IPA-LITE to be the beer trend for 2013?
Although our 2013 beer predictions are already in the bank, there are a few more trends I can see happening this year. Look for more arty types to brew with foraged ingredients, for example – and for more mid-sized producers to quietly open one or two pubs. Also, I think the expanding market will push more contractor breweries into taking the plunge and buying their own kit. Finally, and this is backed up by yesterday’s announcement from Magic Rock – 2013 could be the year of the low-abv kegged IPA.
For a while now, the newer generation of British breweries (I’m desperately trying to avoid that other C-word) have been piling one super hoppy Pale Ale or IPA on top of the next. Keep them coming, I say. During 2010, the established hop-pushers took their cue from the States and started putting out Black IPA’s – many of which were sensational. Most of the others were slightly hopped-up porters, but that’s semantics for you. I wondered at the time what the next IPA trend would be, and as Imperials and Double IPA’s began arriving, it looked as if the abv wars would escalate.
Now, however, things could be going the other way. To some extent, it could be seen as natural progression. You take a style, brew it, then go a bit bigger, then a different colour, then back to the first colour but make it a lot bigger, then the second colour but bigger, then add cloves at wintertime.* From there, return to the starting point, and there’s only one way to go – smaller. I’m sure people like Rich and Stu at Magic Rock give it a tad more thought than that, but after the plethora of US-style Pale Ales and IPA’s released on keg here in recent years, lowering the abv and returning to the session has a neat sense of full-circle closure about it.
* I am available for hire as a brewery consultant, incidentally
Beers like Magic Rock’s Simpleton, Kernel’s Table Beer and BrewDog Blitz all have some thought behind them, unlike many of the 2.8% duty killers that were rushed out in response to the Treasury lowering taxes on low-abv beers. They will all attract a lower rate of duty, however, so in many respects it makes sense for breweries to add a 3%er to their lineup, if they don’t have one already. If more modern, keg-forward breweries do so, and drinkers get a taste for them – IPA LITE could become the trend for 2013. Session keg, anyone?