Happy Independents Day

Consumers err in thinking ownership structure has anything to do with the quality of beer a brewery can produce. An independently-owned brewery is no more likely to make a tasty pint than a multinational conglomerate. And yet there are differences. Big companies play in the shallow waters of the mass market, where oddity must be kept in check. The independents, who can afford to select their (niche) audiences, are keepers of the weird and wonderful. Big breweries can certainly make fine beer, but if it's interesting beer you want, you're going to find it in the hands of an independent. 

On this Fourth, let us celebrate interesting, independent breweries. 

De Garde's coolship and some of their foeders.

Hot wort pouring into Cantillon's coolship.

The hop fields just outside Agrarian Brewing.

The men from Breakside drinking the first pints at the new Slabtown brewery and pub.

Schlenkerla's 600-year-old pub with oxblood-stained wood.

Alan Taylor at Zoiglhaus.

Ferrmenters at Brasserie Dupont

Block 15's Nick Arzner pulling some wild ale from the wood.

Fuller's Brewery, which sports the oldest (largest?) wisteria vine in Britain.

When Ron Gansberg dips into the cellar at Cascade Brewing, sometimes the rarities require documentation.

Damn fine pilsner.