It’s not always easy to prognosticate when it comes to the ever-expanding craft beer market. For example, who could have foretold the rise of hazy, juicy Northeast IPAs? Sometimes these things just catch people by the taste buds and take on lives of their own.
Moreover, who’d have thought, even five years ago, that soon enough every ale imaginable would be infused with some sort of fruit, from mango to mandarin orange? Or that picky palates would embrace beers that have been intentionally spoiled with brettanomyces?
Well, to try and get a handle on what’s coming next in all things brewing, I asked local brewers and others involved in the beer business to make their, shall we say, over-the-top predictions for trends to watch for in 2018.
(Mind you, none of these fine people should be held responsible if these predictions don’t come true; this is primarily an exercise aimed at entertainment.)
Adam Watson, Against the Grain
In 2018, forget about hazy IPAs and sweet pastry stouts. We’re gonna take it up a notch. Gelatinized sours. If you can drink it without a spoon, it’s bullshit. Think champagne Jell-O with lactic acid and some hops. Might barrel age it too.
Derek Selznick, Kentucky Guild of Brewers
As you know, 99 percent of beer follows the Reinheitsgebot Purity Laws, which allow for only water, malt, hops and yeast to be in beer. 2018 is the year we break free from our vegan roots and embrace the meats. No more wimpy, vegetarian IPAs! This year, beer connoisseurs can sink their teeth into Steak Stouts, Filet Mignon Marzens, Pepperoni Porters and, my personal favorite, Maple Bacon Berlinerweisses! No meat? No way.
Leah Dienes, Apocalypse Brew Works
My prediction is that Bud/Miller/Coors will come out with its own “Juicy IPA” in cans with a label that says, “Crafted like a Craft Brewery.” They will also be in extra-tall, 22-ounce cans so they get maximum attention on the shelf.
Jeff Faith, Fehr’s Beer
As Americans, we take everything too far. IPAs are too hoppy and imperial beers are way too big. We’re about to get more lawn mower beers.
Nathaniel Gravely, Gravely Brewing
India Malt Liquor! A hoppy yet light and very boozy concoction that’ll make a brown paper bag koozie look antiquated.
Rick Stidham, Akasha Brewing
Set the cup under the dispenser nozzle. Press “Russian Imperial Stout” on the touchscreen, or (why not go for it?) press “Russian Imperial Stout” plus “Cherry” and “Lime” on the touchscreen. Your whitish-opaque plastic cup begins filling. You’ll notice a thin, green stream and a thin, red stream accompanying the larger stream of black fizzy liquid issuing from the nozzle. But — oops! — the green stream has stopped. Don’t worry, that just means the Lime cartridge needs to be changed. Touch the “Call Attendant” button and someone will eventually be over to take care of that.
False Idol Independent Brewers
The imperial session IPA: extreme but subtle bitterness, with a syrupy but light texture and bold but mild flavor. The best of both worlds!
Richard Otey, Donum Dei Brewery
Imperial blockchain cryptobeer. You will be able to buy it only with Beercoins.
And there you have it, straight from the brewers’ mouths. Here’s looking forward to another fine year of over-the-top craft beer trends.
…and a bit of beer news
Never go hungry again, at least on a weekend, when you visit Mile Wide Beer Co. The brewery is partnering with Commonwealth Cure to bring a small selection of items to warm your bellies.
“We’re stoked to be pairing up with such great people to provide you with the best beers and bites in Louisville,” the brewery said via a Facebook post.
The menu presumably will rotate, but the first weekend of food included black bean crostini, meatball sandwich, smoked beer sausage and a chocolate Bundt cake made with Mile Wide’s own Uncle Disheveled stout.
The dishes will be paired with available beers to make your dining experience come full circle, and most dishes will come in at $10 or less.
If you’re still hungry, make plans to visit Mile Wide on Jan. 17 for a beer pairing with Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, featuring a flight of four beers with four cheese samples and education on what makes them go so well together. Tickets are $15. •