The Difference Between Craft Beer and Micro-Brewed Beer

Brewer's Blog #8

  • February 27th, 2017
  • By Stephen Rich

Interest in locally brewed craft beer is on the rise, and as people are learning more about beer and discovering new favourites, the terms “craft beer” and “micro-brewed beer” are often used interchangeably. However, a craft brewery is not always a micro-brewery, and a micro-brewery is only a craft brewery if it follows certain craft brewing guidelines.

What makes a beer a craft beer?

Typically, craft breweries focus on using timeless methods in brewing, and use quality, local ingredients in their recipes. Craft brewers use more traditional malts in their beers than macro-breweries, who will often use significant amounts of corn, rice, or other sugar syrups to simplify the beer, making it less expensive to produce. Craft breweries choose to use real malts because they add flavour, texture, and dimension to their beers.

Craft beers are often left unfiltered and unpasteurized, without any preservatives or chemicals added to the beer, leaving their beers more flavourful, and arguably more interesting. Today’s craft brewers use the best of old-fashioned brewing techniques while at the same time looking forward and exploring new beer styles and experimenting with flavourful new ingredients and interesting new techniques. While many craft brewers are pushing the boundaries of style and flavour, lots of craft brewers still brew classic styles like Extra Special Bitter, Robust Porter, Vienna Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, and Dunkel. A focus on quality and flavour above all else, whether in simple or complex beers, is what makes today’s craft beers unique and memorable.

Our very first craft beer, Absent Landlord Country Kolsch, is a great example of a traditional style with a modern take. It combines both old world and new world malts and hops, and uses original Kölsch yeast. But, unlike a traditional Kölsch, it is fermented warm. Absent Landlord provides welcoming and easy sensations as the original style does, but with floral sensations and a fruity citrus aroma for added excitement.

What’s a micro-brewed beer?

Craft beer is defined by the beer, people, and purpose of a brewery itself — not a measure of size. A micro-brewery is defined by the quantity of beer it produces a year, which is defined as up to 15,000 of barrels per year. The Brewers Association’s size limit for a craft brewery is six million barrels per year. But, just because a brewery is small doesn’t mean it is a craft brewery. Craft beer is all about making beer for the right reasons. If a brewer’s beer is designed to be delicious, made with the highest standards in quality, and exists because the team wants to share wonderful beer with great people, then it is craft beer — no matter how big or small the brewery may be.

Now that we’ve talked about the difference between craft beer and micro-brewed beer, why not kick back and relax with your favourite brew? Maybe we’re biased, but we’d suggest unwinding with a cold can of delicious Cowbell craft beer!