Recently an amusing blog popped up on biernetwerk.nl, a site I recommend you to follow. The writer posted his biggest grievances in a piece called ‘These 7 beer trends we’d rather see disappear in 2016’ – entertaining and instructive! Kim Lentjes predicted five beer trends for this year on her fine blog genietenmetbier.nl and Sligro’s Food Brigade recently listed their ‘Top Three beer trends for 2016’. Apparently you like lists and predictions, so I won’t disappoint you. In three blogs I’ll analyse these three lists and then I will post my list with what I believe will be hot, and what I hope for in 2016!
First, let’s look at Kim’s predictions: beer in cans will gain popularity, beer at the table will do the same, both consumers and sellers of beer will be more knowledgable about beer, diversity in terms of style will enlarge (less copy catting among brewers) and aging of beer will be more common. Alas: it looks like only one out of five was right…
Beer in can still suffers from a bad image and really without a reason. Particularly because of ridiculous arguments like ‘it doesn’t look good’, ‘I don drink out of a carton either’ or ‘it tastes metallic’ many (beer)consumers refuse to acknowledge the many advantages of a can: superior protection of beer againt light and air, and environmentally more friendly in almost all thinkable aspects. The pro’s on the quality side of the debate will prevail one day, but a lot of sacred cows need to perish first.
Whether or not consumers and sellers of beer have gained knowledge of craft beer remains to be seen. Many consumers still cannot tell a wheat beer from a Weizen, or an IPA from a saison. That’s not necessarilly a bad – it simply proves a lot of good work remains to be done. A bigger bad is the increasing amount of beer connaisseurs rambling and ranting the biggest nonsense on beer – including some ‘established’ names. On the good side: StiBON still sees growth in new students. But: there is still a lot to gain on the knowledge front.
Dutch brewers have a habbit of copy catting each other as well as their foreign colleagues rather than trying to be different. It’s not really a surprise because real creativity is a rare gift. The biggest gain I see is the overall improvement in general quality with new brewers, particularly when it comes to hygene. On the other hand, brewers also follow the cosumer and the consumer still chases the IPA trend – growth in that style has thus not yet reached its peak. Besides: how many Menno Oliviers, Kees Bubbermen and Bert Calkhovens can one country harbor?
Keeping beer cold and dark is a sensible thing to do – thus you guard it from unnecessary decline. Yet not all beers can be aged: perhaps only 30% of all brews can undergo positive changes in flavor as a result of lenghty keeping in a dark and cold space. Most beers still are meant, and at their best, when drank as fresh as possible. So, luckily this prediction has not taken fruit yet.
Beer at the table, on the other hand, has hugely gained popularity! Particularly Food Festivals, pop-up restaurants and all restaurants with under thirty chefs these days have a decent beer menu. That doesn’t mean we’re there: I still believe not having a decent beer menu should be a reason for taking away the third Michelin star. So all of you beerlovers, keep asking for the beer menu, wherever you dine. Be amazed at the end result!