Some people think that the United States now brews the best beer, but even they are forced to concede that should you wish to actually drink the stuff, you are better placed (for example) in England where a ten-minute stroll from your front door (in any major or minor city) will likely get you to a pub with a decent selection. However, the partisans of nouveau American beer chauvinism have asserted that whilst England may score highly on that dimension, the typical US supermarket has a world-beating selection of brews.Chris then embarks on a well-written, amusingly chauvinistic post designed to put impertinent Yanks in their place (was it ever not thus?). And indeed, Chris's argument holds sway because he's able to dictate the terms. He is indeed correct that there remain many places in America where you can't find good beer. He is furthermore correct that in most towns, the corner bar doesn't have a best bitter or mild on tap.
Where Chris does not go, where he can't go, is the question of diversity. On this score we crush all comers. Is there a style brewed on the earth that's not brewed in America? Doubtful. Is there a style once brewed in the world that's not brewed in America? Arguable. Chris might toss out a few likelies: gratzer (we brew it), gose (brew it) adambier (yup--sort of). He might dig into his bag of tricks. What about a Devon White Ale, the ghastly-sounding egg-beer once made in the toe of England in the sixteenth century? Sorry, we make that, too.
It’s the fermentation process that makes this beer unique, however. First, the beer was fermented with a portion of unfermented wort reserved from the previous batch called ‘The Ripening.’ The reserve was kept warm until it was time to brew the next batch, when it was added before fermentation. Presumably, this smelled or tasted like modern sour wort. For this part of the brewing, we pulled about two liters of first runnings from an upcoming beer, put it into a conditioning vessel with some ground malt and an ounce of hops.And I'm willing to bet $100 Chris has never been to Oregon, or he'd be a lot less certain of himself.
Update: In comments, Dan writes: " America probably brews greatest diversity of stuff, but you'd have to make a more sophisticated argument for outright 'best.'"
Fair enough. Here it is. Breweries in the United States not only produce every commercial beer style produced everywhere else, but for every commercial beer style produced, a domestic US brewery makes at least a credible example. This includes not just standard British, German, and Belgian styles, but rare specialties like lambics (Allagash). Can any other country make this claim of producing credible examples of all the world's styles? No.