Sunday, 12 June 2011

Beer is Trending

Over the past few years the craft beer world has developed a way of expressing itself in the here & now, it has taken to creating trends & then seeing them explored by brewers UK & worldwide. There is a top layer of brewing in the UK & US at the moment which is bubbling away with creative & innovative brewing.

No drink in the world comes close to offering the diversity beer does, something for everyone!
Where the next big thing comes from is a mystery, sometimes an iconic beer spawns others in it's image & style as I think Brewdogs Bashah Black IPA did a few years ago, in the resultant few years brewers throughout the UK have explored the Black IPA phenomena with a heavy hand, we ourselves can be included in this bracket with our 'Heretic Black Imperial IPA & our extremely popular single hopped Black IPA series 'Nerotype'.

I think we are coming to the end of exploring this interesting style & some high quality permanently brewed lines have appeared in the UK like The Kernel Black IPA, Buxton Black Rocks, Thornbridge Raven & Windsor & Eton Conqueror, but the market is now inevitably moving onto other styles & ideas. Other ideas we have explored are hoppy red ales with 'Red-Eye' & 'Rouge -Hop', another that comes to mind is Thornbridge 'Colorado Red' however I think this style has still got legs yet.

The Periodic Table of Beer Styles, there's space for a few new hybrids yet...
We announced our 'Summer of Saison' last month our plan to brew four naturally flavoured Saisons, it will be interesting to see if we'll see other brewers trying their hand at Saison, Dark Star have been producing a Saison for a couple of years & it seems to have a cult following when available, so it may be a style that has legs under the 'a la mode' heading over the next year.

In the coming six months we are planning a Milk Stout & a Cranberry Wheat beer, amongst others.

The beauty of brewing is that there are so many styles to explore, not to mention the grey areas in between which can be the most fun!

There are ever present styles that will always attract the masses in particular 'IPA's' seem to be THE style that shows no sign of going away, thankfully. IPA is a style we love to brew here, in fact our flagship beer 'Diablo' is an IPA & our recently brewed '7C's IPA' has also proven popular.

Where are we destined for next on the beer atlas?

Sometimes hops come along & cause a style wave all of their very own like 'Nelson Sauvin' hops did a few years back, this year the heady 'Citra' hop variety which has created a smorgasbord of new 'pale ales' in the UK.

What styles would you like to see explored this year? I use the word 'styles' in the loosest sense as I'm not one for working to set style guidelines, some of the best ideas are cross pollinated from each other...

If you have seen the 'I am a Craft Brewer' video you will know there is a line in the video saying 'We don't don't follow trends, we create them!' This adage has never held more water in the craft beer scene as it does today.

Who knows what styles are about to take the limelight, I all can say is we'll be there riding the crest of the wave...

13 comments:

John Clarke said...

Good points James.

Interesting some Belgian brewers seem to be taking the "Saison" style and running with it a bit. Urthel,Cazeau, Jandrain-Jandrenouille and St Feuillen immediately come to mind (not to mention the yet to find St Canarus- Stillwater collaboration Saison Darkly).

You want a new trend? Two of the best beers I have had in the last 12 months have been Imperial Stout/IPA blends - Hopping Frog Bodacious Black & Tan and De Molen Lood & Oud Ijzer. I know one or two UK brewers who have also tried and raved about these but to date no-one over here has gone with this.

James, Brewer @ SWB said...

John - Now you're talking! Imperial Stout/IPA blend... Sounds marvelous!

John Clarke said...

Indeed it is. The Hopping Frog is 67% IPA and 33% imperial stout (and given that De Molen stock the Hopping Frog I'm guessing their's is similar).

I'm in Amsterdam when you have your Marble face off on 25th or I'd have brought a bottle of Black & Tan along to share so you could see what I'm on about. If Colin's along (and I think he plans to be) mention it to him as he has tried both.

Gavin said...

Imperial Milk Stout is the next big thing

Tandleman said...

One of the styles I'd like to see the new wave of craft brewers tackle is Belgian White. Commonly available in Bewpubs in the US, why not here? If we ever get a summer that is.

Ghost Drinker said...

I want to see more English style Bock beers.

James, Brewer @ SWB said...

Imperial Milk Stout, Belgian White, English Bock, interesting, keep em' coming!

Gavin said...

Inspired by the mix of Dragon Stout and Cherry B, I propose Imperial Jamaican Style Extra Sweet Stout with Cherry.

Gavin said...

Glad to see you are doing a Milk Stout, Dunham Massey did one and it was excellent.

My last suggestion Rhubarb Lambic made with Real Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, or you could do it with an Oud Bruin style beer.

Mark said...

I'm with you on saisons - it's a great style of beer. Some of the new US ones from places like Stillwater andThe Bruery are excellent. V Saison is one of my favourite beers - the use of US hops is great.

I think more breweries will have a go at wheat beer. Thornbridge have just done one and I think others will follow. I'm not with Tandleman though - I'm not a Wit fan.

I'd also like to see British brewers with the capabilities trying out proper lagers or pilsners.

Steve Lamond said...

I'd like to see more beers with novel (or revived old) flavouring ingredients, especially as new wave of keg keeping ability may not need hopping for preservative power.

summer porter sounds like an interesting challenge too

Steve Lamond said...

forgot to ask where that periodic table of beer styles came from? Appeals to the chemist in me!

Yvan Seth said...

+1 for Saison - had the Dark Star one last week and absolutely loved it.

I've found most UK attempts at wheat "real ale" a bit crap. But I love a good Weizen and think the Camden cloudy wheat beer was excellent ... would like to see more UK breweries giving something like that a go.

Would be great to see some tasty/toasty/roasty dark lagers too - along the lines of schwarzbier or Czech dark lager. Possibly with a handful of smoked malt :) ... I see your schwarz is as big as mine!

As for the "beeriodic table", it's done the rounds a few times:
Zythophile "beautifully executed, fatally flawed"
Company selling prints
PDF version