Beer Trends to Watch in 2019 | East Bay Express

By January 31, 2019Beer, Beverage trends

Photo by Lance Yamamoto

Last year brought the craft beer world some things we loved, and some things we hated (we’re looking at you, milkshake IPAs). The haze craze, sours spiking in popularity, and the pastry stout all dominated 2018 beer menus. But in 2019, will things change, or will they remain the same? We asked some local brewmasters for their predictions for the coming 12 months.

Brut IPAs are Here to Stay
Perhaps the biggest Bay Area beer trend of last year was the brut IPA, allegedly birthed in San Francisco by Social Brewing’s Kim Sturdavant. This light-bodied, dry IPA is created with the addition of an amylase enzyme, typically used to create a lighter body in heavier beers, such as stouts and porters. The result is a very drinkable, champagne-like beer with almost no bitterness and a higher carbonation. It provides a refreshing alternative to the heaviness of hazy IPAs as well as the biting flavor of extra-hoppy IPAs.

San Leandro’s Drake’s Brewing Company has embraced brut IPAs from the beginning. Brian Stechschulte, director of marketing at Drake’s, said Drake’s was one of the first breweries to put a brut in a six-pack. “We certainly didn’t originate the style, but I would say we helped pioneer it in the sense of experimenting,” Stechschulte said.

Beer sommeliers are conflicted on whether the brut IPA is a passing fad or if it has staying power, but our guess is you’re not quite done seeing them in 2019.

“I think because it came on so quickly, people are skeptical, but underlying that is a beer that has real potential to answer something that customers are looking for,” said Sam Gilbert, owner of Temescal Brewing. “I hope that in 2019 it becomes less of this exciting new thing and more of just a standard thing you see regularly in the East Bay.”

The Year of the Lager (Finally)
Every year, craft beer heads seem to predict it’s the year of the lager. But finally, it may actually be that year. “I think that a lot of drinkers are looking for something new but are also less excited about stuff that is wild and bold and flavorful,” Gilbert said. “People want a change but that change is something a little more subtle — a return to a little bit more normalcy in how people drink, rather than seeking out these really high alcohol, intensely hoppy beers.”

A lager is a beer brewed at lower temperature to produce a crisp, simple flavor — one popular type of lager is the pilsner. One reason the “year of the lager” has taken so long to come to fruition is that it’s one of the most difficult styles of beer to brew.

Source: Beer Trends to Watch in 2019