Thursday, December 3, 2009

The next stage in beer growth

Last week Brew Dog Brewery released the world's strongest beer. This beer, a 32% abv brew called 'Tactical Nuclear Penguin', beats their previous abv giant (Tokyo) by 13.8%.
After reading all of this, I asked myself: 'what is the next frontier for beer?' (assuming you consider Brew Dog's latest venture as beer related, which Roger Protz of does not). Will the IPA trend continue and provide us with more extreme IPAs? Will we get the chance to purchase more recreations of old beer styles (much like Dogfish head's Theobroma, Sah'tea, Chateau Jiahu? Will a Zima-esque beer get another look (i hope not)?
Personally, I'd like to see more beers with unorthodox ingredients such as sweet potatoes and black pepper (see Allagash's Fluxus '09 ). Perhaps pecans or paprika.
After thinking about where i'd like to see beer go, I was stopped in my tracks by asking 'when will the light be turned back to good beer that is free of trends/fads?' Don't get me wrong, I am all for the continued exploration and development of what beer can be. As well as the opportunity for beer fans to have the opportunity to try a myriad of takes on various beer styles. What I fear is the loss of enjoyment of a good, solid beer due to the pressure to continue to push the boundaries of beer.
A Bells stout, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Lagunitas IPA, etc are all great examples of the style and will not be going anywhere soon. It is the prevalence of solid beers such as these that keeps me from fearing that the pressure to come up with the next thing that continues to push the limits of beer will not hinder a homebrewer from taking the next step of making her/his beer available to the populace at large.

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