Here’s the last of the year end/beginning posts and this one looks forward to 2011 and all that it might bring. I’ve already listed the breweries I think will be important (and others have added their thoughts, too), but what else is there?
What beer style will be big this year? Black IPA was the newcomer with the fast ascent to A-Lister of the beer world in 2010. But will it stick around for 2011 and what else will be there? The breweries who are getting people talking aren’t afraid to use hops and this will have a knock-on effect throughout the beers, so I hope to see a few more hops being used. We might see some more adventurous sub-5% brews, which would certainly be welcome. John Clarke suggests in the comments to this post that black and tans or blends could be an emerging trend. What about Belgian styles done in Britain – saisons, dubbels, quads? Zak notices that they are on the wane but what if we see British interpretations?
I think seasonals and one-off specials will also become more important and that’s where the bigger ABVs will come in – look at Marble’s larger bottles, for example. It’ll be about seasonal weather changes as well as experimentations with ingredients and style. This is already happening but hopefully it'll get better and people will understand the significance of seasonality.
Collaboration will be a bigger thing. It’s been happening for a couple of years but it should get bigger and better with more breweries linking up with each other or with bars or local businesses.
Kegs and cans... why not?! There are now bars willing and able to sell these beers to drinkers wanting to buy them, so I’d like to try more kegged UK ales, but only if they are suited to it – big, hoppy beers, yes; brown bitters, no. When BrewDog can Punk IPA then I will buy a lot of them. I hope that experiment works well... Will others follow? Not yet but maybe in time.
Thornbridge’s lager: I really want to try it.
Personally, I’d like to see more collaborations in beer blogging, whether on mass blog projects or in those arranged by individuals. Things like The Session are great (even if I don’t take part very often – I will now!) or Why Cask Ale Rocks. Beer blogging needs to be fun and engaging – who wants to read something dry and boring? – but it also needs to be relevant to people. And here’s a promise: to read and comment on other blogs more. I do read all the blogs but I get slack on commenting. This will change. It’d also be great to see comments from more readers as this is where blogs live and die.
Personally, I’ve got quite a few goals. In my mind I’ve got a figure which I’d like to earn from writing about beer; on my desk I’ve got a list of all the places I want to visit to drink beer (the two join up somewhere in the middle, hopefully. The list includes: Czech Republic, Rome, Copenhagen, Bruges, USA... anywhere else?! Plus a number of UK places). I want to brew more beer and learn more about that. I also want to spend some time behind the bar and learn some cellarmanship skills. I want to learn more about other drinks, especially tea, wine and whisky. And of course, I want to drink more great beer and discover new breweries.
What’s in store for 2011? What styles of beer will we see more of? Who would you like to see collaborate on a brew? What do you want to see from a beer blog?