Mutants and Transformers: A Look into the Future of Craft Brewing

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, May 16, 2018.

  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Founders (17,668) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

  2. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    On the heels of the lager trend, beauty in beer will experience a comeback.

    I certainly hope that this is the case. Especially if "beauty" means "subtlety".

    Their taprooms don’t require access to market—at least not yet—and rarely need to interact with others in the industry. That fosters a sense of self-sufficiency to be sure, but also isolation and self-centeredness.

    From what I've seen, a LOT of the new breweries only care about their own business instead of doing things to foster success in the overall community.

    Finally, it’s time to redefine extreme beer, which seems increasingly out of sync with modern beer culture.

    Come on, man. How hazy can you make a beer? How many barrels or spices can you put in your imperial stout? What's not extreme about that? I don't think beer culture has ever been so extreme.
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  3. Dan_K

    Dan_K Devotee (474) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Interesting, but I'm not sure how the BA echo chamber's thoughts are representative of craft beer, or the average beer consumer for that matter. Maybe pilsners will make some inroads, but it remains to be seen how "big" they will get. I think Instagram culture is partly to blame for the hazy IPA trend sweeping the nation. Part of it is also built off of hype and exclusivity, with small batches and no/limited distribution, can releases that sell out quickly, and trade value insanity.

    In addition, while I am 100% behind a movement toward lighter and full-flavor session beers (thank you Weldwerks!), I'm not sure how much traction that area is getting yet, either.

    I still think there are inroads to be made WRT sour beers, and especially spontaneously fermented beers, which seem to be exploding right now (only a few breweries were doing such a thing only a few years ago). I think "sour beer" or American Wild Ales, will also reach kind of a saturation point. I've also seen a lot of places doing "pastry sours" and I think that's an area that will continue to grow in the next year.

    So who is the loser in all these areas of growth? I can't see a lot of traditional German or English styles gaining a lot of growth in the coming year - with the exception of pilsners. I also think we'll see less of the scotch/Scottish ales, less amber ales, and less brown ales. Anything that can be portrayed as basic. Perhaps also a small decline in west-coast style IPAs, at least for a little while- as more and more breweries attempt to cash in on the hazy hype train.

    Also- RIP flagship beers. A lot of the bigger craft breweries are going to continue to shake up their core beers as sales lag. Many craft beer consumers are looking for what's new and what's next. Unfortunately this search for new will lead to some casualties.
  4. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I predict that IPAs will continue to dominate craft beer.

    As long as they are branded as IPAs, they should get good traction.

    This market, IMO, is at its saturation point.
    MedicinalSkooma likes this.
  5. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Disciple (392) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    They’ve been calling for an explosion of Pilsners for a couple years now, but outside of a few places in my region I haven’t been seeing it unfortunately.

    That said- we’re lucky to have leaders like Bierstadt and Zwei in the area and I will continue to visit them and enjoy the subtle yet tasty crushability of their offerings.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,637) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    From the article:

    “Lager will continue the fight to re-establish its rightful place in the pantheon of beer styles. The quiet but burgeoning interest in Pilsner has me crazy optimistic about the future of lager beer in America. Brewers recognize how delicious clean lagers can be after a long workday, and now they’ll work to convince their customers of the same.”

    I agree with this statement. A couple summers ago on the New Beer Sunday thread I had a theme of “Summer of Pilsners”. When I started this in June I did not expect by the end of the summer I would be able to drink a new (new to me) Pilsner every week of that summer. I am happy to report that I had no problems here. There are even more craft brewed Pilsners today then 2 years ago.

    "Branching out beyond Pilsner, many other great lager styles need rejuvenation and attention. Moving from Pils to Helles is an easy step, but brewers should take the leap into a full exploration of malt and other classic lager styles. Clean is the new hazy.”

    Permit me to recommend to the craft breweries that an exciting opportunity exists for the production of tasty dark lagers. A style that I would highly recommend is Tmavý Ležák (Czech Dark Lager). Go get ‘em guys!


    @Sixpoint @SierraTerence @BillManley @brianhink @JValm @RobH @honkey
    RobH and brianhink like this.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,637) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    You need to visit (come back?) to SEPA. There has been a plethora of quality Pilsners for over 20 years (Stoudts, Victory, Sly Fox,...) and all of the newly opened local breweries are making high quality Pilsners (Root Down, Sterling Pig, St. Benjamins, Double Nickel,...).

    At the recent World Beer Cup Sterling Pig won a silver medal for their unfiltered Pilsner (Shoat):

    "Silver Shoat Sterling Pig Brewery Kellerbier or Zwickelbier 2018"

    victory4me and ManBearPat like this.
  8. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Disciple (392) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Grew up in Erie actually... had some nice lagers from Penn brewing (I think) when I was in Pittsburgh a couple summers ago actually- cheers!
    DrewSnyc667 and EvenMoreJesus like this.
  9. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I'm sorry. :wink:

    With Penn AND Hofbrauhaus in Pittsburgh, I feel a little spoiled. Add Victory, Troegs, Sly Fox, and a peppering of some decent local attempts and it's pretty much an embarrassment of riches for lager-lovers here in PA. Could always use more, though.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,637) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I remembered your were from PA but I was unsure where.

    Yeah, the beer scene in the Philly area is quite a bit different from Northwestern PA - plus we get less snow!:slight_smile:

    A visit to the Philly area, with some time allocated to beer drinking, would be worthwhile if you have the resources available (e.g., vacation time). The number of quality Pilsners (plus other beer styles) in the area just keeps getting better and better and...


    P.S. Plenty of quality Helles beers as well.
    ManBearPat likes this.
  11. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Disciple (392) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Erie is a great place to visit.. for a weekend.. in the summer... hahahah

    If I’m not mistaken, my childhood friend that lives in Philadelphia had a delicious Helles from Tired Hands of all places last time I was back home.
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,637) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Tired Hands makes a number of good lagers:
    • Trendler Pils
    • Helles Other People
    • Trendler Schwarzbier
    • etc.
    When they are on tap I will order them. They also occasionally can them but compared to other area lagers they are pricey - about $14 a 4-pack (16 ounce cans)

    I just got back from running some errands and this thread's discussion got me 'motivated' so I just purchased a 12-pack of Victory Prima Pils cans. It has been a loooong time since I have purchased packaged Pilsner beer from one of the 'heritage' local breweries (i.e., Stoudts, Sly Fox, Victory,...) so I figured now would be an appropriate time to show them (Victory in this case) some support.

    ManBearPat and drtth like this.
  13. JoePasko

    JoePasko Initiate (79) Mar 10, 2018 New York

    I hope that, with regard to Pilsner, they are talking about 'proper' Pilsners, and not a return to the "any beer that is yellow, translucent and bubbly can be passed off as Pilsner" concept dominated American brewing for such a long time.
    surfcaster likes this.
  14. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (108) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    In my 2 yrs here I've seen the trend go from pumpkin beers to highly bitter 100 ibu to no bitter low ibu to low abv. What's next will be hard to figure out with so much beer staying in house.
  15. GrandpaGeorg

    GrandpaGeorg Meyvn (1,167) Oct 9, 2004 Maryland

    Yes! I would love to see this: "Brewers should explore sub-session beers—ultra low alcohol offerings that still pack flavor and challenge palates."
  16. dribblespit

    dribblespit Initiate (0) May 21, 2017 Venezuela

    Such as A Fine Pilsner Beer? Or The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous? Utica Club?
  17. charlzm

    charlzm Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2007 California

    I don't like pilsner and I don't want ultra-low alcohol beer. I do like a good head on a beer, so at least there's that.

    I'll stick with barrels and uber-hopped brews, thanks.
    rodbeermunch likes this.
  18. japetus

    japetus Initiate (122) Sep 14, 2005 Missouri

    Newer craft beer drinkers will start to discover the quality, to style beers that some of the oldest breweries in their town are making and learn to truly appreciate them.
    surfcaster likes this.
  19. rodbeermunch

    rodbeermunch Poo-Bah (4,152) Nov 26, 2015 Nevada

    "On the heels of the lager trend"

    Had a flashback to that "quit trying to make fetch happen" movie line. Gif here would have been cool, but rules and conformity stuff.

    Don't get me wrong, pilsner has its time/place and can be delicious, tis the season etc. . .

    But I think I recognize a personal desire in aggregate craft prediction clothing here.
    surfcaster likes this.
  20. oldandbroke

    oldandbroke Initiate (0) May 25, 2018

    I'm guessing lagers stay the purview of mid size and larger breweries. Takes too long and too much fermentation space. Small places have tighter margins and probably not the luxury of long ferments. A small brewer's goal is simple: find a crew, find a job, keep brewing.
  21. LloydDobler

    LloydDobler Crusader (788) Jul 25, 2014 Indiana

    I added a 1% blueberry/lemon sour from Transient called “Man Enough” to the database a couple years ago, but nobody else rated it on here. Maybe just a little before it’s time.
    Dan_K and GrandpaGeorg like this.
  22. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    What's wrong with pilsner?
  23. charlzm

    charlzm Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2007 California

    Don't care for it. Or sushi. Or sports. Or reality TV.

    It's just a matter of personal preference.
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  24. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (809) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I don't think we can be friends.

    Or maybe we can?
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  25. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,234) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    I think this spring/summer we are seeing a big migration of craft brewers jumping into the AAL market, not because craft consumers necessarily prefer the taste of mexican lagers and AALs over better crafted light beers like pilsners, helles lagers etc. but because their wallets are starting to talk louder than their taste buds. NEIPAs, BA stouts and sours are becoming the high priced treats people buy where AALs are becoming the daily drinkers due to budgetary reasons. Most people quickly realize they can't constantly afford $14 sixers or 4 16oz cans of a well crafted 4.5% ABV lager that leaves their fridge empty in 2-3 days.
  26. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,978) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I can afford $14 six packs I just refuse to pay that much for daily consumable category beer.
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.