What's the difference?
In a nutshell
To keep it simple, speciality beers fall mainly under traditional styles such as blondes, doubles, tripels, quadruples, whites and weizen, originating in Germany and Belgium. On the other hand, craft beers, such as IPAs, pale ales, barrel-aged, stouts and sours, originated in the US and the UK. Furthermore, craft breweries use no concessions, so no hop extract or malt extract but rather real hops and real malt.
What is craft beer?
The term "craft beer" was first used in 1978, the year when home brewing was legalised again in the United States. This change in the law led to an explosion of new beer styles, as many Americans started brewing their own beer. However, prior to this period, India Pale Ales (IPAs) had already emerged in the UK.
So what characterises a "craft" beer? Generally, craft beer is brewed by small, independent breweries, leaving room for experimentation. Love and passion for brewing are central, allowing brewers to create unique flavours, such as the floral and bitter notes of the Green Bullet IPA or the fruity flavours of the Funky Falcon. Craft breweries also often play with traditional styles. Like our White Mamba, which puts a modern twist on traditional wheat beer. With additions like cardamom, coriander seeds, lime leaf and a pinch of salt. Craft breweries also want the beer to be brewed as fresh as possible. Thus, no concessions like hops and malt extract are used. But instead, real hops and real malt. This focus on real ingredients contributes to the craft quality and flavour diversity of craft beers.
What is special beer?
Special beer originated in the 1980s and the term is used for all beers that do not fall under lager. Special beer is known for the following styles: blonde, dubbels, tripels, quadruples, whites and weizen. Special beer is mainly brewed by countries with a real beer culture and is therefore mainly associated with Germany and Belgium. An example of a typical special beer is a La Chouffe. Furthermore, special beer is often brewed by large breweries. As a result, they are somewhat less experimental and often brew the same special beer again in large quantities.