Beer Today

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Today, the countries with the largest per capita consumption of beer are mainly traditional European beer producers: Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Britain and its former colony Australia. In the United States, beer accounts for more than three quarters of the alcoholic drinks consumed. Most American beer remains bland and uniform, produced by a handful of large companies in largely automated factory-like breweries. The 1970s brought a revival of interest in more flavorful alternatives, and a flourishing of “microbreweries” making specialty beers in small quantities, brewpubs that both brew and serve beer, and home brewing. Some of these small enterprises have grown with their success, and the giant brewers are now making microbrew lookalikes. And it’s now possible to find beers from all over the world in liquor stores and supermarkets. These are good times for exploring the many different styles of beer and ale.