Every year, we try and uncover what the next big trend will be in Craft beer. We ask our our industry professionals to predict what they think is the next big trend, and last year they came up big, calling out Sour beers, Milkshake IPAs & New England IPAs, all of which have all been immensely popular this past year. While we haven’t seen the return to classic styles as much as some predicted, each prediction more or less suggested, drink better beer, something I think we’ve all latched on to.
Let’s see who has access to that elusive crystal ball this year.
Craft brewers will always test the boundaries and be innovative with their offerings. Our customers will demand that of us. As we push to the edge, our customers are also asking us not to forget the simple and easy drinking. Sales, popularity combined with the latest beer releases for the pending warmer season, demonstrate a foray into the artful development of lagers and lighter ales. Always a need for a crushable beer over the BBQ, right? That said; look forward to further IPA development. Remember the bitter hop bombs? After that came the milkshake, leading to the NEIPA to now the Brut. Next, repeatable and juicy I would bet. Traditional beer styles will not disappear, but future lines will blur, as experimentation with different ingredients continue: a deeper dive into juice, cider and wine blending with a focus keeping things refreshing and juicy. With the appreciation for fine brewed coffees surging watch your local craft brewer find a way to blend with your favourite cold beer. Strides in culturing new yeast strains have been made of late and continue, look for natural and spontaneous fermentation, balanced sours and did someone say pass the mushrooms? Embrace the flora.
— Dave Beifuss, Kame and Kettle Beer Works
There seems to be a return to classic more traditional styles bubbling under the surface. We are seeing more and more very well known breweries put out extremely well crafted Pilsners that are true to their European roots. There seems to be a real push towards low ABV options as well. Sours are still hot, especially with interesting fruit additions, and the IPA trend is becoming extremely mainstream.
— Stephen Cimprich, Merchant Ale House
Lagers. Clean, crisp, easy drinking lagers. I think we will see lagers explored differently than a tradition lager. We’ll see dry hopped and fruity ones, and lagers infused with out-there adjuncts – a move to something a bit gentler on the pallet but still interesting. Although, I think the sours game is still quite strong, and will be hanging around for 2019/20 too.
— Kate Brzozowski, Silversmith Brewing Company
I mean the two most obvious beer trends are sours and hazy pale ales. I don’t see either of these going away any time soon but I think they have both established themselves enough to be more than trends. You could say the real trend is the death of more traditional beers.
— Zack Gagnon, Brimstone Brewing Company
In southern Ontario specifically I think one of the biggest trends could be the shift from the 500mL bottling format to 473mL and 355mL cans.
— Greg GnyŚ, Counterpart Brewing
IPAs! Like Rock and Roll, they never die.
— Eric Martin, Taps Brewhouse
For us, we’re excited by natural Radlers made with just beer and pure juices. No sugar additives. In the Fall and Winter we think pure natural beers will always trend. Styles will trend but I think those who drink craft beer are more aware of what beer is actually all natural and actually made by hand.
— Wolfgang Guembel, Lock St. Brewing Company
I think the trend of more sessionable beers will continue in 2019/20.
— Conrad Davies, Breakwall Brewing Company
Sour beers continue to gain popularity in Ontario, and it seem like more and more people are discovering them each day. These beers have an intentional acidity to them, making them extremely refreshing and excellent for pairing with food. The term sour beer can cover a vast array of flavour profiles, just like IPAs can come in a vast array of bitterness. With all our beers, the goal is to always to provide balance. We aren’t out there trying to make the most moth puckering sour – we want the acidic character to be present but not overpower the other flavours and aromas of the beer. Along those lines, we make what’s called a mixed fermentation ale that uses our house culture of yeast, lactobacillus, and brettanomyces for a tangy and approachable acidity with nuance and complexity.
— Vanessa Cheng, Bench Brewing Company
Lower ABV / higher flavour beers or beers to style with character. It is what our students are brewing, they tend to be great barometers of what the industry is doing or will be…
— John Downing, Niagara College Teaching Brewery
German lagers. We have always followed trends of the U.S. and lagers are becoming more popular there, specifically German styles. With the still growing number of breweries we are competing with each other more and more for the “craft” beer drinker and there are only so many of them to go around. Lagers are a good way to attract less adventurous beer drinkers and if well made with some good flavours still appeal to the “craft” beer drinker.
— Mike Lyons, The Exchange Brewery
Craft beer drinkers beginning to navigate through all the “noise” and finding their way back to well balanced, “go-to” brews for everyday drinking.
— Cian MacNeill, Niagara Oast House Brewers