The 20 Most-Read BeerAdvocate Stories of 2017
Unsurprisingly, many of the most popular BeerAdvocate stories of the past year focus on hops—from Todd and Jason Alström’s declaration that New England India Pale Ale is a style in May (our most-read story of the year) to Stan Hieronymus’ article on lupulin powder in March and Rebecca Kirkman’s dive into “zero IBU” IPAs in April.
A nearly equal number of popular stories (measured by number of pageviews as of December 19, 2017) explored the meaning of “craft beer” as Big Beer continued its aggressive takeovers in the US and abroad. In that vein, Courtney Cox’s Q&A with a South African hop importer who was forced to shutter his business after AB InBev stopped distributing hops to third parties and a plea for brand transparency by polarizing columnist Andy Crouch were among our top 10 most-read stories this year.
Several longreads also ended up as reader favorites. Crouch’s in-depth profile of the Shelton Brothers painted a picture of the often divisive beer importers’ role in the growing popularity of sour and wild ales, while Boak and Bailey looked back at the legacy of seminal beer writer Michael Jackson 10 years after his death.
Don’t see your favorite story here? Share it in the comments, and stay tuned for more engaging and thought-provoking content in the new year. (If you value what we do, please consider supporting independent beer journalism by subscribing to our magazine or becoming a BeerAdvocate supporter.)
1. It’s Official: New England India Pale Ale Is a Style by Jason and Todd Alström
Like it or not, the New England India Pale Ale is a style, and one that you’re going to see much more of as brewers continue to jump on the hazy hype train. Read more.
2. What Defines a Double IPA?
Since 2009, beer drinkers have been turning to Ask the Beer Geek, a question-and-answer column from issue #33 (we’re now working on issue #132), to explain the distinction between IPA and Double IPA. Do you know the difference? Read more.
3. Drinking Pains: Beer and Gout by Evan Benn
Beer has long been associated as a gout trigger due to its relatively high levels of purine, an organic compound that, among other functions, helps form the base of human DNA. Beer gets the bulk of its purine content from brewer’s yeast, which has about three times the purines as baker’s yeast. Read more.
4. Hazy Days and Brighter Futures: Are New England IPAs More Than a Passing Fad? by Andy Crouch
With each glass of hazy IPA that appears on the bar tops of breweries once focused on Belgian or German styles, it’s hard not to worry about the industry’s future prospects. Read more.
5. Cannabis-Infused Beers on the Rise by Rebecca Kirkman
A string of brews incorporating cannabidiol, or CBD, have been released by producers in cannabis-friendly states like Vermont and Oregon. Read more.
6. Brewers Showcase Hoppiness Without Bitterness in Zero IBU IPAs by Rebecca Kirkman
Since The Veil’s “zero IBU” IPA first appeared in April 2016, several breweries have released their own takes on the sub-style, including Other Half in New York, Twin Sails in Vancouver, BC, and a collaboration between Denver’s Cerebral Brewing and Chicago’s Mikerphone Brewing. Read more.
7. South African Hop Importer Greg Crum, Owner of ZA Hops, on AB InBev’s Monopoly by Courtney Cox
AB InBev’s announcement that it would stop selling South African hops to third parties outside of the country forced hop importer Greg Crum to close his business, ZA Hops. Read more.
8. Finding a Happy Medium by Andy Crouch
As pricing for craft brands reaches its outer limits, growth is starting to slow, pushing beer buyers and consumers to take another look at value brands. Read more.
9. The Pride of Belchertown: How The Shelton Brothers Changed the Face of Beer and Brewing by Andy Crouch
In bringing attention to little-known brewers from across the globe and reigniting passion for nearly forgotten styles like Gose and Lambic, the three Shelton brothers also established a company that changed the face of beer and brewing—but not without controversy. Read more.
10. Forget Craft. Let’s Try Transparency by Andy Crouch
While Big Beer pushes for a “post-craft” mindset, emphasizing flavor over ownership, consumers deserve transparency about a brand’s heritage. Read more.
11. Zombie Beer Brands by Jason and Todd Alström
Something that’s not discussed often enough about the impact of independent (indie) brewers selling out to megacorps is where we as consumers see it the most: on menus and shelves. Read more.
12. The Wholly Sensible Concept of Half Pours by Andy Crouch
How the schnitt, a German phrase for a half-pour, could bridge the American gap between tiny samplers and the standard 16-ounce shaker pint. Read more.
13. Going Their Own Way: Top Brewers Seek New Opportunities by Nora McGunnigle
After putting in a decade or more at successful companies, a growing number of lauded brewers are fleeing the daily grind to launch their own operations. But why would they want to leave, and why now? Read more.
15. Top 50 American Breweries by Jason and Todd Alström
In our sixth issue ever, we turned to user reviews on BeerAdvocate.com to determine the top 50 breweries in the US, according to beer geeks. The result is a snapshot of the American craft brewing scene in 2007, when there were just 1,400 craft breweries and brewpubs in the country—compared to more than 6,000 today. Read more.
17. Wholesale Change: Breweries and Upstart Distributors Are Writing New Rules for Selling Beer by Joshua M. Bernstein
Frustrated with the limitations of traditional wholesalers, breweries and upstart distributors are writing new rules for selling beer. Read more.
18. The Birth of the Beer Hunter: Looking Back on Michael Jackson’s Legacy by Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey
The Beer Hunter was a persona. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, was a complex person, with all of his faults, foibles, and doubts in tow. Read more.
19. Magic Dust: Will a New Oil-Rich Powder Change Hoppy Beers? by Stan Hieronymus
As lupulin powder, an oil-rich hop dust, makes its way into the brewing marketplace, the high-tech ingredient could shape the future of hoppy beer as we know it. Read more.