I’ve read a lot of articles about the future of craft beer but since I keep getting asked, “Is the craft beer bubble about to burst? Is there a future for craft beer?” here’s my thoughts on the future of craft beer.
Trends come and go but craft beer is here to stay. The “It” folks, you know the ones who have to be part of the latest cool craze, are moving on from craft beer and personally that makes this Gal happy. At the same I know quite a few folks who are just discovering the joy of craft beer and it’s been fun to see their taste and knowledge of beer blossom.
Is craft beer still the new cool kid on the block? Nope, that title now belongs to distilleries. They are popping up left and right just like breweries once did and that is one of the differences you will see as the craft beer world settles fewer breweries opening. Fine by me. We don’t need one on every corner and frankly, far too many have opened that never should have. It will be survival of the fittest. If you brew good beer, take care of your customers, offer reasonable prices and have a sound business plan then you should be ok.
I do, however, feel a shift in the craft beer world has started and will continue…#drinklocal. Folks want to see more local brews on tap at restaurants and beer bars. Yes, folks will still enjoy beer from across the country but see the value in supporting their local breweries. I think the acquisitions of craft breweries by mega corporations like Anheuser-Busch is a factor in the #drinklocal movement. Beer lovers want their local breweries to be successful but not by the big guys taking them over but rather from customer and community support.
However, I also see a return to Belgium beer. I think we are going to be seeing them pop up more on tap list and more craft breweries brewing Belgium styles. Belgium beers were this Gal’s first love so I don’t mind at all.
So to recap craft beer will be sticking around
Some breweries will close
Fewer breweries will be opening
More acquisitions of craft breweries by big corporations
Lots more distilleries popping up
The Return of Belgium Beers
There for a while it seemed the “in” thing with craft beer was to make sure when you drank a beer the hops exploded in your mouth and took over every taste bud. Thank goodness that trend is fading some and a beautiful beauty is rising up as the next big thing. I like to refer to it as Black Beauty in other words Black Beers. No not stouts or porter but Black Beers as in Black Lagers, Black IPAs and Black Ryes. I for one am loving this growing trend and hope it trandscends into a main stay brewing style. It’s a wonderful thing that brewers are playing around with some standard styles and brewing them with a twist.
These Black Beauties help put to rest the age old myth about beer – if it’s dark it’s heavy; if it’s light in color it’s light in flavor and body….W R O N G ! ! ! There are many full flavor full bodied light color beers, heck I once had a Blonde that weighed in at 10%, and plenty of dark beers that would be considered on the light side of the spectrum. So lets just put that misconception to pasture.
A great way to do just that is the Black beers. These beers are a perfect way to introduce one to a style they may not normally like or enjoy and to those scary “heavy” aka dark beers. I for one can appreciate a well done rye beer but you would be hard pressed to find this gal ordering a pint of one…until now. Welcome the Black Rye, oh my!
The black beers are combining the best of both worlds. These ales tend to be medium bodied beers with a dark hue complimented by just a nice but not overwhelming accent flavor whether it be hops, rye or something else. With the black you have the subtle flavors of roasted malt with cocoa and chicory balanced out by hops or rye. Suddenly this Gal is loving the rye beers, Black ryes that is, Ottercreek Black IPA has become one of my main go to beers and I find Black Lagers to be so delightful. Three styles I previously shied away from and am completely and totally drawn to now.
A few favorites:
Founders Black Rye (very happy to see Founders promoting this on the festival circuit)
Broken Goblet Black Rye – my first intro to black ryes
Ottercreek Black IPA – a true delight
Terrapin Brewing in collaboration with New Belgium Brewing – Black is the New Wit
So next time you find yourself presented with the opportunity to try a Black Beer PLEASE do so. You may just expose yourself to a whole new world of beer.