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Craft beer trends for 2018: Sour beers, New England IPAs and more

Our brilliant beer guru lists a few interesting and exciting beer trends we should be getting on board with this year.

by: Karl Tessendorf | 30 Jan 2018

(image: iStock)

Friends, beer lovers, Cenosillicaphobiacs! It’s time to peer into the crystal pint glass and see what lies ahead for South African craft beer.   

Pucker Up for Sour Beers 

If you’ve ever enjoyed the zing of a sour worm, then there’s a good chance you’ll like sour beers. They’re tart, fruity, often low in alcohol and they’re hugely popular overseas. Sour beers are intentionally soured using wild yeast and bacteria. The brewer controls the amount of sourness and a refreshing, tongue tingling brew is created. It may seem like a new thing but Belgium and Germany have a long history of sour beers styles. If you’re looking to wrap your lips around one of these zesty brews, then try Devil’s Peak It Takes Two To Mango. 

More Awesome Collaboration Beers

Collab beers really took off last year and it’s probably my favourite thing that’s happening right now. They push brewers into new territory and everyone seems to benefit. Brewers get to swap ideas and skills to produce tasty new beers, and we get to drink the tasty new beers. We’re also seeing some breweries like Aegir Project, Darling Brew and Devil’s Peak collaborating with international breweries with some outstanding results. There’s a fleeting aspect to collab beers that beer geeks love, and they’ll go to great lengths to get their hands on them. Try (shameless punt incoming) the Beer Country and Fraser’s Folly Moerkoffie Condensed Milk Stout. 

The Good, The Bad and The Big Business
Craft beer is really hitting its stride and it was only a matter of time before the big beer companies came knocking. They started by launching their own ‘craft’ brands and now they’ve moved onto buying out craft breweries. There are a lot of opinions on the matter, with many being for and against it, but that is a long conversation for another time. In the end, it's up to the consumer to educate themselves and know where their money is going. Expect more shake-ups in the future as craft beer independence takes a knock.  

Even more NEIPA Haze Craze

Imagine the juiciest bite of your favourite fruit and you’ll get an idea of what it’s like to drink a New England India Pale Ale. These hazy fruit bombs burst onto the local scene last year and craft drinkers fell in love instantly. They were like nothing we’d ever tasted, and it’s still hard to believe you can get that much fruit flavour into a beer. NEIPAs are unfiltered IPAs that have been aggressively hopped to give them boatloads of fruit flavour but very little bitterness. The result is a creamy, ultra juicy beer that you’ll either love or hate. Try Devil’s Peak Juicy Lucy.  

Roll Out the Barrel Beers 

Whether it’s wine, brandy, whiskey or beer, wooden barrels have a way of transforming liquid into liquid gold. The wood character seeps into the liquid imbuing it with fragrant notes and earthy tones. When it comes to barrel aging beers, the beer takes on characteristics of whatever was in the barrel to start with. Local brewers have begun experimenting with brandy, whiskey, red wine and white wine barrels. It's new territory for local craft but it will soon become the norm. There’s no reason that an incredible barrel aged beer shouldn’t be right at home next to South Africa’s best wines, brandies, and whiskeys. Try Woodstock Brewery’s Sugarman Belgian Quad. 

Karl Tessendorf is one part of the duo that hosts '
Beer Country', South Africa's first TV show dedicated to beer, braai and the open road.


A beginner's guide to buying Craft Beer

The boys from Beer Country guide you along the way. South Africans are a nation of beer drinkers. It's embedded in our DNA and up until recently, that DNA was firmly in the grasp of the big beer companies. But as the wise Mr Dylan once said, 'the times they are a changin'.

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