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7 Beers That Buck the Hoppy Beer Trend

7 Beers That Buck the Hoppy Beer Trend

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Recently, it was suggested that the trend toward overly hopped beers is discouraging new beer drinkers. The amount of bitterness that hops lend to beer, whether it be on a grassy and earthy hop or more citrus-focused, can be a bit of a challenge for those who aren't used to it. You could say it's an acquired taste but some people may never really "acquire" it.

However, that doesn't mean that beer is completely off the table for those drinkers. There are plenty of beers that feature either a very low amount of hops or no hops at all. Many ancient styles of beer have been around even longer than hops.

Interestingly enough, many of these styles are seeing a bit of a resurgence. Perhaps this is because brewers are trying to back away from using too much hops or drinkers are rediscovering them and demanding them. Either way, they're becoming more available.

For those drinkers who'd like a break from hops, we've picked out seven beers that you should find and drink now!

Choc Beer Gose
Choc Beer Co., Krebs, Okla.
Style: Gose
A style that's experienced a bit of a revival of late, the gose (pronounced goh-zah) is a wheat beer made up of more than 50 percent malted wheat. This delivers a crisp flavor but the coriander seeds and salt that are also added to the brew create a very unique combination of flavors. Saltiness meets tart lemon in this interpretation of the style. It's a tasty brew with no more than a hint of hop bitterness. The Choc Beer interpretation matches up perfectly with the style, providing a nice, drinkable, and non-hoppy selection.

Mad Scientists #13
Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Style: Gruitbier
This is an ancient ale, reminiscent of how beers were likely brewed in the Middle Ages. Concocted from mostly herbs, spices, and a variety of berries, this tends to be a sweet but herbal brew with no sign of hops. Sixpoint reinvented the brew for their Mad Scientists series earlier this year. The brewers used a mix of wheat and rye along with smoked malt (a malt with a bit of a roasted character to it) to create their gruitbeer. The resulting beer showed similarities to an herbal tea but also has a nice fruitiness to it.

Fritz's Hefeweizen
Bold City Brewery, Jacksonville, Fla.
Style: Hefeweizen
A traditional German beer style made primarily with wheat, the hefeweizen is crafted from a combination of 50 percent (or more) wheat and a yeast that brings aromas of clove and banana. There may be a mild hoppy bitterness to the beer but it's mostly undetectable. Bold City makes the Fritz's Hefeweizen in honor of the owners' German heritage. This particular interpretation features both the clove and banana flavors as well as a wheaty backbone to balance.

Whiteout White
Anchorage Brewing Co., Anchorage, Alaska
Style: Witbier
The Belgians also made their own high-level wheat beer called witbier. But their style also included a few spices that German brewers weren't adding. The Belgians used orange peel, coriander and a few other extra ingredients. These extras add a tangy and spicy note to the crisp wheat brew. Anchorage Brewing follows the Belgian style pretty closely. The flavor includes tart lemons as well as a bit of peppercorn. It's a refreshing brew for a summer day.

Surly Brewing Co., Brooklyn Center, Minn.
Style: Helles Lager
Another German style, this one originated in Munich and features only the mildest hint of hops. This is a very balanced beer with a malt-forward flavor. Surly
sticks pretty close to the original recipe, honoring their own German heritage. It's unfiltered which makes it a little cloudy but don't let that scare you — this is a great beer for people who'd prefer a little less hoppiness in their brew.

Kriek Mariage Parfait
Brouwerij Boon, Belgium
Style: Fruited Lambic
A very intensely fruit-flavored brew, the lambic is another old-style ale. Typically, whole fruits are added to the brew after fermentation has begun lending a very fruity sweet character and maybe even a touch of tart. Boon's Kriek is an excellent example — and possibly one of the most popular. The brewery uses overripe cherries and the resulting brew is aged in oak barrels for a year before it's bottled.

Old #38 Stout
North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, Calif.
Style: Dry Irish Stout
An old standby, the dry Irish stout is definitely the original non-hoppy beer. With a heavy malt character and low carbonation, the beer has a roasty, almost coffee-like aroma and the flavor is equally roasted with a mild bit of sweetness. The Old #38 follows the tradition and also features a somewhat light and drinkable body. The roasted barley and malt lend that coffee character that makes this a very tasty brew.

Bock and Doppelbock Beer Recipes – Beer Styles

Bock beer is a classic German lager that is smooth and very drinkable. Traditionally bock was brewed in Winter, so it is appropriate for a winter beer article. This week we take a look at some bock beer recipes and how to brew the classic Bock beer style.

History of Bock

Bock traces its origins back to the town of Einbeck in Northern Germany as early as 1325. The beer of Einbeck was not only popular but widely distributed to Hamburg and Bremen. Lightly kilned wheat and barley was used in the original Einbeck beer, which had only a remote similarity to the modern bock style. Wheat was used for approximately 1/3 of the grain bill, and barley malt made up the rest.

Alas, Einbeck was ravaged by two fires in the 16th century and then suffered greatly in the 30 years war (1618-1648), so little of the original style survives. (Ref: Daniels) In the 16th century, Munich tried to emulate the great beers of Einbeck and started brewing variants that were called “Ainpoeckish Pier”, named in the Bavarian dialect for the city of Einbeck.

Later the name was shortened to “Poeck” and ultimately “Bock”, which means “Goat” in German. In the 1800’s bock enjoyed a resurgence as brewing techniques and science improved. The addition of the hydrometer and thermometer, controlled lagering and other techniques helped dramatically. Bock also spread well beyond Munich to Vienna and throughout Germany.

German immigrants brought Bock to America in the late 1800’s where it, along with Pilsner became popular. Best & Company (later Pabst) became one of the first to brew it broadly in America. (Ref: Daniels) Bock, traditionally quite strong in Europe, was brewed at lower strength after Prohibition in America.

Variants of the bock style include Doppelbock, Maibock, Eisbock, American bock and Weizenbock. Doppelbock means “double bock” and is brewed with a minimum original gravity of 1.074, which is slightly stronger than traditional bock and typically has complex chocolate and caramel flavoring. Maibock, or “May bock” is tapped in the Spring and has a much paler color than traditional bock, and is traditionally made from a mixture of Munich and Pilsner malts.

Eisbock, or “Ice bock” which has a minimum OG of 1.093 is a very strong bock that is highly alcoholic and malty. Though made in the tradition of regular bock and Doppelbock, the strength of the beer approaches that of some barley wines. American bock is made primarily in the Midwest and Texas, are typically somewhat lighter in gravity than traditional German bock and may be a bit less malty in flavor. Weizenbock is perhaps better characterized as a Dunkel-Weizen brewed to bock or Doppelbock strength, and not technically a bock beer. It is composed primarily of around 60% malted wheat with Munich or Vienna malt filling the rest of the grain bill, and fermented with wheat yeast rather than lager yeast.

The Bock Style

The modern bock style closely tracks the traditional German style of the last hundred years. Bock has a fairly strong original gravity of 1.064-1.072 and a dark amber to brown color between 14 and 22 SRM. German bocks must have a minimum starting gravity of 1.064. The flavor of the beer is malty with a slight chocolate or toasted edge. Bocks have medium to full bodied profiles, but no roast flavor.

The carbonation is moderate, and hop flavor is minimal. Typically German hops are used to balance some of the maltiness of the beer with an IBU level of 20-27 IBUs. Lager yeast is used along with cold temperature storage (lagering) at temperatures near freezing.

Brewing a Bock

Munich malt makes up the bulk of the grain bill for any Bock. In fact, most traditional Bocks are made from a single Munich malt, with variations in kilning determining the color and character of the finished beer. Daniels recommends using Munich malt for 75-93% of the grist,with pale or lager malt making up the balance. For all grain brewers, this is your best route to an authentic bock. Where possible, choose a two row Munich malt as the base.

Analysis of many award winning homebrewed recipes indicates that crystal and chocolate are often added – especially for the dunkel (dark) bock varieties. Crystal makes up 10-15% of the grain bill and chocolate approximately 2% – primarily to add color.

For extract brewers, try to secure a munich based malt extract if possible, as it is difficult to achieve the proper malty balance without it. Extract recipes often use some crystal or chocolate malt to achieve the appropriate color and body, but these should be used sparingly. If you are brewing a partial mash recipe, the addition of munich and pale malt will add authenticity to the recipe.

Not surprisingly, German hops are used extensively in Bock. Hallertauer hops is the traditional choice for bock, though Tettnanger, Hersbruck or Saaz are occasionally used. Do not use high alpha hops in a bock as it will upset the malty balance. Bock is not a hoppy beer, so the bulk of hop additions are used during the boil for bitterness. Small flavor or aroma additions are OK, but hop flavor and aroma is not a dominant feature in this beer.

The traditional mash schedule for a German bock is a triple decoction, though with modern highly modified grains a double decoction will suffice. Decoction does help to enhance the color and body of the beer to bring out the strong malty profile of a traditional bock. The protein rest should target around 122F, while the main conversion should be done at a slightly higher temperature of 155-156 F (68C) to bring out the desired medium to full body beer profile. A single infusion mash is also an option, again in the 155F range.

Munich water profiles have a high proportion of carbonate which is why hops are sparingly used to avoid harsh bitterness. However, most domestic brewing waters can produce a good bock style since the darker bock malts help provide the proper mash pH balance, and adding carbonate really does not enhance this particular style.

Munich/Bavarian lager yeast should be used for your bock recipe. Cold lagering during fermentation and storage is critical. The fermentation temperature should match the recommended range for your yeast, but fermentation is usually done around 50F. Once fermentation is complete, the actual lagering should take place close to freezing, and continue for 4-10 weeks as these lager yeasts often take some time to flocculate (sediment).

Bock Recipes

For more recipes, you can visit the BeerSmtih Recipe Site or our discussion forum. Thanks again for visiting the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Don’t hesitate to subscribe for regular weekly email delivery, or drop a few votes for our articles on the BrewPoll brewing news site. I’ll be back again next week with another brewing article.

Best Overall: Montauk Wave Chaser IPA

This ocean-inspired IPA is one of our favorites to drink year-round. Whether sitting beachside beneath the summer sun or dreaming of doing so in the colder weather months, this zesty IPA is perfect for quenching your thirst no matter where you’re at. Malty notes of tropical fruit, pine, and citrus rind burst from the beer’s semi-bitter palate. At 6.4% ABV, this stuff is as good as it gets.

Beers That Taste Sweet & Malty (Flavour Profile – 4 of 7)

Bitter and Hoppy Beers: The perfect beers for anyone who loves dried fruit, Werther’s Original candy, bold flavours and just a pinch of sweet flavours.

By The Beer Community on Apr. 12, 2018

Trying to find out what kind of beer you like? Maybe you’d enjoy a malty and sweet beer!

Sweet and malty beers are for anyone who loves bold flavours. These are the perfect beers to crack during seasons where the leaves change colour. So put away your summer brews and stock your fridge with sweet, malty brews that will have you feeling warm on the inside on a crisp day. If you’ve got a passion for sweet, dark, and flavourful beers, then these are for you.

What are Malty Beers?

These beers have strong malt flavours. The palate of malty beers can have varying levels of sweetness and deep notes of nuts, caramel, toffee, bread, and dark, dried fruits. Malty beers usually range in colours from light copper to dark brown. They can be light to full bodied and low to high ABV%, depending on the brewery and the brewer’s preferences.

What are the most popular beers that taste sweet and malted?

Malty and sweet flavours in beer isn’t a huge trend in the macro beer industry. Most large breweries don’t have the ingredients, or time to focus on creating strong malt flavours in their brews. Although, a popular beer that is known for being considered sweet is Newcastle Brown Ale.

If you like Newcastle Brown Ale, you like a beer that’s considered sweet and malty!

Newcastle Brown Ale is auburn in colour with a rich full-bodied flavour and a slightly sweet finish. The recipe was developed by Colonel J. Porter, aka “The Original Dogwalker”, in 1927 in Newcastle, England. In Newcastle, England, “Walking the Dog” is Geordie slang for hitting the pub for a Newcastle Brown Ale. It’s a bit of code to use when you’re looking to meet friends and enjoy a couple pints of Newcastle Brown Ale. Don’t worry, you don’t need a dog of your own to enjoy one of these sweet, malty brews.

What beer styles are taste “sweet & malty”?

Even though sweet and malty beers share a lot of characteristics, they also vary in a lot of different ways. Many different beer styles fall under the beer profile of malty and sweet.

Toasty & Nutty:

Toasty and nutty brews combine notes of mild crispiness with very bold, bready malt flavours. Toast, nutty, biscuity, and graham-like notes area always strong. More intense and strong beers sometimes show touches of roasted or dried fruits like raisins, figs, and dates.

Types of beers that fall into this malty and sweet category include: Doppelbock, Dunkel Lager, Eisbock, English Brown Ale, English Mild, Schwarzbier

Fruit, Toffee & Caramel-like Flavours:

While these beers have bright dried-fruit notes, they also carry a strong malt presence. Mild fruit aromas balance out the sweet caramel and toffee flavours.

Food Pairings for Sweet and Malty Brews:

When searching for foods to pair with malty and sweet beers, it is important to highlight the malt profile. Root vegetables, bold cheeses, tomato-flavours, pork, and cured meats are all great pairing options. Our favourite? A Hawaiian-style pizza, with extra cheese of course!

If you’re thinking, “What type of beer should I drink?”… Try a malty and sweet beer!

Try These Malty & Sweet Beers If You Like…

If you’re ready to try some malty and sweet brews, you should start by trying beers that have similar flavours to ones you already know you love.

If you like eating Werther’s Original by the handful, try a bottle of Old Stock Ale by North Coast Brewing Company.

If you’re a fan of dark fruits like raisins or figs, you might like by Oatmeal Raisin Cookie by Cigar City Brewing.

More Malty and Sweet Beers To Try:

If you’re struggling to find the perfect sweet and malty beer, let us help you out. Below is a list of our favourite sweet and malty brews from Canadian breweries.

    – Whistler Brewing Company (Whistler, BC) – Brasserie Mille-Îles (Terrebonne, QC) – Beau’s Brewing Company (Vankleek Hill, ON) Bière de Garde – Granville Island Brewing (Vancouver, BC) – Banff Ave. Brewing Company (Banff, AB) – Fort Garry Brewing (Winnipeg, MB) – Blindman Brewing (Lacombe, AB) – Nickel Brook Brewing Company (Burlington, ON) – Trider’s Craft Beer (Amherst, NS) – Amsterdam Brewing (Toronto, ON)

Find the right beer for you! JustBeer has grouped all the styles of beers into seven main beer profile categories to help you find beers based on flavours you already know and love.

Beers That Taste Bitter & Hoppy (Flavour Profile – 2 of 7)

Bitter and Hoppy Beers: The perfect beers for anyone who loves the bitter flavour of black coffee or a strong grapefruit.

By The Beer Community on Apr. 03, 2019

Trying to find out what kind of beer you like? You might enjoy a hoppy and bitter beer!

Hoppy and bitter brews are becoming a huge trend in the craft beer industry and it seems like every brewery is trying to brew the hoppiest beers they can. Hoppy beers, like a strong IPA, are a required taste and are often referred to flavours such as cilantro — you either love it or you hate it.

What are Hoppy & Bitter Beers?

Although hoppy and bitter beers use malt as a strong base, it is the hops that come through as the dominant flavour in these brews. The generous addition of hops in the brewing process is what gives these beers their bitterness.

Hoppy and bitter brews can range from medium to full-bodied, usually, come out in a golden-yellow to amber-brown colour.

It is important to note that just because a beer is considered “hoppy”, doesn’t always mean that it is going to taste bitter. Click here to learn more about the differences between the terms “hoppy” and “bitter”.

What are the most popular beers that taste hoppy and bitter?

With the popularity of hoppy and beers, you’ve probably come across a few but have been afraid to try. Hoppy and bitter brews require a specific palate and not everyone is going to love them. A popular beer that is known for being bitter is Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale.

If you like Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA, you like a hoppy and bitter beer!

This widely-known IPA is available around the country and is also a gold-medal winner! With the use of hops (which infuse flavours of apricot, peach, mango and lemon) it still packs a bit of a bitter sting, just like the Sculpin fish!

What beer styles are considered “bitter & hoppy”?

Because there are so many hop varietals and ways to incorporate them in the brewing process, there are many different beers and styles that can be classified as bitter and hoppy.

Malt Forward:

Beers that fall under this category of hoppy and bitter beers have a fuller and bolder malt body rather than a super hoppy profile. Flavours of fruit with caramel-like characteristics are often present. Instead of in the flavour and mouthfeel of the beers, the hoppy notes are more vibrant in the aromatics of the brew.

Types of beers that fall into this hoppy and bitter category include: Amber Ale, American Barleywine, California Common, Imperial Red Ale

Dry & Earthy:

Beers that fall under this category of hoppy and bitter beers have a light malt profile and often come with a dryer finish. The hops used in the brewing process give earthy, grassy and woody flavours.

Types of beers that fall into this hoppy and bitter category include: American IPA, Belgian IPA, English Bitter, English IPA, English Pale Ale

Bold, Strong, Herbal, Floral or Citric Flavours:

Beers that fall under this category of hoppy and bitter beers are bold and intense. The strong hop flavours can give off notes of citrus, tropical fruits and sometimes even floral. The hop aroma will be the strongest characteristics in these brews.

Types of beers that fall into this hoppy and bitter category include: American Pale Ale, Fresh Hop Ale, Imperial IPA

Food Pairings for Hoppy & Bitter Brews

Hoppy and beers that are classified as bitter are usually paired with spicy foods. The hops balance out the spice of your dish. Pair hoppy beers with spicy Mexican or Indian dishes.

Hops in beer also pair well with fatty and rich foods, such as fatty meats, fried food, and aged cheeses. The fat flavour calms the hop flavour. Bitter and hoppy beers are a great addition to any charcuterie board in the winter months, or a greasy burger and french fries on warmer days.

If you’re thinking, “What type of beer should I drink?”… Try a hoppy and bitter beer!

Hoppy & Bitter Beers You Need Try If You Like…

If you’re ready to try some hoppy or bitter brews, you should start by trying beers that have similar flavours to ones you already know you love.

If you like brussels sprouts, you might also like Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale.

If you choose to drink your coffee black, try a bottle of Cold Brew IPA by Rogue.

If a bitter grapefruit is your favourite snack, you will probably like CitruSinenis Pale Ale brewed by Lagunitas Brewing Company.

More Bitter & Hoppy Beers to Try:

Since hoppy and bitter beers have become one of the biggest trends in the craft beer industry, there are a lot to choose from! Let us help you out by narrowing it down to some of our personal favourite hoppy and bitter beers brewed by Canadian brewing companies.

The Top Craft Beer Trends For 2020

Experiential Taprooms

Aesthetically, taprooms have evolved much like the third wave of craft coffee. No one walks into a Starbucks anymore awestruck by the green awning and monochromatic menu boards. In 2019 breweries have transformed their spaces into artfully-designed, perfectly-patterned hangouts replete with quirky knick-knacks and architectural conversation pieces.

Take places like Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh, NC, whose indoor flower market is flanked by a gorgeous restaurant and bar. Or, the newly opened Halfway Crooks (one of our choices for top new breweries in 2019) in Atlanta, GA. This fresh taproom is accented by hi-fi gear, a whole bank of video screens, and sweatshirts that simply read, “Lager, Lager, Lager, Lager.”

UPDATE: The world of craft beer has changed overnight. Although we can no longer hang out in taprooms for the foreseeable future we can still continue to buy from our favorite breweries and support their business! Brands like Tavour make it easy. They’ll deliver beer from over 650 breweries and counting right to your doorstep.

All you need to do is download the app (Apple or Google Play) to see their current menu, pick the beers you’d love to try, and they’ll take care of the rest.

Growing Diversity in Craft

The faces of craft beer are changing –– and the industry couldn’t ask for a better revamp. With the return of festivals like Fresh Fest and Beers With(out) Beards in 2019, brewers of all varieties are showing the world they want in.

Growing diversity is a good thing, and we’re stoked to be fully on board with this 2020 craft beer trend. Let’s see to it that craft brewing continues to become the more inclusive space it needs to be. After all, it’s about time everyone got their fair share of the limelight.

— Gray Van Dyke, Editorial Intern

Alternative Beverages

Breweries brewing only beer is a thing of the past. These days the cool kid taprooms fill their taps with excellent beer alongside bubbly hard seltzers, craft coffee beans, fruity kombucha flavors, and most likely, a few non-alcoholic or low-cal drinking options. You know what they say, “Variety is the spice of (drinking) life.”

Hop Culture has even joined the trend, launching our own Hop Culture Coffee Club that will bring coffee beans from six different breweries such as Night Shift, Hoof Hearted, Trillium, and more all across the country right to your front door. We’re also upping our cup of morning Joe with a few unique pieces of coffee gear that we swear by.

— Grace Lee Weitz, Partnerships Manager

Focus on Craft Malt

If malt is a potato, then hops are salt. Sure, spices are sexy, but they can’t stand by themselves. That’s what more and more brewers are starting to realize, especially as the industry matures and brewers find themselves with the time, energy, and resources to focus on the sourcing of ALL their raw ingredients — not just the little green ones that have historically stolen the spotlight. In 2020, expect more American farmers to increase their malt production, and prepare for the arrival of new maltsters who cater specifically to craft.

Continuation of Lactose

Though we expected (and not-so-secretly hoped) for 2019 to bring lactose brewing a swift and milky death, we are seeing it featured in beers now more than ever before. It seems that on any given day we’re shooting photos, there’s a different offering looking to capitalize on the novelty –– often with mixed results. Some still have us wishing for lactose to go the way of the dab, but others have been admittedly more successful (cheers, Commonwealth, Divine Barrel, and Humble Sea).

We’ve found that lactose tends to work best when it complements milder fruit flavors in a sour or plays a background note in a stout, but that’s also a slippery slope that can get yogurt-ey, fast. Having proved us wrong in 2019, will lactose stick around for more? Who’s to say what 2020 has in store for it? Let’s just hope brewers don’t get too nostalgic about the bygone era of Trix Yogurt.

Want to see what all the fuss is about lactose? Brew a Milkshake IPA for yourself at home!

Fresh Hop Beers

It’s true that good, well-made hoppy beers have a way of communicating freshness. It’s also true that as of 2018, U.S. hop acreage has increased almost 80 percent since 2012, and production by 77 percent. What do these big scary statistics mean? Greater direct access to hops for breweries, which means intrepid, fast-working brewers can, in theory, knock out more fresh hop beers.

Ever had Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale? If not, give it a whirl, and you’ll know how good fresh hop beers can be, and you’ll want to taste more. Outfits like Foam Brewers have released local fresh hop beers in cans, for instance, to raves. Expect breweries fortunate enough to be in proximity to hop farms to follow suit.

Rosé Beers

It’s easy to dismiss “yes way, rosé” as last year’s White Claw — that thing you can easily make fun of that everyone around you including your little brother is drinking. As far as breweries go, however, we think rosé is going to be a 2020 craft beer trend. Quite a few have made their own takes on the pink wine. While most have seemed like an easy way to get your friend who only drinks hefes to have more variety, rosé has gone from a trend to a stalwart.

Green Man Brewery currently has a Persian Dry Rosé on tap that’s so crisp, you think you’re actually drinking wine. Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Rosalie is a beer-wine hybrid co-fermented with Chardonnay and other grape wine varietals that come from vineyards near the Central California brewery. This isn’t just about making beer pink. Rather, it’s about playing with the concept of working with wine while still making a true beer. Expect more experimentation that will surely confuse your tongue in the coming year.

— Emily Krauser, Contributor

Hard Seltzer

For some reason, the most ridiculously controversial topic in the craft beer landscape has been alcoholic carbonated water. The most critical voices seem to feel that hard seltzer is effeminate with brands marketing to folks looking for a less caloric beverage. (And, to be fair, the calorie counts on your favorite fruited sour are most likely through the roof.) And many worry that craft breweries are simply attempting to cash in on the craze.

But, breweries are businesses. If folks are buying, you can bet they’ll be making more seltzer. We’ve seen several artful attempts at the style with a fantastic and adorable hard cider seltzer from Shacksbury and a wine barrel-aged non-alcoholic seltzer from Hudson Valley that was damn tasty and refreshing. I for one, happen to love plain old non-alcoholic seltzer and, while I don’t find myself reaching for hard seltzer, that hard cider seltzer (and the Wood Water from Hudson Valley) were among my favorite beverages of the year.

The category of hard seltzer has gained significant economic importance for brands. We’re just on the cusp of the hard seltzer boom and we expect to see it continue to stay front of mind for those in the industry. But, more importantly, we expect more craft breweries to dabble in the style. And, while there very well may be cash grabs galore, the true innovators (i.e. Hudson Valley, Shacksbury, etc.) will craft unique and well-made products.

— John A. Paradiso, Managing Editor

Lagers rising in esteem

Once upon a summer house party, my mother rooted around in my fridge for beer and came up empty despite shelves lined with IPAs. “Do you have any beer that’s actually beer?” she asked. I did not. But fast forward a few years and while IPAs ranging from “refined” to “bonkers” remain king, smooth, crispy lagers are catching their due.

Maybe the IPA’s dominance is winding down. Perhaps people new to craft beer need alternatives to wacky double dry-hopped brews. Or that no one can drink IPA all the time and there are, in fact, occasions where straightforward frosty suds are all a beer enthusiast needs.

Most likely, we think, is that the most talented lager brewers (Suarez, Live Oak, pFriem, Threes, etc.) have garnered passionate followings and folks are eager for their lagers. Whatever the case may be, expect to see lagers continue climbing the popularity ladder among beer styles and earn greater esteem among craft beer fans and even homebrewers. Learn how to make your own favorite lager at home.

Hazy IPAs, Dessert Stouts, and Fruited Sours

While 2016, 2017, and even 2018 were dominated by the hazy IPA, two more styles have joined the party. The IPA hasn’t gone anywhere, but consumer tastes have shifted to accommodate sweet sours and rich stouts. The industry has taken notice. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, the savviest businesspeople dabble in all three, because that’s what sells and cash is king baby.

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Hoppy vs. Bitter — What’s the Difference?

In the craft beer industry, there are many terms that describe the flavours, aromas, and appearances of beer. The terms “hoppy” and “bitter” are often used to describe the taste of a beer. It is not uncommon to believe that if a beer is described as “hoppy”, it also means that the beer tastes “bitter”. This is not always the case. Continue reading to learn what these overused popular beer terms really mean and the differences between them so that you can impress your beer snob friends next time you’re describing a beer.

Understanding hops & what they do to beer:

Before we get into the term “hoppy” and what it really means when describing your beer, it is important to understand what the purpose of hops in beer is. Here are two important notes to remember about hops:

1. Every beer contains hops.
Hops are one of the main 4 ingredients used to brew beer. Just because a beer doesn’t taste “hoppy”, the beer was still brewed with hops. When thinking about hoppy beers, your mind probably goes straight to IPAs but Hefeweizens contain hops too, Sour Ales also contain hops, even Saisons have hops. Ok, you get the point.

2. Hops can add bitterness, but that’s not all they do.
Hops do provide bitterness to beer. The level of bitterness in a beer can vary exponentially depending on the type of hop, and the amount of hops being used in the brewing process. Hops don’t always create bitterness. Hops can contribute different characteristics to your beer like aroma, flavour, etc. Without hops in your beer, the taste would be overly sweet. Hops help balance the sweetness and bitterness to create the perfect beer.

To learn more about hops, how they are used in the brewing process, and what they do to our beer, watch this video below!

Video: What are hops? – The Craft Beer Channel

What Does “Hoppy Beer” Really Mean?

Simply put, the term “hoppy” just means that you can taste, smell, or recognize the characteristics of the hops in your beer. Different hops can be earthy and piney, flowery, citrusy, fruity, etc. While some types of hops can give a bitter sense, it is not always the case. Hops in beer provide a flavour and those flavours can vary from beer to beer.

Lately, a new trend in the craft beer industry is disconnecting hops to the term “bitter”. Brewers are creating different brewing techniques, like adding large doses of hops late in the brewing process, a.k.a. “post-boil”, that purposely prevents hops from adding a bitter flavour to their beer.

What Does “Bitter Beer” Actually Mean?

“Bitter” simply means bitter. Bitter flavours in the same beer can vary between different people. It all depends on each person’s tastes and their sensitivity to bitter flavours. Bitterness in beer comes from an acid released from the hops, called Isohumulone. Isohumulone is a chemical compound that helps balance the sweetness from the malts and grains used in the brewing process.

While Keystone’s bitter beer commercial, made us think bitter beer was a bad thing, bitter beers are actually one of the modern craft beer industry’s biggest trends. Although not always 100% accurate, you can usually tell the bitterness of your beer even before you drink it! Check out the International Bitterness Units (IBU) number that is usually located on the beer bottle label or can. Can’t find it? Check out the brewer’s website or look it up right here on JustBeer. The IBU number determines how bitter a beer is. The lower the number, the less bitter the beer will be (and vice versa).

7 Great Pilsners to Try Right Now

For millions of drinkers around the world, the reliable, pale, light, yellow, fizzy, easy-drinking pilsner is simply synonymous with beer. According to the experts who run tours at the style’s purported birthplace, Pilsner Urquell, outside of Prague in the Czech Republic, 80% of the world’s beer production is pilsner.

For a long time, the style’s ubiquity and the dominance of macro pilsner brewers like Miller and Corona made pilsner the bane of beer nerds and the craft producers who woo them. The last thing the producers wanted to be was remotely comparable to Budweiser, which they see as essentially a lowbrow American take on Urquell, so they swung in the other direction toward big, bold, hoppy and cleverly flavored red ales, pale ales, amber ales, brown ales, stouts, IPAs, DIPAs and imperial IPAs.

It helped that startup craft operations could make nonlagers a lot more quickly and affordably—pilsners, a primary type of lager, take as many as four more weeks to make than ales—and with a lot less precision (the pilsner process is more technical in order to achieve the desired crispness and clarity). Various other flavor elements also cloak flaws in ales in ways lagers cannot.

On the Urquell tour, the precision is visual. The facility is spotless, and its huge and gleaming copper kettles almost glow. The kettles govern a slow, cold-fermented, closed-tank process with yeasts that feed on the bottom. That represents the key difference between lagers and ales. Instead of a slow, cold and closed process, ales are brewed faster—as quickly as two weeks—at room temperature, with open tanks where the yeasts convert sugars to alcohol at the top.

When Joseph Groll developed Urquell’s brewing system in 1842, it was unprecedented. Today, the Urquell recipe remains the same (and remains secret), and in a quiet corner at the end of 9 kilometers of fermentation cellars remains the only place Urquell can be tried unfiltered and unpasteurized, straight from the barrel. At the source, the samples taste a touch more complex, bitter and soft.

But that hasn’t stopped legion brewers from following Groll’s lead. Hundreds of them produce millions of gallons of pilsner every year, in a range of styles, including German (which leans more hop-forward), Japanese (often drier and super clean), Mexican (richer and fuller) and American (typically a little stronger, spicier, citric and creative).

The best news for pilsner lovers is that the craft community no longer scoffs at it. In fact, in United States craft beer circles, the style is flourishing with all sorts of fresh interpretations. Peter Licht has been tracking it closely. He’s the brewmaster at the popular San Jose, California, Hermitage Brewing Co., where he has been making pilsners for a quarter-century.

“There’s a really good reason that pilsners are the most popular in the world: It’s a great style of beer,” says Licht. “There was a dumbing-down of the style over the years so that they weren’t what they could be, but there’s a huge amount of room in the category that will satisfy [both] the masses and people who love fine beer.”

The Czech and German hallmarks—“established granddaddies,” in Licht parlance—will continue to please. But now that the pilsner mainstream stigma has faded, he adds, many of the most intriguing recipes are found across the U.S., and particularly in the West.

“Craft beer in America 30 years ago set itself up as different [from] the big beer brands because it had to carve out space that was opposite of what was there,” says Licht. “There was a reluctance to enter the space of the enemy—Bud, MillerCoors. Now, craft beer has been around long enough. Brewers don’t need to differentiate. They can do things they want to do.”

These are seven of the most exciting things brewers are doing in that vein, according to a panel of craft brewers and beverage directors, Licht included, and why they’re worth celebrating. Be warned, though: Many of these interesting brews from smaller breweries are available only regionally, and several are found almost exclusively at restaurants or bars. They’re all worth the extra effort to seek out.

  • Style: New England-style IPA
  • Brewery: WeldWerks Brewing Co. (Greeley, CO)

New England IPAs are known for their signature hazy color and fruity hop flavors/aromas while having subdued bitterness. It’s no wonder how WeldWerks got the name for their juice-like IPA!

Expect huge citrus and tropical fruit character from the Mosaic, Citra and El Dorado hop additions, balanced with a softer mouthfeel from the lower attenuation.

14 Low-Carb Beers That Won't Derail Your Keto Diet

Beers that are low in calories, carbs, and alcohol are having a serious moment. Chalk it up to the keto movement or the fact that beach bod season is right around the corner. Here are 15 super low-carb beers that won't totally derail your diet.

Carbs: 2 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 90

This very low-carb ale from Devils Backbone is where a beer and a spritz meet. It&rsquos very light and bubbly with a burst of citrus&mdashyou can practically feel yourself saying &ldquoaaah&rdquo after a long sip now.

Carbs: 2.6 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 90

Corona Premier is a classic choice that goes hand-in-hand with beach days. It&rsquos only fitting that such a perfect seaside brew won&rsquot hurt your beach bod ambitions. All you need to add is a lime.

BUY NOW Corona Premier,

Carbs: 2.6 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 95

You know about Michelob Ultra: It's super low-cal, low-carb approach is what's been inspiring other breweries to lighten up their own beers. Have you actually tried it, though? It&rsquos an easy-to-find, easy-to-drink option that&rsquos perfect for whiling away the afternoon. Plus, there a number of unique riffs on the original, like lime cactus, that have only a few more carbs.

BUY NOW Michelob Ultra,

Carbs: 3 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 98

IPA fans, don&rsquot despair. The extra hoppy style usually comes with higher calorie and carb counts, but Lagunitas has you covered. The DayTime IPA has all of the aroma and flavor of a heavy-hitter IPA, but it&rsquos lower in alcohol and all the health-sabotaging stuff. Plus its classic IPA bitterness is balanced by a smooth, refreshing quality.

BUY NOW Lagunitas DayTime IPA,

Carbs: 3.1 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 95

Shiner ups the flavor ante on the timeless lager with its Ruby Redbird, which has a kick of grapefruit. This beer is easy-drinking but full of tart, fruity flavor. It&rsquos especially rewarding on a hot day.

Carbs: 3.6 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 95

Dogfish Head is a master of unique flavors and hoppy IPAs, so if anyone&rsquos going to make a diet-friendly beer that doesn&rsquot taste diet-friendly, it&rsquos them. The Slightly Mighty is a little bitter, a little sweet, and overall refreshing with a tropical twist&mdashall without scary calorie or carb counts.

Carbs: 3.9 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 140

The brut IPA trend swings the style&rsquos pendulum from boozy and hazy to crisp and dry, and the result is the best of both worlds if you love beer and champagne. Ommegang&rsquos take is light in all the right ways they&rsquore not skimping on flavor or aroma, yet they&rsquove managed to keep carbs and calories in check.

BUY NOW Ommegang Brut IPA,

Carbs: 4 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 99

Pop open a bottle of this Kahana Blonde for a little taste of Hawaii. It's low calories, carbs, and ABV team up with its flavor&mdashlight, bright and smooth with some tropical juiciness from real mango&mdashto create a carefree vibe.

Carbs: 4.2 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 99

Deschutes has subtly updated the quintessential pilsner with a little extra bubbliness, a little extra citrus, and a little extra toastiness. Da Shootz! is the perfect amount of complex and very sessionable, meaning you can enjoy a few with friends.

Carbs: 4.8 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 183

Allagash Brewing Co. is known for its expert rendition of the saison. A saison is a Belgian beer style known for being very carbonated and crisp, with a subtle hop and notes of citrus and pepper from the yeast. This all translates to a lot of flavor and, in Allagash&rsquos case, not a lot of calories or carbs.

Carbs: 5 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 150

BrewDog&rsquos Vagabond balances a little bitterness (classic for the style) with the caramel sweetness of its malt plus some tropical fruit flavors and a burst of hoppiness. In addition to its low carb and calorie counts, this pale ale is gluten-free.

Carbs: 5 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 152

For another take on the trendy brut IPA style, look to Four Peaks. This version mimics extra-dry champagne and does so with lots of fruity flavors like mixed berries and melon. The overall finish is like a crisp white wine with a hoppy slant.

Carbs: 5.85 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 99

This ale from Lakefront Brewery deserves a spot in your rotation thanks to its unique flavor. It&rsquos a super light and easy-drinking beer brewed with green and oolong teas plus Lemondrop hops. All that gives it a complex range of fragrant aroma and flavor notes.

Carbs: 10 grams

Calories per 12 oz.: 120

While Harpoon&rsquos Rec. League clocks in at 10 grams of carbohydrates, it&rsquos worth adding to your health-conscious beer repertoire because of all its other benefits. Consider this: It's low in calories, low in alcohol, and a deliciously refreshing, hoppy and hazy pale ale. There's more: Rec. League is made with buckwheat kasha for vitamin B and minerals, chia seeds for fiber and antioxidants, and Mediterranean sea salt for electrolytes, making this beer great for kicking back after a workout.

Watch the video: Μπουγέλωσαν με μπύρα την Μέρκελ! (May 2022).