We’re planning a longform ‘state of play 2014-15’ supplement to Brew Britannia for the summer but, in the meantime, here are some brief thoughts on what the next year might hold.
1. Larger, better-established family/regional breweries, anxious over their status in relation to ‘craft beer’, will dabble in once-obscure areas of the Jacksonian style framework:
@StAustellBrew And still found time to brew and experimental Gose with Cornish sea salt and samphire last Sunday on the micro-brewery.
— Roger Ryman (@roger_ryman) December 19, 2014
2. This comes up every year, but we really think that, in 2015, IPA and ‘craft’ fatigue will lead some smaller, hipper breweries to start exploring styles so down-to-earth and old skool that not even supposedly conservative breweries make them any more, e.g. brown ale:
2015 The year of Lager & Brown Ale. #youhearditherefirst
— Summer Wine Brew Co. (@SWBrewery) December 30, 2014
3. At the other end of the spectrum, we expect a lot more of these kinds of Heston Blumenthal experiments, where beer is made to taste like cider, or gin, or…
…as well as more attempts to replicate children’s sweets or desserts:
The final best new British beer of 2014 – a spellbinding 'peanut butter and biscuit imperial stout'. What else? > http://t.co/2597ACcnR8
— Richard Taylor (@TheBeerCast) December 13, 2014
(Just to confuse things, Bateman’s, a ‘square’ brewery, have been dabbling in this territory for a while.)
3b. And brace yourselves for bacon butty beers — if they’re not already out there fermenting (no doubt someone will tell us) they can’t be far away.
4. This is a bit vague but… Cans, cutting edge for craft beer in 2014, will become commonplace, forcing the cool kids to find another CAMRA-baiting taboo to break. We jokingly suggested 3 litre PET bottles might be embraced ironically someday — it won’t be that, but perhaps something similar. Smoothflow double IPA, maybe?
5. Big beer — the multinationals — will start to get serious about muscling in on and/or attempting to neuter ‘craft beer’. The basic premise of the recent LIDL Surprises campaign (video below) is that hipsters are mugs; most people who fancy themselves discerning are bullshitters; and everyone should stop struggling against the loving embrace of the supermarkets and their lovely, lovely bargains. We’re waiting for one of the multi-national breweries to pull a stunt along the same lines. This article is satire but pretty plausible; and here’s one from history — people love this kind of ‘Gotcha!’ story.
Phew. The first post after a break is always difficult but that’s us nicely warmed up…