts like corn syrup in their beers (mmm corn chip beer anyone?). The mass produced macro beers are made by big corporate giants who like to make big corporate money. The best way to make big corporate money is to keep costs low by using cheap adjuncts and to sell the crap out of that product. Hence, macro beer.

2.       Flavour, flavour, flavour - unlike macro, craft brewers source unique ingredients, various yeast strains and they experiment with their recipes to enhance the flavours and create one-off beers. This means that their beers may not always taste the same batch to batch as they aim to perfect or further augment their beer. It’s not a text book recipe that any AB In-Bev brewer-clone can replicate at any of their breweries across the country. The craft beer way leads to interesting new beers, more choices for the consumer and a beer brewed to perfection. The macro drinker might not care about this today but once they start riding the craft beer unicorn, they will see the glory in trying new beers.

3.       Less bathroom breaks – because it’s magic! You drink craft beer and end up reserving beer like a camel. Ok, that’s not entirely true, but there is logic in this so hear me out. Most craft beer has higher alcohol content than the standard 3% – 5% macro. Craft can also be as low as 3%, although not many, but most sit in the 5% - 9% category. So instead of power drinking three light lagers and breaking the seal, you can sip a tasty craft beer and prevent your friends from posting inappropriate things on your twitter timeline while you’re repeatedly indisposed.

4.       Saves money at the bar – since you’re no longer pounding the water beer at the bar/restaurant, you’re also not paying for as many pints. More bars are charging the same, or close to it, for local craft as they do for macro pints. Imported may cost another dollar or so per pint, but you can do the math. Six – eight macro vs. three craft. Ka-ching! You can send me quarterly payments for the savings.

If your friends still aren’t convinced they should try craft beer, buy them a craft pint and take it out of my quarterly payments.

Coming soon, Part Two – Gateway beers to go from crap to craft beer. The continuation of this post will give you some options on what types of beers you should start with and build up to for the soon-to-be-converted macro drinker. Cheers all!


  1. White Ales moved me into craft beer. First Blue Moon, then Sam Adam's version. I don't really find them compelling these days.

  2. What about Steam Whistle? Solid pilsner. Made without adjuncts. Pretty close in style to the Macros, but GOOD.

    1. Definitely - pilsners, lagers (craft, of course) is where I'd start with transition beers. Less hoppy pale ales too.