From the craft beer movement’s earliest days, ales dominated. And there was a good reason for that.
“Craft beer started as a reaction to what was normal, which at that time—back in the early and mid-1980s—was macro-type lagers,” says Phil Markowski, brew master and co-founder of Connecticut’s Two Roads Brewing Company.
By “macro-type lagers,” Markowski is referring to domestic heavyweights like Budweiser and European imports like Becks. Apart from Guinness stout (which is a type of ale), lagers had the U.S. market cornered.
Producing ales—and in particular, bitter and hoppy India pale ale—was the best way for those early craft beer pioneers to differentiate themselves and compete with the Budweisers of the world. “The IPA movement is still going strong, but now some craft brewers that want to stand out are doing lagers,” Markowski says.
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