2016 BEER TRENDSOCTOBER 31 2016
Ben Jaeger is the Bar Manager at Ale House at Amato’s. A self-proclaimed hop head and home brewer, he has an extensive background in not only beer but wine. With a love for all things Colorado, Ben makes sure to stock the bar with lots of local favorites and a few beers you may have never heard of.
When you run 30 rotating tap lines a day and order in new beer every week, you really have to know what’s out there and what kind of beer people are going to be asking for. So, it’s kinda my job to stay on top of beer trends. I do this by constantly talking to my brewery friends and reading multiple magazine and online articles about beer. And now that I’ve recovered from the Great American Beer Fest, I wanted to post some 2016 beer trends I’ve noticed a few I think are gaining steam:
Fruit-forward beers – These sell like crazy at the Ale House. You’ll see a lot more brews are coming in flavors like pineapple, tangerine, mango, pear, etc. These beers tend to be popular with people who aren’t a fan of bitter, hoppy beers.
German beers (weisse, gose, lagers, pilsners) – These lighter-tasting beers are big crowd pleasers, mainly because they’re so easy to drink. These are considered the “gateway craft beer” for people who mostly drink macro beers.
Sours – This is one beer category that has been growing steadily for a while, and honestly, I think we’ve only seen the beginning of this trend. Brewers like sours because they offer a wide range of options, thus allowing them to put their own spin on any flavor they choose. And if you like the tartness of a sour beer but also enjoy the bitter, hoppy flavor of an IPA, then definitely keep an eye out for dry-hopped sour beers.
Coffee Beers – Who wouldn’t want to kick-start their morning with a good old-fashioned coffee stout beer? These days, however, brewers are moving beyond stouts and porters and are mixing coffee into lighter-colored beers like cream ales, pale ales, blondes and IPAs.
Oats – Oatmeal stouts are popular due to their silky, creamy consistency, so brewers are branching out and adding oats into IPAs, pale ales and session-style ales.
Field beers – Field beers are any beers using vegetables as ingredients providing harmonious qualities in the end product. Many chili beers fall into this category, but you’ll also find beers brewed with mushrooms, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
Wild beers – These are beers brewed using yeast or bacteria in the fermentation process, resulting in a funky flavor profile. Styles can range from light or dark, hoppy or malty, strong or sessional and barrel-aged or not. Many sour beers can be considered “wild beers” depending on the strain of yeast used.
Craft Cider – One reason cider has exploded is that it’s relatively cheap and easy to produce. But cider has gotten “craftier” and brewers are starting to move away from juice concentrates and making their own juice base. Craft cider producers are as passionate about apple varietals as craft brewers are about the quality of their hops.
Foeders – Moving past the whole “barrel-aged” trend, brewers are now utilizing “foeders”, large wooden vats typically used to age wine. The high beer-to-wood ratio allows the beer to mature and develop. Meanwhile, the massive size of the foeder yields a higher capacity, producing a more consistent and reproducible product.
Crowlers – A crowler is the “can” version of a growler. Instead of taking beer home in a screw-top glass growler, you can bring beer home in a sealed 32-ounce can that can be enjoyed at your leisure. Crowlers are also handy for beaches and bike trails where glass is prohibited.
Nitro beers in cans and bottles – While it hasn’t been hard to find a nitro beer at a bar or brewery, very few brewers have sold them in cans or bottles. But that is changing. Expect to see more nitrogen-carbonated beers on shelves wherever you buy beer. And here at the Ale House, we always have 5 nitro handles working at any time.
That’s all I can think of for now. If you are curious about some of these trends and want to taste them out for yourself, check out our daily listing of beers on tap. If we don’t currently carry it, contact me and I’ll see if I can order it in the following week.