In 2008, a story landed in The New Yorker from staff writer Burkhard Bilger that would change the direction of craft beer forever. Entitled “A Better Brew: The Rise of Extreme Beer,” the article detailed the burgeoning category of craft beer production that was desperate to create something with more substance than thin pilsners or poor quality mass-market brews that permeated at that time.
The piece breaks brewing down into two categories: those that have a traditional approach to brewing and those Bilger deems “extreme beer.” Extreme beers seemingly break all the rules of traditional brewing. They’re brewed in styles outside of just the German classics, and take the elements of the brewing process and dial them up to the extreme, producing beers with high ABV, high hop quantities, or an abundance of recognizable flavors.
Coming in at nearly 10,000 words, Bilger’s feature has been described by others in the brewing industry as the most important magazine piece ever written about craft brewing. Today on “Taplines,” host Dave Infante is joined by Burkhard Bilger himself, the author of The New Yorker’s watershed feature. The two discuss the idea, the execution, and the legacy of “A Better Brew.” Tune in for more.