Okay, so generally, historically, a micro-brew is anything smaller than a mega-brew, right?
With the recognition that mega-brew is itself not a particularly real category and generally isn't even thought of as such, being more often referred to as either simply "brew," "corporate bullcrap," "whatever's cheap," or "that pale American piss," depending on audience, I think we can all agree that we know mega-brew when we see it. (It being, like, Bud, Coors, Miller, Busch, PBR, Hamms, and pretty much anything that tastes like them.) But of course that runs into problems right away: Consider Guinness, which I'm pretty sure is available in the entire English-speaking world. Mega? Maybe more like kilo-brew? (The metric jokes are only getting worse, btw, so I recommend bailing now.)
Okay, so you've got mega-brew(American-type) and mega-brew(International-type). Fine. What spawned this post is the set of discrete categories between mega and micro. What are they?
I figure it's time for an RFC:
- Homebrew. Yup.
- Nano-brew. Single-brewpub stuff.
- Micro-brew. Extremely local. Here, I'm thinking of things like Surly, Bridgeport, Flat Earth, Dick's, Dogfish Head, and Fish Tail. There's a decent chance I cannot name any you would recognize, because that's kind of the point.
- Local swill. Stuff that's totally unavailable outside its territory, but which isn't really produced with what might be called an artisan's touch. I'm thinking particularly of Henry Weinhard's, Leinenkugel's, and maybe Summit on a bad day. Generally a cut above mega-brew.
- Milli-brew. Sounds too much like "Miller," so let's just skip it.
- Centi-brew. Produced on a relatively small scale, but quite widely available, even on tap. New Belgium, Deschutes, Sierra Nevada,* and all those smaller international oddities like Chimay and Staropramen.
- Brew. Demilitarized zone; contains no actual brew.
- Hecto-brew. Post-micro-boom "artisanal" subsidiaries of major brewing concerns, as well as certain less-popular international items such as Murphy's and Beamish (both part of the Heineken empire, which is itself of the International flavor of mega-brew) and Smithwick's (part of Guinness).
- Kilo-brew. Reserved for future use.
- Mega-brew. Comes in both American and International types. Available damned near everywhere. American type is your basic watery lager. International type varies a bit more, but still contains a fair number of watery lagers (Heineken, Carlson, Kirin, Ichiban, Tiger, Singha, Harp, etc.). The main requirement is that it's pretty much goddamn everywhere.
* Funny story about the size of the American beer world. You know how Sierra Nevada used to have twist-off tops, but they were really bitchily hard to open, and then they switched to pry-offs? One day, Summit's twist-off caps suddenly became really hard to open.
Like, across the board, without exception.
Turned out that Sierra Nevada had bought a new bottling line, and immediately sold their old one to Summit.