I love craft beers, but enough with the IPAs!

I personally prefer my beers under about 15 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). As such, IPAs are definitely not my thing… but don’t tell that to my brethren here in the South! Apparently the more hops you can stuff into a beer, but more awesome it must be! Apparently this is a bit more regional, as I was with a group of friends of friends at a local watering hole, and as I’m more beer inclined then most of my friends, someone asked what I recommended that was local. I asked what he liked, and with much bravado, he declared he liked hoppy beers (thinking about it, I think the only terms he knew for beer were ‘hoppy’ and ‘it’s craft beer!’, so maybe I should have gone easy on him). Taking him at his word, instead of recommending Sweetwater’s 420 (which is quite hoppy) or Red Brick’s Laughing Skull (which is more balanced) I suggested Terrapin’s Hopsecutioner - which has an IBU of 71! He took one sip, went “oh god, that really is hoppy!” and left half the beer there because it was too bitter.

Personally, I like a nice witbier or lambic, but good luck with the sea of IPAs and derivatives stocking the shelves.

Good, but by far the least tasty of the brief run that year. A local brewpub did a tank of stuff I could have sat and happily finished off - the only description I can give it is “imagine a perfectly finished bourbon so mild you can drink it by the gulp.” They’ve never made it since, either, even with a busy rotation. They had four IPAs last time, though (out of about 8-9 current tanks). Sigh.

This is my theory, too. Throw a shitload of hops in there and hope nobody can tell what the actual beer tastes like. But I confess to not liking IPAs long before IPAs became so ubiquitous.


There is no “s.”

I love IPAs (and my first taste of Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught Imperial IPA back in around 2004 was a revelatory experience), but I agree with the OP. I’ve been complaining about this on the board for probably about five or six years now, assuming the tide’s going to turn and brewers are gonna get burnt out on it but, no, not really. That said, in that time, sours have gotten HUGE (much to my delight, as it was nigh impossible to get a sour at a bar here a decade ago, and the only ones I could find at the beer store were a small number of Belgians.)

That said, there are a good number of breweries in this region who are not so IPA focused. Bells, Great Lakes, New Glarus, Goose Island (while most of their 12oz bottled beers are just so-so to me, the beers and remarkable variety at the brewpub are fantastic.)

My main problem is I only need so many IPAs in my life. There must be hundreds to thousands of them out there right now. I don’t want to try a new brewery’s IPA. How many possible variations can there be within the style? I think I’ve tasted pretty much all of them. Give me a good lager. Hell, here’s an idea: how about an OSB, ESB or Mild? (Goose Island occasionally has these on tap at their brewpub.)

I don’t understand how breweries can distinguish themselves from the competition by all focusing on IPAs.

I kind of view the Double/Triple/Imperial/Double-Imperial IPA brewer crowd as being the brewing equivalent of the hot sauce manufacturers who make all those idiotic 2000 SHU sauces out of Trinidad Scorpion and Carolina Reaper peppers. Interesting, but ultimately not something that most people will seriously stick with once the fad’s over with.

There’s no problem with a good IPA though, but in my book, it has to be an IPA and be balanced- BU/GU ratios that are in line with the historical examples. The style is hop-centric, but it has a strong malt backbone from the higher starting gravity as well, which is something that gets lost in many of the double/triple/ludicrous IPA variants.

I’d personally like to see more in the way of the exploration of obscure styles. I’m not a big fan of Goze, but I’m sure glad to see it being brewed. Same thing for Altbiers and various European local specialties.

I’d love to see a more local interpretation of beer styles using local ingredients, but I don’t know if that’s really possible since barley, hops and other grains all have specific areas where they’re grown commercially, and there’s not too much overlap between them.

The best brewing trend that seems to be germinating is craft lager brewing. To me, that’s the pinnacle of the brewing art, especially in some of the lighter styles like Pilsners, Helles and Dortmunders. There’s very little room for technique or ingredient flaws to hide, unlike your darker and roastier, or hoppier beers.

I love IPAs but agree with the OP. They are way over-done and most of them are crap masquerading as horse piss. There is a time and a place for every beer style. I don’t need to have Arrogant Bastard every time I have a beer. Like the OP, a wheat beer is called for on occasion. Luckily, there is a very good local brewery that is cranking out some wonderful Belgian-style beers.

What I really loathe is pumpkin anything. This is the time of year when I just want to take a flamethrower to the next company that puts out a pumpkin-spiced anything.

One of the great disappointments of my local brewpub is that of the 15-20 or so house brews they have on tap at any given time, it seems at least eight are IPAs. I’ll order a couple of sampler flights “everything that’s not an IPA” and the 22 year old bartender who talks in circles and clearly knows nothing about beer will say “oh, you can’t handle a real beer?” Fuck yeah I can “handle a real beer” I drank thousands of gallons of the shit when you were in middle school and I’m here for the variety, not to compete in some “I’m a reeeal boy” contest with all those gnome bearded walking overcompensations at the bar. If I trusted you to recommend one worth drinking I would try it, but they mostly taste like you’ve salvaged a bad brew of something else by dumping in extract.

My wife bought a Sam Adams sampler and it included a beer called Bonfire Blond. It’s not nearly at rauschbier level, but it has a slight smoky flavor I really enjoyed. In typical sampler fashion there are two in the box buried amongst many abominations but maybe you can find a single somewhere. Or maybe you’re more kind to recent Sam Adams off the deep end stuff.

I’m really glad that I’m not the only one thinking this! Don’t get me wrong, a solid IPA has it’s place (great golf course beer), but it’s beginning to overwhelm the market, and push out styles with more subtle flavors and variations. I would love to see more ESB’s, brown ales, porters, and bocks on the shelves, instead of another hopbomb IPA or another Imperial that tastes like rubbing alcohol that’s been diluted with beer.

I also hate to see pale ales being pushed out of the market by IPA’s. When I wanted to brew a pale this summer, I was working with my local brewshop owner to form the recipe, and he asked “Do you want the pre-cursor to IPA type, or a real pale ale”. It’s a shame to see people shying away from pales because they don’t want to get hopped out, when they could be enjoying a really crisp and delicious brew without having their tastebuds sawed off.

Well, if you’re near Austin, give me a call. I’m a fan of sours and we’ve got Blue Owl Brewery here.


Cherry sour stout is now in the house. And this is at the end of the street. Literally.


Any suggestions? I’m thinking Friday might be Flight Night.


Over last spring and summer, I was seeing a lot more pilsners, and now that it’s fall, more porters. Two things that I enjoy, as I am also not a huge IPA fan. I do think we’re going to see a little swing of the pendulum. I’ll be an optimist and say that now that breweries know that craft beer drinkers like to sample new things, they will increase the variety of their styles.

I hope you’re right. Like I said, I thought exactly the same thing about five years ago, and, while it’s changed somewhat, it’s still IPAIPAIPA or BIG BEERS. I was at a pub in Richmond with my dad last week and he was in the mood for something dark. This is a pub with about 50 beers on tap. I look through the menu. Great! There’s about five stouts and one porter. Let’s see … Imperial stout. Imperial stout. Imperial stout. Imperial stout. Imperial porter. Imperial stout. Not one single sessionable stout or porter on the menu!!!

On the plus side, the fact that the term “sessionable” has become more widely known among the beer drinking populace, hopefully things really are changing.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed that the IPA trend has fallen a slight bit here in Atlanta in favor of the Sour beer trend. Sours are all over the place. And I do definitely enjoy a good sour, but some brewers have the same issue with IPAs - making it more and more sour, rather than blending the flavors nicely.

Maybe if you prefer 15 IBUs ;). But 420 is only 41 on the IBU scale.

Not sure where you are, but up here in the northeast this time of year you can get pumpkin-spiced everything, and other than cookies and pie it’s a flavor that doesn’t belong in anything. Especially not beer - nor does blueberry, cherry or apple. Gah.

A local power-tools company has a funny marquee that’s a local landmark. RIght now it reads: PUMPKIN SPICE SNOWBLOWERS NOW IN STOCK. (It helps if you know they’re mainly a Husqvarna dealer, and Husqys are all bright orange.)

I’ve got no problems at all with fruit beers. Cherry Lambics can be quite nice. I wish more brewers would use fruit - actually my local brewer (which in the Atlanta area means it’s only 1 mile away as opposed to 1.5 miles away) just brewed their first IPA, but infused it with a lot of fruit, so it’s actually quite tasty as opposed to ridiculously bitter.

I’ve spent the last three days volunteering at the setup of the Great American Beer Fest in Denver. I moved a lot of kegs. A high number of those were IPAs of some form or another. The other thing I noticed was the number of Sours that are going to be poured this year.

I personally prefer the malty beers, and occasional IPA is nice, but we really need more choices.

Damn, I may have to open a brewery myself!

Yep, I noticed that as well. I’m actually really surprised sours took such a hold recently. Like I was saying, a decade ago I was pretty much the only guy (according to the beer buyer) buying Hannsens Oude Gueuze and Cantillon Gueuze from the local beer and liquor store. None of my beer geek friends could stand the stuff. Now, it’s everywhere. (And that Hannsens is pretty darned sour and funky–I remember reading the tasting notes somewhere that said it had hints of “old gym socks,” “sauerkraut,” and “bung cloth.” No, not the slang kind of “bung.”)

But that’s the drive with these new styles, it seems, to take them to the extreme. If it’s an IPA it’s a hop race. If it’s a stout, how syruppy and alcoholy can we make it, and what flavors of chocolate, coffee, and/or bourbon can we stick in it? I mean, there is certainly a time and place for all that, but I’m tired of the “best beers of the world list” as compiled by RateBeer or Beer Advocate type websites being predominantly topped by Imperials or the heavier Belgian styles. It’s as if there’s no room for subtlety in the American beer geek palate. Now, I’m exaggerating somewhat, I know plenty of beer drinkers who enjoy subtlety and are on my page, but it seems like the maturation process of craft beer drinkers (and I’m guilty of this too) is to discover craft brews, enjoy the new flavors, then get hung up on beers as far as possible away from macrobrews (so, strong flavor profiles of any sort) before, after a few years, getting burnt out and coming back to appreciate more middle-of-the-road brews for every day drinking. At least that’s my theory.

That said, with that sort of mentality, as there still seems to be a strong demand for these types of beers among craft beer drinkers. It’s a bit of an over-reaction to having grown up with American macrobrews and getting away from them as much as possible (although the craft beer revolution has been going on for quite awhile now, so I’m very hopeful that things will settle down as drinkers get burnt out on these flavors.)

On the flip side, I’m happy to see ciders getting a hold in the market, too. That’s another one that was pretty dire about a decade ago, also when I started getting really into ciders and realizing they are not all just alcoholic sugary apple pop. Now I have a reasonable selection at most beer and liquor stores, although I’d still like to see more. And it’s a hope of mine that somebody will rediscover jerkum, which is to plums as cider is to apples and perry is to pears. Not necessarily because I love it (I don’t know…I’ve made it once myself, but have no yardstick for how it’s supposed to taste), but because I like trying new things and jerkum is just fun to say! :slight_smile:

I think you are right that it is an overreaction to American macrobrews. It’s like handing a teenager the keys to a sportscar after you had them learn to drive on a minivan - they are going to try to see how crazy they can go with it. And I think people got so bored of Bud and Coors and Miller that they are trying to push themselves as far away from that as possible, which is why IPAs exploded and why Sours are now doing the same - they taste nothing like a Budweiser.

And while I’m on my rant, what about the distilleries? Do we really need another whiskey? Or even a vodka? The gin I understand. What surprises me is that no one (okay, maybe not nobody, but I haven’t seen anybody) is making clear fruit brandies (palinka/rakija/schnapps) from local fruits. It’s a great Central European (and beyond) tradition. It’s true that they do take a little getting used to, but I love them and I’d think there’s a lot of local fruit that would be suited. In Hungary, palinka was so widespread that many families made their own via the local distillery (Budapest, for instance, had government distillaries where locals were allowed to bring in their own fruit and they’d make it into clear fruit brandy for you.) Or in the countryside, they’d have their own stills. It’s a lovely drink, I think, but maybe I do have Eastern European tastes when it comes to hard liquor. If you’ve ever had slivovitz, that’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about. That’s a clear fruit brandy made from plums.

One of the more interesting things I’ve tasted lately was a distillery out in Williamsburg that make whiskey, but they smoke the malts partially with local apple and cherry wood (Copper Fox distillery). It’s like a peaty scotch, but with a definite wood smoke flavor that makes me think American barbecue. But not overpowering. Finally, someone trying something different! If you’re doing whiskey, I’d like to see more distilleries experiment a little bit with styles like this to give a unique, local flavor profile to them. Their whiskey was nice, but I’d like to see how well a style like this can be done.