I like Rob Kasper's beer column in the Baltimore Sun, "Kasper on Tap." It is to the point, is written from the consumer's point of view and often asks questions of the readership - like these in response to new data that shows Canadians are buying more and more US craft beer:
I think I understand why Canadians are drinking our beer. It is better than theirs. Other than Unibroue from Quebec, I can't think of a Canadian beer I crave. Is this unfair? Another example of narrow thinking? Or it is accurate? Do you have a Canadian you crave?
I expect that sentiment reflects both a lack of awareness about Canadian beer as well as the lack of adventure when it comes to a lot of Canadian craft brewing. Certainly a McAuslan Oatmeal Stout is one of the best for the style I have tried and the beers of Dieu du Ciel are worth hunting down. And there are others but the point is still valid that for many Canadian small brewers the challenge is to just crack the marketplace as opposed to making the sort of statements with their beers that could stand out in the vibrant US market. Plus, we are simply a smaller market though I think it is fair to say that there may be more quality craft brewers in Oregon or Michigan than in the whole Great White North.
But is that what is really happening here or is the real change that government monopolies like Ontario's LCBO have just expanded their range of US craft beer from the former minuscule list all the way to what can called a tiny selection? Canada has had a cultural chip on its shoulder for decades about its beer and is only now finding out that the myth isn't all that valid. It may hurt or confuse us to hear an American say such things but for the most part, I have to admit it's true.