We’re with you, beer-lover. While we’re big fans of the classics that never go out of style, the forefront of innovation is always an exciting place to be, and the beer industry is always in the mood for experimentation.
Back in the day, a fruity IPA might have been seen as adventurous, but that was before things really took off – now we’re seeing new things with each passing year. Some inventions might be genuine new paths for the industry to tread, some might be gimmicks and passing fads. But you might as well give them a go to find out.
We always have our fingers on the industry pulse and eyes peeled for the next big thing; here are a few things in the world of beer we reckon will be a big deal in 2020 and beyond.
This might seem like a bit of a contradiction in terms. Session beers are traditionally lower-alcohol brews, with a balance of hops and malt to provide a flavour that doesn’t overwhelm the palate, and are easier to down over the course of a sensible drinking session. The lower alcohol – usually around 3.5% ABV or less – also means you stay on your feet longer after having a few. IPAs are usually a punchier, stronger beer with vibrant hoppy flavours.
A session IPA, then, is a mixture of those two concepts.
Many of the session IPAs we’ve seen certainly stretch the definition of ’session’ – particularly with ABV figures pushing 4 or 5 % – so don’t get too carried away glugging these down. But compared to some of the stronger options, they’re definitely a safer choice.
They’re also a bit easier on the taste buds, with a lighter, more aromatic profile than ordinary IPAs. They might taste richer than a normal session, but not as rich as a West Coast IPA, for example.
People are in the mood for balance these days and are mindful to avoid going too heavy on their nights out. So expect to see a few more of these in bars and brewpubs near you.
If, however, you prefer your IPA classic, then check ours out: a crisp, aromatic and bittery pale ale with a fruity and resinous aromatic flavour.
Lactose is a type of sugar that’s found in milk. In the brewing process, it’s unique in being one of the only sugars that doesn’t ferment, so it sticks around contributing sweet milky flavours. Previously, you’d have only found lactose in milk stouts, but recently it’s started to appear in other beers.
Now, you’re just as likely to spot lactose in an IPA. It’ll smooth down the bite of a punchy pale ale and give it a creamy, softer edge, with a lovely texture. And you’ll see them with sweeter flavours, like vanilla, honey or caramel. Indulgent.
You’ll occasionally find beer snobs deriding these as a ‘dessert in a can’. That’s not entirely inaccurate, but why should it be a bad thing? If it’s flipping delicious – which it often is – you’re free to enjoy it however you like. You could always start with a Seven Bro7hers Marshmallow Stout to get you in the mood…
Sours are having a bit of a renaissance these days, too, which is something to welcome. Seen as a bit intimidating to some, they’re not as adventurous as they seem. And they’re growing in popularity.
Sours are made in the same way other beers are, but with different types of yeast added at certain parts of the brewing process.
Flavour-wise, you’d expect to find things like cherry, rhubarb and raspberry in traditional sours. Now we’re seeing a wider range of flavour experimentation in sours, going the earthy and spicy route, or dessert style like Key Lime Pie or cherry & lactose milk sours.
So expect more tart sours to zing up your tastebuds throughout the year.