Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How Do You Define Extreme Beer?

After our recent trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, we got to thinking about just where craft beer is headed. Though we tasted a small enough sample size that we don't feel comfortable definitively stating what the "trends" are in brewing, we did notice that the beers that got a lot of attention tended to be bigger, less "traditional" (for lack of a better word) and included a lot of wacky ingredients. I don't know if craft beer has entered the extreme era, but there seems to be something going on.

What's your definition of an extreme beer, and can you give me some examples? Take a minute to post a comment. You can do it anonymously. It would be nice to get some feedback on the topic.


Graeme said...

This maybe doesn't answer your question, but I think that craft beer is in an interesting era. The industry is pushing for continued growth (the Brewer's Association is pushing for craft beer to capture 10% of the American beer market, and I think it's at something like 6% now) and I don't really see "extreme beers" your high gravity, "weird" ingredient, experimental being able to make that kind of push. Breweries like Dogfish Head have cut back production of beers like the 60-Minute IPA in favour of the more experimental brews, and there's a debate within the industry of whether or to focus on flagship brands or to play around with new beers more, with different breweries obviously coming to different conclusions on the topic. My opinion is that you're not going to get a huge amount of growth making these beers. There simply aren't enough beer geeks buying this kind of beer to sustain that. I'm a lot more interested in the craft beer industry putting forward well-made every day beers. A well-made Kolsch or a Czech Pilsner is a beautiful thing. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is a damned perfect beer. Thinking about the beautiful session beers (ie below 4% abv) available in decent pubs in the UK makes me long for living there again. I'd love to see far more of that.

AT said...

Thanks for your perspective on this. I agree with a lot of what you say. I understand that the majority of craft beer being consumed is NOT "extreme," but extreme beers have become far more prevalent than they were a decade ago. I can't help but think they are a significant *part* of the continued growth of craft beer. Look at the ABV of an average IPA a decade ago and it was probably between 5-6%. Today it's not common for a regular ol' IPA to be closer to 7%! Imagine a 7% beer as your everyday beer! And speaking of Sierra Nevada, look at their lineup a decade ago. It was good, but modest. Now they do all kinds of interesting and different things. There has definitely been a paradigm shift beyond just making basic, well-made brews. People obviously want those, too, but they also want to be challenged.

adult entertainment said...

nice information here.