As this year is coming to a close, I’ve done a little bit of research to find out what y’all can expect to see from craft breweries next year. According to Great American Beer Festival goers, these are the beers to look out for in 2017!
Juicy, smooth IPAs. IPAs filled with fruits and mellow hops that give it a tropical flavor that goes down so easily it’s practically juice! It isn’t all about the bitter hops anymore. People are looking for, and breweries are experimenting with, IPAs that are more easily drinkable. Hops such as Citra and Mosaic, along with fruits such as pineapple, strawberries, oranges, and tangerines (to name a few) will be gracing the IPA scene. This trend could open up IPAs to a whole new population that usually scream no thank you to this usually bitter, hopped up beer. Although these are my favorite, I will be interested to see what juicy brews brewers come up with.
Fall lagers and marzens instead of the usual pumpkin ale. You’ll likely see less pumpkin beer and more lagers with sweet, malty caramel flavors or maple syrup infused, and marzens (aka Oktoberfests). Marzen is an old German style beer that was brewed in March (Marzen in German) and left to age until fall when there would be less time to brew beer during the harvest season. It’s usually a caramel malty, crisp, very drinkable beer. While I love a good pumpkin ale, there’s so much more you can do with this season’s beer styles and I’m anxiously awaiting all of the amazing lagers to come out next fall!
How gose?! Yes, this is something I am really excited for since it’s still a newcomer to the beer scene. Fruity goses, sour ales and funky brews will be bigger this year. With the recent (in beer years) revival of this old German style, a lot more breweries are experimenting with this salty-sour flavor combo and some are even opening up small, separate expansion breweries dedicated to brewing their funky beer. You may be thinking why open up another brewery just for sours and funky beers? Well it’s most likely due to the fact that the yeast strains used to create the sour flavors are extremely hard to clean away once they’ve inhabited a brewing system. This can leave unwanted funky flavors in regular beers. See this post for a little more information!
Milk stouts and coffee infused beer. Brewers seemed to be experimenting with lactose a whole lot. This unfermentable milk sugar creates a smooth and creamy texture to a plethora of brunch worthy stouts. Be on the look out for your ever-popular chocolate milk stouts as well as newcomers that could include horchata and vanilla beans with citrus flavors. Coffee beans aren’t just for stouts anymore. Expect to see cream ales, bourbon barrel aged brews, and even IPAs with a hint of cold brew coffee next year!
Lastly, natural or field beers are on the rise. These brews focus on no additives, like spices or flavor extracts, just natural ingredients in their raw form for flavor. Think vegetable beers, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms, or beers that simply reply on hops and malt for their flavor profile. It’s kind of like the “organic” beer of beers. Lenny Boy Brewing Co. here in Charlotte is chock full of these types of brews and never lets me down when I try a new one.
So there you have it, just a handful of trends to look for in 2017. While there’s plenty more I’m sure, these are the ones I’ve found to be eagerly inching their way into the beer scene that I believe will take full effect in the upcoming year. I myself will be attending a local brewery’s NYE party and can’t wait! Whatever your plans are, make sure to grab some cold ones and put your party pants on. Great beer, great people and great music are all that I need, and I can’t wait for all the new beer the new year has to offer!