Beer lovers everywhere enjoy a nice, relaxing drink at the end of the day. In the U.S., craft beer is becoming a more popular option for millions of people, leading to the rise of many new terms that consumers aren’t aware of.
It might be hard to know exactly what you’re drinking when restaurant and pub menus contain jargon items exclusive to the beer industry. To help you out, here are 10 key brewing terms that are commonly used in relation to craft beer, provided by CraftBeer.com’s Beer Glossary:
- Grist – the grains and malt prior to being mixed with water
- Adjunct – fermentable ingredients in a beer, likely to be corn, rice and yeast
- Racking – moving beer from container to container
- Priming – the addition of sugar into beer prior to bottling, which produces carbonation
- Growler – a 64-ounce container of beer, sometimes sold at bars
- Session beer – a light beer that can be consumed in high amounts at one time
- Dry hopping – adding hops to a finished beer to increase the smell, but not the taste
- Specific gravity – the density of sugar compared to the density of water
- Bomber – simply a 22-ounce bottle
- ABV – stands for alcohol by volume
The craft beer industry is a booming business, with breweries seeming to pop up everywhere across the U.S. and Europe. While craft beer has risen, overall beer sales have fallen in the last few years. In 2013, craft beer sales jumped more than 17 percent while beer industry sales as a whole fell nearly 2 percent, according to the Brewers Association.
This dichotomy can best be explained by changing tastes in consumer demand. Domestic and import beers have widely been available for decades, with many types of beer owned by just a handful of companies. This has led to the overproliferation of beers that taste very similar, flooding the market with copied versions of others. Craft beer, on the other hand, is a largely local independent industry housed in microbreweries and small startups around the country.
By avoiding the same beer-making techniques of their forerunners, many new brewers are opting for innovative combinations of ingredients that provide more of a palette for consumers to choose from. Craft brewers in general opt less for high-volume production and more on the fine-tuned skill itself, which beer drinkers are increasingly favoring.
The Brewers Association noted the craft beer market was worth $14.3 billion in 2013, with roughly 336,000 jobs created as a result.