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Since the 1980s, craft breweries — small, privately owned producers of handcrafted beer, sometimes called microbreweries — have been on the rise. Then came the turn of the century and the new millennium. Suddenly craft beer was everywhere, as the number of craft breweries skyrocketed from a little more than 500 in the early ’90s to more than 2,000 in 2012. On the trail of this cascade of popularity came craft distilling, following the same model as the humble breweries and currently experiencing its own boom exemplified by the likes of Firestone & Robertson, Garrison Brothers, and High West.

Along the way, the twain met, creating a beer style so diverse its characteristics can vary from the peat moss and tobacco flavor profile of Schlafly Single Malt Scottish Ale to the vanilla and dark fruits of the Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer from Fort Worth, Texas-based Rahr & Sons Brewing Company.

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