“Beer is a crisp, bubbly drink that tastes good and gives adult drinkers a buzz, so

“Beer is a crisp, bubbly drink that tastes good and gives adult drinkers a buzz, so why complicate it?” said the person who has not yet read this story. Beware, or that person might be you. It is not unusual for someone to ask me as a brewer, mid-conversation, “What is ‘craft’ beer, anyway?” This is a question I’ve answered dozens of times, and yet each time I must reconsider my reply, as it’s something of a moving target. According to the internetexperts (at Wikipedia), three things define craft brewing: volume produced (i.e., volume must be under a certain ever-increasing and quasi-arbitrary threshold); external ownership (or lack thereof) by The Umbrella Corporation and its subsidiary tentacles; and, last but not least, brewing technique. The Brewers Association pretty much agrees, expressly excluding malternative beverages (like “Not Your Sister’s Grape NEHI”) and adding annually evolving metrics to bracket the category and to determine their largest volume-based-dues-paying member. Dictionary.com says simply, “an all-malt or nearly all-malt specialty beer usually brewed in a small, regional brewery.” Seems like someone should put a finer point on it, and, considering I virt...