The Golden Age of Home Brewing

With the home brew revival of the 1980s came a resurgence in craft brewing. Home brewers who were inspired started microbreweries around the country. With the coming of these new brew pubs, a newfound knowledge of how an honest ale is made spread like wildfire in the United States. This momentum has culminated in what we now enjoy as the golden age of microbrew. Although many microbreweries today have been or are in the process of being bought up by large corporate brewing interests, the ethics of real craft brewing has madeits way into the hearts and minds of beer fans across the country, ensuring that real craft brewing will never again die in the U.S.

 The Golden Age of Home Brewing

To put things in a historical context, let us look back to the 1980s. Ronald Reagan, the monkey man from the movies had been elected president. Global tensions surrounding the insane cold war had everyone thinking that doomsday might be tomorrow. This, of course contributed to a nihilistic youth culture known as punk rock. At this time, there were only about twelve brands of beer to choose from in the United States. CAMRA, the English group that encourages the manufacture and consumption of real ale had kept the madness of mass produced bland beer away from England, and a few microbreweries in the U.S. were spreading the gospel of good beer.

Once the cold war let up, we saw the microbreweries take off. There must have been a huge sigh of relief worldwide - I'm sure that that sigh contributed to a loosening up around the country. Shortly thereafter the number of microbreweries in the U.S multiplied rapidly. We've gone from twelve varieties in the 1980's to nearly 1500 and counting by 2006, bringing us into the golden age of the microbrew. Nearly every large city has numerous microbreweries in the states, now, and many smaller towns have one as well. According to, since 2003, Craft beer industry sales have grown 31.5%. It has become common for townsfolk to be asked "where is the local brew pub?"

We are in an age where the trend of craft brewing seems to only be gaining more momentum. The business of microbreweries is certainly a growth market, easily transplanted to tourist towns or to big cities. Another aspect of the economics of the golden age of the micro brew is the ever-growing interest in home brewing and building a home bar. With increased manufacturing and sales of the decadent appliance the kegerator, more and more people are enjoying pub style draft beer at home (see article, "What is a Kegerator?" for more information). Online showrooms featuring the latest in home bar technology keep spreading the good word of the kegerator as a delightful addition to any home.

With so many microbrews to choose from, many people are opting for kegerator conversions. Available easily online, these conversion kits allow you to transmogrify any working refrigerator into a kegerator. By utilizing the kegerator conversion kits, one not only saves on shipping costs for one's kegerator, but also allows for a kegerator that can serve up to five beers at a moderate cost. This allows for numerous ale selections to be available at a relatively low cost, a real benefit in the golden age of microbrew, when such a vagarious array of beers is offered to the public.

The most we can really do to promulgate this tendency towards vast selection and variety of microbrews is to keep enjoying them. By spreading the word of good beer far and wide, we may someday see this trend spread far and wide, to the remote towns of the Yukon, the remote towns of the Midwest, and even further. With enough word of mouth promotion, we may even find ourselves moving from the Golden age to the Platinum age of Home Brewing.