What was the taste of 2017? That’s what I asked to our bloggers, who follow the beer world closely. This is the ultimate review of 2017 beer trends!
Who are the 9 Beerwulf Bloggers?
Let us introduce them first, including their personal beer highlights of 2017.
Adrian Tierney-Jones (UK), Beer Writer of the Year 2017 and editor for several British beer magazines
“Obviously winning the British Guild of Beer Writers’ Beer Writer of the Year award still makes me walk with my head in the clouds. The tastings around my book ‘The Seven Moods of Craft Beer’ and beer judging and tasting up in the Peruvian Andes are my personal highlights”.
Rick Kempen (NL), Beer Sommelier at Het Bierplein, beer blogger and author of the book ‘Bier’
“My personal beer-related highlight is of course the writing and publishing of my latest book. Also, drinking Stigbergets West Coast IPA in the brewery’s tasting room, crazy good.”
Luc De Raedemaeker (BE), Beer Sommelier, Director of Brussels Beer Challenge and author for several Belgian beer magazines
“Two things I can truly call highlights: my trip in the Pacific Northwest (US), I tasted beautiful beers there and wrote great reports. Second: putting my lips on a Westmalle Tripel, time after time.”
Melissa Cole (UK), beer writer for magazines and newspapers, author of several beer books, beer sommelier and Certified Cicerone®
“Multiple highlights: all the positive reactions to my latest book ‘The Little Book of Craft Beer’ and the various beers I have created together with several brewers. The biggest highlight though was my trip to Brazil, where I have seen how fast the craft beer scene has grown in the past 2 years!”
Yvonne van Houtum (NL), Beer sommelier, founder of Bierliefde.nl and beer journalist for several magazines:
“My personal highlight was achieving the International Beer Sommelier title. Also, drinking a Goudenband at the Liefmans brewery together with Rosa Markx (first Belgian brewer) and Marc Coesen (Liefmans brewmaster), a great afternoon!”
Alain Schepers (NL), Beer sommelier, founder of Bierista.nl and beer writer
“A special beer moment in 2017 was getting to know BCBS, Bourbon County Brand Stout. These beers almost make you cry with happiness. Such a powerful and full flavor, and yet a great balance.”
Arvid Bergström (NL), Beer sommelier and author of several books on food pairing with beer
“I have published 2 books this year, those are the highlights: first ‘Bier aan Tafel’, and then ‘Bier & Oliebollen’. Of course, I’m still in the middle of the daze, but still, writing ‘Bier & Oliebollen’ was great: understanding which ‘oliebol’ paired well with which beer on my cosy balcony.”
Jan Machiel van Bragt (almost Belgian), recognized connoisseur, co-organizer of the Essen Christmas Beer Festival, and co-author of theBeer Icons of the Lowlands
“The Christmas Beer Festival is an annual highlight, also this year. I also enjoyed the bitter lager from the Ministry of Belgian Beer in the Ghent cafés, both filtered and unfiltered. Very convincing.”
Mark Dredge (UK), author of several beer books, Beer Writer of the Year 2016
“I drank beer in 20 countries spread over 4 continents to complete my Beer Bucket List. It was really a series of highlights, from visits to many breweries to unexpected surprises, such as the Vietnamese craft beer scene.”
If there’s a taste that characterise the Lowlands in 2017, it’s the Session beers: low in alcohol, lots of flavour. “These beers are perfect to hang out in the evening” says Luc.
“Especially the summer of 2017 was dominated by Session beers. These thirst quenchers are best appreciated in the warm months” says Yvonne.
Jan Machiel mentions a number of Belgian examples: “Biolégère of Dupont, Taras Boulba and Stouterik of De La Senne with spirit, body and character”.
Arvid: “I saw (luckily) fewer new IPAs, but I have been able to taste some nice new Session IPAs”.
Cloudy is fine, chunks are not.
On the other side of the North Sea they agree, New England India Pale Ale was the trend of 2017: “This was the year of the cloudy IPA, they were everywhere and really are the beer hype of 2017” says Mark.
Not all versions are equally successful. Adrian describes them as a “cloudy fruit juice lookalikes, which smell like a basket of overly ripened tropical fruit that has been lying under the sun for too long.”
Mark is also moderately enthusiastic: “Most are very fruity and surprising at the first sip, but it often gets heavy and not that refreshing at the second sip.”
Melissa is a bit milder: “Some are really amazingly good and some are a bad execution of a style that is still under development.” She thinks the most special thing about the coffee filters that are sometimes needed: “Absolutely nobody should filter their beers like that, as I have seen a lot on social media. Cloudy is fine, chunks are not”
Hop and IPA
Alain sees 2017 as a hoppy year: “Even though it is claimed that the IPA hype is over, I see that many hoppy beers are still being consumed. Perhaps the hype has passed its peak, but IPAs were everywhere in 2017.”
Adrian sees the proliferation of different IPA styles: “It started with a Double IPA and Black IPA. Now there is fruity, sour, New England, West Coast, East Coast, English, Belgian, Session, and-so-on-IPA. You see something similar happening with other styles, I’m not sure whether it’s a gimmick or innovation.”
Speciality beer no longer exists
For him, 2017 was the year that speciality beers definitely broke through. “No, what we used to call ‘Speciality beer’”, he corrects himself. “For the sake of convenience, all the beers that are not the Pilsener type”.
He has seen a lot of events that indicate that beer has definitely found its place and position: “Amazing beer is delivered at home with ease, in the supermarkets beer has gained shelf space, successful crowdfunding campaigns, a foundation for the beer heritage of the Netherlands, the many good publications about beer in Dutch. Recently I could even choose from more than 10 different beers at a pancake restaurant. Maybe that’s it: speciality beer really does not exist anymore, and we drink all kinds of colours, smells and tastes at any time.”
A wonderful beer year
Personally, I thought 2017 was a wonderful beer year. Of course, I also saw many session beers, particularly nice during the summer period. New England IPA also struck me. I have had great fruit bombs, but also unpleasant versions, where a coffee filter afterwards would have been welcome.
Beerwulf is a wonderful adventure, let 2018 come!