San Diego is notorious for having some of the world's best beaches, babes, and yes, beer. If you were to take a San Diego Life and Culture class, craft beer would most definitely have its own lecture. With a new brewery popping up seemingly every month, one can never grow tired of San Diego brew. What sets craft breweries apart from more traditional breweries is the unique ingredients within the beer. Speak to a traditional European beer-drinker and they will assure you that orange peels and peaches have no place inside a beer. But it's the 21st century now and we are starting to get crafty with our beer, San Diego especially.
In the US, three brands ruled 80% of the beer industry, so small craft breweries started to pop up in order to "make beer great again," so to speak. Craft beers began popping up in the UK for a different reason. In the 70's, beer became dull and out of style, so chancellor Gordon Brown gave a tax break for breweries under a certain size, thus promoting new craft breweries (The Rise and Rise of Craft Beer). These craft breweries began to take note from the American beer revolution and are now getting creative with their brewing.
I was especially excited for this field trip as I was starting to grow tired of drinking Heineken and Newcastle every night and was dying for a craft beer. I was starting to get homesick, and what better way to cure homesickness than a San Diego style pint of beer? Crate sits on a small river, surrounded by buildings covered in graffiti, which creates a chill and trendy vibe (remind you of anywhere?). Crate had a very "craft brewery" feel and created a relaxed, fun environment, much like San Diego breweries.
Although Crate offered many similarities to San Diego microbrews, the difference laid within the tour itself. Perhaps one of the biggest (and best) differences between SD and the UK was the amount of beer given to us. Go on a beer tour in San Diego and you hope to get 4-5 small tasters of each type of beer. But in the UK, they do it bigger and better. We were given pitcher upon pitcher of each type of beer; it just kept on flowing. Another difference was the style of the tour itself. In San Diego, the tours I have been given have been informational, professional, and somewhat dry. But our fearless leader spoke with passion and mastery of his love for beer. It made the tour fun and relaxed and it felt like we were just drinking with 20 of our closest friends.
All in all, I have to say San Diego is still the winner of a competition between craft breweries, but Craft puts up a mighty fight. For being one of the first of its kind in London, Craft is absolutely incredible. Craft resembles the shift of the attitude towards beer
and I am excited to see what comes of it. Who knows, maybe within the next couple of years people will be flying in from all over the world for London beer week!