More IPAs, less alcohol: craft beer trends for 2018

Beerista: For one Irish brewer, next year will be all about ‘having more fun’ with beer styles

In 2018 Wicklow Wolf will brew a brown bread stout, a gin beer, a kettle sour and some Brett ales

In 2018 Wicklow Wolf will brew a brown bread stout, a gin beer, a kettle sour and some Brett ales

 

Expect to see more IPAs on the shelves in 2018, says Kevin McKinney of Third Barrel Brewing in Dublin. While last year was all about the cloudy and juicy North England IPA, this year there may be a resurgence in clean and hoppy, old-school bitter IPAs, reckons McKinney.

“The IPA umbrella is going to get wider with some clear and dry, some dank and hoppy, and plenty of variations,” says McKinney. “But they’re always going to be up there as best-sellers – once drinkers get a flavour for hops, they’re hooked.”    

Third Barrel will be brewing a pilsner lager in early 2018 – another style McKinney reckons will be increasingly popular amongst craft brewers this year. Brett beers will also become more widely available, he says, with more experimentation on the Belgian style.

Claire Dalton of Dungarvan brewery in Waterford reckons there will be a “back to basics” approach for brewers in 2018, with less of a focus on extreme beers. “There’s only so much of big flavours – like in double IPAs or sours – that people are willing to try,” she says.

Claire Dalton of Dungarvan brewery in Waterford reckons there will be a “back to basics” approach for brewers in 2018
Dungarvan Brewery's selection of craft beers

Although Dungarvan will continue to do their smaller batch, experimental styles, like last year’s Hibiscus IPA and Thai Wit, Dalton says, “I think you’ll see more sessionable beers and solid beers [in 2018] that people can return to.”

For Quincey Fennelly of Wicklow Wolf, 2018 is all about “having more fun” with beer styles.

“We’ve been busy building our core range of beers,” says Fennelly, and by the end of 2018 they hope to have their second brewery up and running, creating greater capacity for experimenting with styles and smaller batches.

In 2018 Wicklow Wolf will brew (amongst others) a brown bread stout, a gin beer, a kettle sour and some Brett ales. “Once you have your core range down it’s about entertaining people,” says Fennelly. “I always say us brewers are really in showbusiness.”

@ITbeerista

beerista@irishtimes.com

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