It’s no secret we love the world of craft beer. That’s what forms the very foundation of Hop & Wine. As 2013 comes to a close, we’re as excited as you are to see what 2014 will bring to the beer world. We can’t say for sure, of course, but here are some of the trends we’re thinking might develop.
Brewers have been combining grains with wine grapes to create hybrid drinks for some time now. The trend is finally starting to pick up. No ale is safe from the trend as brewers experiment with different combinations. Dogfish Head Noble Rot, for instance, combines viognier and pinot gris grapes with pils and wheat malts.
Like beer-wine hybrids, sour beers have been around for awhile. They’re just starting to catch on. Traditionally, these brews got their signature tang from fermentation that involved wild yeast. Today’s brewers use certain types of fruits and bacterias to produce the tart flavor. Sour beers aren’t exactly easy to drink. If you’re into complexity and uniqueness, though, they just might be for you. Try Barriquée by Panil of Italy, a triple-fermented Flanders red ale.
Smoked beers are definitely an acquired taste. The tradition might have died out long ago without the dedication of its fans. Recently, this style of beer has been picking up steam in the US. It’s made by smoking the malts over an open flame before brewing. Full-bodied and intense, smoked beers go well with the more pungent cheeses. They also tend toward the higher end of the alcohol content scale. Schlenkerla’s Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier is a good example of this re-emerging historical technique.
Most beer brewing and storage vessels used to be made out of wood. Then sturdier, more sanitary metal equipment became the industry standard. There are benefits to bringing wood back into the beer creation process, though. Craft brewers are starting to use barrels that previously held rum, whisky, and even wine to age beer. The resulting brew is then re-carbonated. It may also be blended with beer that has not been aged to create the finished product. This time-intensive process may lead to a premium price tag. Beer enthusiasts who enjoy the flavors barrel aging infuses into a brew will happily pay, though. Bell’s Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout is an example of this style.