by Alain Schepers Blogger at Bierista.nl
Craft beer trendsEver expanding choice
We live in interesting times. It’s almost as if we are rectifying the mistakes of the industrial revolution. Rather than producing more in bigger factories with greater efficiency, we’re returning to craftsmanship, small-scale production and sustainability. The world of craft beer has developed rapidly. And the beer drinker is reaping the benefits of this because there has never been so much variety available.
Is it a hype that will it soon blow over? On the contrary: craft beer is here to stay! Small breweries have a lot to look forward to as their growth is expected to continue in the years to come. In addition to the general trend of sustainable growth, we are also seeing a few specific trends in beer. What’s happening right now? Alain Schepers from Bierista shares with us the latest developments on the Dutch beer scene.
Beer drinkers are becoming more adventurous
In the past, if you were looking for something special, you’d go for one of the tried-and-tested beers like Leffe Blond, Karmeliet or Westmalle Tripel. There’s nothing wrong with the classics but there’s just so much more out there these days. Beer drinkers are no longer limiting themselves to the golden oldies. Now, even the most conservative beer drinkers will occasionally order a beer from a local or unknown brewery.
Drinking in a group
Why have one bottle per person when you can share? If you drink a whole bottle of craft beer, you’ll be able to try two of three beers at the most in one evening. But if you’re in a group, you can share each bottle and try lots of different beers in one session. This makes things more interesting and you learn more about beer this way.
Beer and food
Everyone knows that wine and food go great together. But not many people know that beer offers many more possibilities than wine. There are lots of different kinds of beer with widely differing flavours. Wine just can’t compete with that. You can create amazing pairings with craft beer and delicious food. There’s a good reason why beer is becoming more popular with high-end and Michelin-starred restaurants. But you don’t have to be a culinary genius to experiment with beer and food pairings. Try a refreshing pilsner with a piece of brie or a hoppy beer like an IPA with a Wiener Schnitzel and a salad and fries on the side. Want an even simpler idea? Dark chocolate combined with a rich, dark beer is enough to make this man weep tears of joy.
Heavy is out. Light and flavourful is in
Craft beer is still often associated with heavy beers such as the Tripels with more than 8% alcohol or heavy, dark beers that sometimes have more than 10% alcohol. These types of beers have reigned supreme for many years. However, there’s now a trend towards drinking low-alcohol beers. Beer drinkers seem to be drinking more responsibly and brewers are choosing to create beers with lots of flavour and a low alcohol content, usually below five percent. These “session beers” are gaining rapid popularity.
Quality over quantity
When taking the time to enjoy beer, quality is the key. Guzzling down pint after pint is not done anymore. We’ve got nothing against pilsners. In fact, we’d argue that the pilsner is the best craft beer there is. However, it’s great to see that this style, along with other styles of beer, are being drunk in a more mindful way. These days, beer drinkers would rather drink one or two quality, flavourful beers than drink twice as much and end up with a raging hangover the next day.
A thirst for knowledge
Craft beer brings people together. It’s fun to get together to drink and talk about the beers you’re sampling. There’s huge variety and sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. Which beer should you try next? Beer lovers are becoming more and more knowledgeable about beer, are visiting brewers and sharing their knowledge, experiences and interesting stories with each other. Because of this, word-of-mouth is travelling faster than ever, which can only be a good thing for the beer community.