What's Overrated & Underrated in American Craft Beer?
We're currently in the middle of American Craft Beer Week, which lasts from May 15 - 21 this year. Given the occasion, I found myself wondering - what is the state of American Craft Beer right now? As I touched on in the blog about beer for non-beer drinkers, I feel like there is a beer for everyone nowadays. With microbreweries popping up around every corner and homebrewing becoming such an accessible hobby, I feel confident that no matter what your niche is, you'll find a beer for your tastes, and not so far away. With so many choices, I wanted to know what people are feeling fed up with, and what they want to see more of. So, I asked the beer fans right here in our office, and here's what we had to say.
Which beer type is, in your opinion, overrated right now?
Saison – Robert
IPAs, especially DIPAs – Josh
IPAs – Pat
Imperial or Double IPAs – Rick
American Macrobrews – Jackson
Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts/Porters/Scotch Ales – Renae
Why is it overrated?
[On Saison] They taste bad. It's like a mixture of a ton of junk from a farm in your mouth. It's just not an enjoyable beer to sit and drink. You should be required to drink a Saison only after a party foul. That would be a cruel punishment. – Robert
[On IPAs, esp. DIPAs] While I love them myself, I feel a lot of people will only drink that style and will not try anything else. I used to be an IPA-only drinker until I discovered a whole world of other tasty beers. – Josh
[On IPAs] I think that many breweries are looking for ways to be different and they use the popular IPA as a means to do that, but I think flavors have ventured into the extreme. – Pat
[On Imperial or DIPAs] It was the first of its kind (DIPA), but now there are many others that do it as well. – Rick
[On Macrobrews] Their money is spent on marketing and buying out their competitors instead of on making a good product. – Jackson
[On Barrel Aged dark ales] I'm a craft beer newbie, and I think the beer world wore me out on these during the fall and winter of last year. The particularly oaky campfire-esque ones don't even resemble beer to me. – Renae
Is there a beer example you'd like to share?
Any Saison is a bad example. – Robert
ANY IPA. Especially West Coast style. – Josh
Hopslam is a great beer but it is not worth $20 for a six pack. – Pat
Pliney the Elder – Rick
Which beer type is, in your opinion, underrated right now?
Sour Beers – Robert
Barrel Aged Beers – M
Pilsners – Josh
Alt Bier – Pat
Cream Ale – Rick
IPAs from Vermont – Jackson
Barrel Aged Saisons – Renae
Why is it underrated?
[On Sour Beers] I don't know if they are underrated, but I would say most people frown on the idea of a sour. I think they are great and a good change of pace from always drinking IPA's. – Robert
[On Barrel Aged Beers] The process and resources are under appreciated. From the type of barrel (spirit, wine, etc) to the fermentation process. It's a patient process that yields amazing one-of-a-kind small batch brews. It's also about working together with regional/local businesses. – M
[On Pilsners] Probably because this is the style of the mass-marketed piss beer most of the country drinks so craft beer enthusiasts tend to stay away from it. But they're missing out on some really great beers that blow those macro brews out of the water. – Josh
[On Alt Bier] I think it is hard to classify and therefore market because it is an ale that has lager characteristics. – Pat
[On Cream Ale] The name implies a creaminess when it really means a clean and crispness. – Rick
[On IPAs from Vermont] West Coast IPAs still hold beer drinkers' attention. WCIPAs possibilities are still being explored due to, IMHO, the great variety of hop characteristics that the style allows. The debate over whether IPAs from Vermont are even a legitimate separate style has held it back also. – Jackson
[On Barrel Aged Saisons] The rich, dark ales like Stouts, Porters, and Scotch Ales always seem to be the top picks for really boozy barrel aging, but I had a gin barrel aged Saison last winter that left me wondering why on earth breweries aren't branching out more. – Renae
Is there a beer example you'd like to share?
Any brewery that produces small batches. Locally, Tombstone Brewing has a great barrel aged program. Pick a city or country, there is barrel aging going on. – M
PC Pils from Founders. One of the best Pils on the planet, IMO. – Josh
Allagash Brewing's Fluxus 2016 – Renae
Any additional comments on the matter?
Breweries who work with locally sourced grains, ingredients, additive are always on my radar. Usually the end results taste phenomenal and impart flavor that exhibits the region. – M
Saisons used to be very underrated, but they've had a significant growth in fans the past few years, which is nice to see because I love Saisons. – Josh
It has become increasingly difficult to find good beers that don't have some funky twist to them. – Pat