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How many operating breweries are there in the United States?

The number of operating breweries in the U.S. in 2014 topped 3,000 (3,040 to be exact). This figure is important because for the first time in two centuries, the number of American breweries has finally reached pre-Civil War levels. The last time we saw this many breweries, the transcontinental railroad had just been completed and there were only 37 stars on the U.S. flag.

What is the purpose of having a two-stage fermentation?

Some brewers choose to have a two-stage fermentation. This will often result in a cleaner-looking finished product, and also a cleaner-tasting one. In a two-stage fermentation, the fermenting wort is transferred into a second container after the initial vigorous fermentation subsides. The reason being, once the fermentation begins to slow down, the yeast settles out along with a substantial amount of protein trub (sediment), and if the still-fermenting wort remains in contact with it, unpleasant yeasty characters and off-flavors can result. Transferring the beer into a clean, secondary fermenter for the remainder of the conditioning time allows additional settling to occur and time for the flavors in the young beer to mature.

Originally published in our Micro Brew News' Trivia Time, Straight to Ale Brewery edition.