Five beer trends for 2019
PUBLISHED: 07:01 12 January 2019
Archant Norfolk 2018
It's the New Year. A time to take a moment to smell the roses, make a few doomed resolutions, and generally take stock.
It’s also a chance to look forward to what 2019 might have to offer and make some predictions.
For beer, 2018 was all about craft going more mainstream.
Check out the fridges at most local pubs - as well as well-known chains - and they are generally stuffed with colourful cans from breweries like Beavertown and Brewdog.
The same goes for supermarkets, with craft and continental beer sections increasingly taking over shelving real estate usually reserved for mass-produced lagers and ales.
That is likely to continue this year - but here are five more trends that are set to explode.
1. Lower ABV beer/Table beer
Initiatives like Dryanuary, driven by health conscious drinkers, show there’s an appetite for less boozy, or even alcohol-free, alternatives in the pub.
The problem for brewers has always been creating a beer that packs a punch in flavour, but not alcohol.
But there has been a boom in alcohol-free beers of all kinds - including sours, lagers and IPAs - from breweries such as Harveys, Big Drop Brewing and Cloudwater.
And guess what? They actually taste of something.
What to try: Mikkeller Drink’in The Sun, Paulaner Hefe Weissbier Alcohol free.
2. Craft lager
Discerning hipsters well and truly have beer in a headlock, and they’re coming for your lager.
Last year was supposed to be the year of craft lager, but it never quite took off.
But with punters increasingly looking for crisp, drinkable beer, lager is primed and ready to go.
Expect to see more Thornbridge Lukas and Lost and Grounded Keller Pils on tap at your local soon.
3. Shrinking beers
Like Piers Morgan’s ego, the last few years have seen beers get bigger and bigger as brewers try to push the boundaries - and stand out from the crowd.
IPAs stuffed with hops, imperial stouts hitting 12% and 13% alcohol, and even super-sweet ‘pastry stouts’ have hit the shelves.
But ‘less is more’ is now the mantra for many brewers, with drinkers preferring to sink a few crushable, but still tasty, beers, than get knocked out by a couple of bigguns.
Try session IPAs (4.5% or less) such as Magic Rock Saucery or Stone Go To.
4. Things could go retro
While brewers have been pushing the boundaries, some once-popular styles have been left behind.
Cloudwater hinted at a cask revival with a couple of one-off creations at the end of last year, but that seems unlikely with the amount of pubs equipped to do it justice.
What’s more likely is that a raft of classic German beers are shipped over to stock pub fridges. Watching drinkers try and pronounce names like Weihenstephaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Schlenkerla will be half the fun.
There may also be a moment for Belgian styles such as quads and spontaneously fermented beers, as brewers go back to their roots.
5. Home brewing will take off
Okay, this is more of a wish than an expectation, but with a boom in beer buying, you would think a boom in beer-making would follow?
I’ve been home brewing for a couple of years and once you’re up and running it’s great fun, and cheap, too.
You can make any style you want, end up with enough to last you months, and there’s nothing better than someone blind-tasting your beer, and loving it.
You can put a kit together for anywhere from £50 upwards, and there are countless books and YouTube videos out there to tell you how it’s done.