Every January, beer media publications are full of predictions about what will unfold in the ever-changing world of craft beer during the coming year. Adam Roberts — HopCat’s Regional Beverage Program Manager and a Certified Cicerone — looks into his hazy crystal ball and offers some insight into the beer-style trends that are likely to shape the industry in 2019:
While I’m extremely hopeful that the next big beer trend will be something exciting like a Peanut Butter Brut IPA w/ Sea Salt & Glitter, realistically these predictions might be a little less thrilling. Here’s what I think we’ll see in the always evolving beer world in 2019.
I feel that light, crisp, and refreshing beers have been on the uptick the past few years. The beer schnob (yes, schnob) in all of us has come full-circle and can appreciate just how amazing a well-done Pilsner can be, especially when that’s what the day calls for. I see this continuing into 2019. As long as we don’t overdo it, and revert back to the days of one style fits all, I am fine with this continuing trend.
WHEAT BEERS (aka the original hazy beers)
Not so much a trend as an overlooked fan favorite, I think that wheat beers are right up there with lagers in terms of popularity. Even in the off-season when the breweries bring out their darker, stronger seasonal offerings, I find myself drinking wheat beers. I feel that few breweries notice this, but Michigan-based Bell’s brewing co. makes a winter seasonal, Winter White, and that’s what I’m drinking right now. Take note, breweries. The original “hazy beers” are here to stay!
I don’t see standard American IPAs going anywhere anytime soon, despite some predictions to the contrary. They continue to top the most popular beer lists in the many markets. Will they ever stop? This isn’t a trend, this is a fact. People love their favorite IPAs. The trend that continues is the variation to the style we are seeing:
New England-Style IPAs – New England IPAs have experienced an unforeseen boom over the last few years with just about every brewery jumping on the bandwagon, and for good reason. They aren’t quite done yet. The thirst is still there. I think we’ll continue to see new brands pop up in this category through 2019.
Milkshake IPAs - Take a New-England Style IPA, add some lactose (milk sugar) and your favorite fruit. Boom. What you have is a delicious variation on the New-England style. I think you’ll see a few more of these coming out.
Brut IPAs – While not quite as popular as the New-England explosion, I’d wager that we’ll continue to see growth in this sub-category. Brut IPAs utilize an enzyme to convert sugar into much more digestible forms for the yeast, resulting in a bone-dry finish. The secret here (shhhh) is to add a little orange juice and make yourself the best-tasting beermosa you’ve ever had. Brut IPAs are so champagne-esque that the combo works almost too perfectly. Try it and enjoy the trending. Yum.
Hazy everything - With the boom of the New-England IPA style came the trend to haze up everything. Pale Ales, Double IPAs, even lagers. Wait for it. The hazy oatmeal stout is sure to be next.
Just like I noted on Lagers, the beer schnob in us all has also come full-circle, and can appreciate just how amazing a well-done core brand can be. Instead of searching for the newest thing, the experienced beer geek has found their favorite, and will drink it over and over again, because it’s good. I expect to see a resurgence in the importance of highlighting flagship brands again. Just look up #FlagshipFebruary.
Quality craft beers and amazing variety will continue to trend high. Lucky us! Drink up.