America: Land of the free and home of some great brew


The U.S. has stolen Europe’s thunder

Don Iler

The Broadside

I remember the first time I drank beer. I was in a discothek in Cologne and someone handed me a bottle of Kolsch. It tasted great and it started me into a long discovery of the magical world of beer during my year abroad in Germany. I discovered that every town had a different kind of beer and I set out to drink as many different kinds as I could. But no matter where I went, Germans couldn’t resist the temptation to make fun of American beer, which infuriated me.

Europeans have no right to make fun of our beer because America is the greatest beer country in the world. We make some of the greatest beer in the planet, and we regularly beat Europeans at their own game. Americans also have a wider choice in beer than any European does.

Europeans are right in some respect. Most of the beer in made and sold in American is watery and tasteless. Anheuser-Busch controls 50.9% of the US beer market, and in many parts of the country, it is difficult to find craft beer. But, this trend is changing.

The total number of craft breweries is up and America now has nearly as many breweries as before prohibition.  Before prohibition, most breweries were local affairs that made beer for the town or city they were located in. This trend is returning with most states and cities able to brag about a local brewery.

This is especially the case in the northwest, with Portland having more breweries than any other city in the world, and Bend, a small city, having six microbreweries. We are lucky to not only live in such a beautiful area of the country, but to make some of the best beer in the world.

American beers regularly win at competitions. When the New York Times recently embarked upon a tasting to determine the Best Belgian style beer, it was an American beer that won, and four of the top 10 came from American breweries.

Not only do we make some of the best beer in the world, we also have access to more beer than any other nation. In Germany, you could never find beer that wasn’t German, and you could really only find beer from breweries within 100 miles of where you were at. At a local grocery store, I can purchase some of the best beer in the world. A local pub regularly has obscure and great beer from around the country and world.

It is this choice that really makes America the greatest beer country in the world. We have the choice to drink mass produced swill, or we can drink locally produced craft beer. Or we can drink the most expensive Belgian beer or a can of German pilsner. But for me, I am going to drink quality, American beer, and one that is made in the great state of Oregon.

You may contact Don Iler at


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