Will The Future Of Beer Pale In Comparison?
At the end of an old year or the dawn of a new one, it’s natural people become reflective and/or start making predictions. In the beer world, they tend to revolve around numbers (like that we’ll jump from 1,900 to 2,300 breweries by the end of 2012 or that the craft segment will account for 8 percent of the beer category up from 5 percent), trends (like that there will be more celebrated collaborations between our favorite breweries, or BrewDog will do a strong ale aged in a barrel full of monkeys), or business surprises (like that Jolly Pumpkin will acquire MillerCoors or that the new JollyMilloors will roll out a spontaneous-fermented Koelschip version of Chill Lime 64).
It’s hardly going out on a limb to guarantee that for those of us who live, breathe, and oh yeah – drink – these amazing beers, plenty of new brands and styles will delight us in the year to come.
And the one to come after that, Mayan predictions for the end of mankind be damned.
But that’s not the future of beer; that’s the here and now. As I opened my dedicated beer chiller to select my first beer of 2012, I felt as if my extended arm and pinchers were like a roulette ball in search of where to land. Would it be the bomber of a root beer ale, the wax-dipped cinnamon-smoked apple cider, the gold foil-topped oaked barleywine from a teensy batch that many geeks are clamoring for? Nope.
It was none of the above.
It was the 12-oz bottle of Pale Ale that sells for $6 a six-pack. Beer that tastes like beer. The classics. The jeans-and-a-T-shirt of beer styles – pale ales. And don’t tell Ray Daniels, but I’m drinking it straight from the bottle!!
Infinitely more brands of pale ale sell way better than the most vaunted sour beer (it doesn’t take an MBA to understand volume). Sure, the beer I’m having happens to have many gold and other medals to its credit from GABF and the World Beer Cup, but last I checked, those are still auspicious.
It’s a nice reminder the beers that first made us fall in love with craft beer are still delicious.