Follow taste buds, not craft beer trends, in 2017

Follow taste buds, not craft beer trends, in 2017

If you ask the almighty Google, you’ll find plenty of articles about beer trends to look for in 2017.

Some of these lists were written based on the authors’ experience at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado — or based on what they heard through the grapevine about the festival.

Which breweries’ lines were longer than others, and for what beers? What were the buzzwords heard around the event?

Styles seen as growing trends in the craft beer industry are lagers such as pilsner and Marzen, sour India pale ales or IPAs, juicy IPAs, session sours, lactose-infused beers, beers with vegetable adjuncts, coffee beers, kolsch, saisons, heavily hopped lagers, smoked beers, fruity sours, altbiers, wood- and barrel-aged beers — and the list continues on and on.

Reading of the trends for 2017, the one thing I found blindingly evident was how many styles of beer actually are predicted to trend this year. There didn’t seem to be many styles that weren’t on a list somewhere.

Chances are, if you’re brewing a beer or drinking a beer, someone somewhere has pointed it out and said, “Hey, this style will trend in 2017! Brew it and drink it, because I have made the prediction!”

Earlier in 2016, a Thrillist article aggregated trends in the craft beer world that needed to stop. Various beer writers, brewers and others in the industry offered opinions against fetishizing the freshness of IPAs, brewing beers with bizarre ingredients, glamorizing canning, worshipping a brewery with subpar beer just because it’s local, plus beer-trading obsessions and session IPAs.

Everyone has opinions; I have plenty of them, too, and you get to read them every week. The personal opinions of a respected individual certainly count for much, but they’re still just that: opinions.

My husband and I have different perspectives on beer trends. He feels it’s important for a brewer to be on top of the style trends in order to market successfully and satisfy consumers. I think it’s more important for brewers to keep creative passion alive and focus on what they’re loving right then, at that moment in time. If a brewer is crafting a product well, it will sell.

Judging from the extensive list of styles predicted to trend in 2017, I think both of us are at least somewhat correct.

What you’re not going to find from me is a list of beer styles to look out for next year. I’m not going to tell you what’s trending because I’d rather see readers of this column create their own trends.

Continue trying new-to-you beer styles. Learn more about the process of brewing in 2017. Maybe it’s a fine time for you to start homebrewing. (Read my story about jumping into the hobby at bit.ly/LNP_homebrewing.)

Don’t put yourself into a box in terms of what styles of beer you should try next year, and don’t let anyone else put you in a box, either.

Beer has been brewed for thousands of years, and there is nothing new under the sun. Just like the cyclical nature of life, what goes around in style eventually comes around again.

Stay true to yourself and your taste buds. If you’ve tried a gose 20 times and it sets your teeth on edge every time, don’t feel like you’re missing out on some epiphany because you read it’s a trending style in 2017.

Chances are, whatever you’re drinking or brewing in 2017 is on someone’s list of what to try. Follow your own path of taste and not the one someone else told you to take.

A happy new year to you all, full of new craft beer (and beyond) and cheer.

What are you interested in learning more about in this column in 2017? Contact Amber DeGrace with comments and questions at adegrace@lnpnews.com and find her on Twitter and Instagram at @amberdegrace.

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