Sunday, June 6, 2010

Trends in American Specialty Beer – A Dutch Perspective

Just a few days ago, a Dutch beer critic from Bier.Blog.NL provided a critical overview of what they see as the developing trends in American specialty beer. Seems like they have it about right. Perspectives from the international community on beer trends are always interesting, but the fact that it’s from Holland makes it all the more interesting to me. By translating it (to the best of my ability) – it will have the opportunity to be interesting to you too….

Translated from “Top 7 interessante speciaalbier trends in Amerika” from written by Fiona de Lange

"I always really enjoy following the beer trends in the rest of the world with a scrutinizing eye, particularly America. Not all that everything springs from America of course. However, it is particularly interesting to see how fast the specialty beer market is developing there. And of course we must ensure that we are not left out of the game. A review of relevant American beer sites revealed many notable trends!

Below are listed a number of recent developments and hot trends in the American specialty beer market. First `Nanobreweries `. For me this explains the association with nanotechnology – it’s got nothing to do with it. These are comparable with homebrewers (thuisbrouwers) who produce beer for small groups. They frequently do this by partnering with a bar or restaurant for which special beer is exclusively made. This is a fast growing trend in American beer.

In contrast to the Tripel beer trend in Belgium and the Netherlands, in America we see a rise of the “sour beer” (zure bieren) trend. These beers are seeing attention both in the US and in Belgium. Americans are pursuing the acid beer style begun in Belgium and we’re seeing the style taken over more and more by American brewers.

Locally produced beers are trendy at restaurants. The beer menu at many restaurants considerably on the shovel and large brands such as Budweiser and Heineken are gone from the menu in favor of local specialty beers. This recent development is also supported where 79% of the restaurants agree that this is the recent trend of 2010.

Another trend observed both in the Netherlands and America is creative beer names. In America this is a well-established trend with many original, modern and creative beer labels and names.

A recent development heard on the grapevine is extreme beers. Brewers seek out more and more the extremeness such as the Scottish Brewdog did with several beers with weighing in at 41%. This was echoed in the US, with the Sam Adams Utopias Beer, brought to market with an alcohol percentage of 27%.

Experimenting with styles. Where before every brewer clung desperately to the recipe, now many beers are being brewed experimentally. We’re seeing all kinds of ingredients being added to basis beer recipes. Nuts, fruit, herbs, and all kinds of other ingredients on hand hands. This ensures, that new beers and beer styles and types are arising.

In America they are already very busy with: cooperation. This is something that is more restricted with us in the Netherlands. Of course have “de Smaak van Echt,” in which 4 brewers will brew cooperatively and “Brouwerij de Molen,” which often brews beer abroad. Yet, we are nevertheless for the most part working by ourselves. In America we’re seeing two breweries work together to make a new beer to put on the market. An example is the cooperation between Stone Brewing and Brewdog and also between Weihenstephan and Boston Beer Co who are working together to make a champagne beer.

These are all serious trends developing within America, but being noticed in other corners of the world as well. Let’s hope it stays that way!”

Translated from: Top 7 interessante speciaalbier trends in Amerika”
from written by Fiona de Lange

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