Beer! Microbrew or Macrobrew?

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America has always been a nation of beer drinkers, but only lately has craft brewing really started taking hold throughout the country and college campuses. Now, it seems as if a new microbrew beer is put on the shelves every week. States like Washington and Oregon in particular have garnered a national reputation as the finest areas for craft beers and other microbrews. But, do not be fooled, America may be becoming a microbrew nation, but it is still a macrobrew stronghold especially on college campuses. It could be difficult to get a seasoned beer drinker to try a new microbrew beer that is crafted with things like fruits and wheat, but it is not very difficult to get that very same seasoned beer drinker to gulp down a can of Budweiser or Coors or any other big name, corporate-owned, mass beer producing macrobrewery.

The differences between a Microbrew and a Macrobrew

The primary difference, which in turn is responsible for most of the differences that follow, between the two beer styles is that a microbrew is usually manufactured by a small company, who makes their beer in small batches for limited distribution. A macrobrew is a mass-produced beer made in very large quantities, for generally a cheaper price and is made for distribution in stores nationwide. In the most technical definition, a microbrewery is a brewery that makes less than 15,000 barrels of beer a year and sells less than 75% of their beer outside of the brewery location, as many of the breweries double as a restaurant or bar. The differences between the two can be explained by the simple definition stated above.

Since a macrobrew is made for such a large market, the macrobrewery must “mainstream” the taste of their beer, so that it appeals to all kinds of people. This is why many beer aficionados (or snobs, depending on who you ask) claim that macrobrewed beers have no flavor, or taste like water. It is because flavor would not appeal to people across all spectrums, as people have differing taste buds. Of course, this is just one point of view. It may also just be the result of clever marketing, which made these less-flavored products more popular. Meanwhile, microbrews tend to be made for niche markets, for people that like a beer with a distinctive, one-of-a-kind flavor. Microbrews tend to be more expensive than their counterparts because of the hand-crafted techniques and special ingredients that they use to give their beers that distinctive flavor.

Essentially, the difference between the two types of beer is like the difference between a good steak dinner and a Big Mac meal from McDonald’s. One is tastier, pricier and made by hand (Microbrew) and one is made from processed materials, in a manufacturing line and is much cheaper (Macrobrew.) The flavor differences can be chalked up to the prohibition, when many brewers started “cutting” their beer with inferior products like rice and corn in order to make more beer, for a cheaper price. Meanwhile, microbrews have stuck to the traditional ingredients of yeast, barley and hops. The practice of cutting their beer with rice and corn stalk as most companies after the prohibition just stuck to the classic recipe and invested the bulk of their money into advertising and marketing rather than making a better tasting product.

Microbrew Examples: Deschutes IPA (Hood, OR,) Boundary Bay Oatmeal Stout (Bellingham, WA,)
Macrobrew Examples: Coors Light, Budweiser, Corona, Pabst Blue Ribbon

Ryland Schneider is a beer aficionado who loves his Bubba’s. His favorite is an insulated 70oz Bubba Mugs & Kegs with a built in bottle opener for his craft beers.

2 Thoughts on “Beer! Microbrew or Macrobrew?”

  1. I just wanted to let you know that what you do really affects peoples lives and that people – like me – truly appreciate it.

  2. It is obvious that whoever wrote this text knows nothing about beer. Micro and macro brews are not beer styles. This is so badly written that I hope no one ever reads this text.

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