With Buffalo on Tap set to go off this Saturday (January 14th) at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center, I figured it would be a good time to look at what craft beer really is. What is all the fuss about, and is it just going to cost me more?

 

If you go back a few years, I pictured a guy in his underwear trying to brew beer at home. Turns out I wasn't really far off.  That is kind of what started this beer revolution where it seems everyone is now brewing their own beer.  It makes sense too.  In 2016, craft beer brewing accounted for $4 Billion of economic activity in NY State alone.  The state now has 326 breweries making it the 4th largest in the country.

 

Now be honest, the $4 Billion number stunned you a little right?  I was shocked to hear that, because I figured at absolute best we might be seeing a billion, not 4 of them.  Now that number is for the state not just Buffalo, but the Queen City is definitely making up it's fair share of that pie.

The Washington Post/Getty Images

So what is craft beer?  Craft beer, according to the dictionary, is a beer made in a traditional or non-mechanized way by a small brewery.  Now craft brewers can't agree on the definition but they can agree that craft beer is the way to go.  The flavor of craft beer versus the mainstream options is no comparison.

 

Now that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with drinking a Miller Lite on occasion, but if you want to step it up a notch in the flavor department craft beer is where it's at.  Like a mad scientist, a master brewer uses different types of water, hops, and flavors to concoct a masterpiece for your palate.  Depending on the season they have a flavor that you will enjoy, whether it's a winter lager, Pumpkin Ale, or a Summer Shandy.

 

Now, to the novice drinker craft beer can be a scary thing.  All of these funky labels, weird names, and brewers you've never heard of can make it difficult to choose one you think you might like.  That's what Buffalo on Tap is for.  It takes the guess work out for you and allows you to enjoy over 100 craft beers so you can find out what you like.  Pick your favorites so the next time you are at Wegmans you can look like a boss grabbing the beer.

 

So don't be afraid and give it a try, you just might like it.