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March 29, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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The next big thing

Beer

Like all things fashionable, craft beer goes through trends. It becomes trendy to brew certain styles, depending on what’s ‘in’ with the beer geeks.

The current ‘in’ thing is hops. More hops, to be precise. 

The ‘more hops’ trend is coming straight out of the US of A, home of the best (and worst) beers in the world. Despite that part of the world producing the watery drivel that is

Budweiser, American craft brewers are at the forefront of the craft beer industry. The US is home to thousands of micro breweries, each brewing their own range of aggressively flavoured beer. 

These big flavours come from the unique American-grown hops, to which the brewers have applied the philosophy of ‘bigger is better’.

This trend had reached New Zealand, with beers like Epic Armageddon, Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black and 8wired Hopwired IPA taking old world English styles and increasing the hopping rates by various multiples of 100.

But to have a super hoppy beer you need a big malt base to build it on. Big malty beers could be the next big thing here. Malt driven beer is all the rage in England, with bitters, ESBs, brown ales, milds and such still being very popular. These are usually served uncarbonated and warmer, through a handpump. The English love these ‘session ales’, because they are mid-strength, big flavour beers which you can drink all night and still maintain most of your dignity. This style of beer might be the next big thing in New Zealand, as handpumps are popping up at several bars in Wellington—Hashigo Zake, Malthouse and Bar Edward to name a few.

These handpumps are dispensing beer from breweries such as The Twisted Hop and Townshend, who make authentic traditional English styles of beer. And it’s disappearing as fast as they can brew it.

But my best bet for the next big trend in New Zealand is a combination of these two things: super hoppy, American styled session ales.

This new style incorporates the best of both worlds. Hops provide aggressive in-your-face flavour, while refreshing bitterness and the low alcohol means you can enjoy it all night without falling over.

Hallertau Brewbar in Auckland has made a beer fitting all of these descriptions: Hallertau Minimus. It is a lightweight at only 3.8%, but hoppier than some heavyweight IPAs. The risk with a beer like this is for it to be watery, but Minimus has just enough body to counterbalance the big hops. It is a groundbreaking beer. 

Whatever trends emerge over the next few years, new and exciting beers will be launching every month. The craft beer industry will grow and eat away at the mega brewed swill with innovation, skill and care.

If you have any questions about this week’s beers or any comments, please contact me at davethebeerguy@gmail.com.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Uncarbonated? cask beer should gently carbonated , not flat.

  2. Brock Lesnar says:

    someone say my name?

  3. If we’re following the USA, then the next trend will be sour beers. The USians seem to be going nuts over funky bugs in their beer. I’m surprised that no-one here has yet taken the plunge.

  4. DaveTheBeerGuy says:

    @Kieran I agree. I meant to convey that cask ales are not force carbonated, it is just the natural co2 from the yeast.
    @Martin I think sour beers are coming, but will be on a much smaller scale than hoppy session beers – due to the cost associated with sourbombs.

  5. Stu as "Stu" says:

    No, no, no… you’re all wrong. We all know that the next big trend will be 100% peated malt beers. Dry peated and then delivered through a peatinator. To a glass that is designed for maximum peatiness.

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