Where is craft beer going these days? It’s going in some interesting and sometimes unexpected ways. Let’s look at some of the biggest trends in this year’s craft beer market and what people are drinking, as well as the stylish glassware they’re drinking it out of, including unique craft beer glasses for your bar.
Hard seltzer is a relatively new product that’s taking off for a number of reasons.
These drinks are light, they’re airy, and they don’t have a lot of the extra stuff that can tend to make people feel ill after a wild night. The light, bubbly nature of these drinks and their mild, laissez-faire flavors are part of what drive people toward hard seltzer.
In many craft breweries and micropubs around the country, bartenders like to serve hard seltzer in goblet-style glasses. Here’s our pick: the Libbey Embassy goblet glass, an elegant vessel for your bubbles.
Here’s another trend related to general health and wellness – more people are hopping on the bandwagon and going for no-alcohol and low-alcohol beer drinks, getting the traditional taste and feel of a night out or social drink without the alcohol.
It’s relatively easy to re-create the hoppy or aromatic taste of a traditional craft beer while keeping alcohol volume extremely low. In decades past, “near beer” was seen as a very fringe part of the market and sometimes derided as a gimmick, but it’s gaining popularity, partly for health reasons.
NOLO beers will often be served in traditional pint glasses or similar beer glass types in order to appear the same as “regular beer.”
This one causes a little head-scratching among people who aren’t really tuned into the current drink market.
You could describe ‘functional beer’ as any kind of beer that carries with it a particular health value.
Some of these new beers are made to include electrolytes, to replenish resources that athletes sweat out as they train, for example. Some of these beers have antioxidant value because of their harvested ingredients.
Simply put, functional beer runs the gamut. It’s another trend that’s going on in the craft beer world, as people pay attention to the advice of their doctors, and better living tips that they find in magazines.
And now, for something completely different. The heavy stout is still a mainstay of the craft beer market and especially enjoyable during the winter months.
We like to serve a strong dessert stout in a specific stout class: Libbey’s hourglass, (also good for Pilsner) is a favorite.
In some senses, sours tend to be the jurisdiction of the beer connoisseur – stronger and more esoteric tastes for choosier palates. People who like the above hard seltzer or ‘clear beers’ like macro-brewery standards might not like the sour beer as much, and vice versa.
In keeping with their elegant design and high-class tastes, sours tend to be served in specifically style glasses, like some of the goblets and long stems we talked about with the seltzer crowd.
Unique Craft Beer Glasses: Hazy IPAs
The IPA as a craft beer category is very popular in the craft beer world. The hazy IPA adds some of those ingredients that create that cloudy, heavy look for a carefully designed IPA beer with its own signature taste.
Pour these into a tall boy glass or traditional pint.
In some ways, craft breweries are going back to the drawing board with perennial favorites. It seems the lager will never go out of style with a particular drinking crowd. Again, these regular beers will often be served in the traditional pint glass or lager glass.
Try any of these favorites behind your bar!