Let me be clear. I am now, and have always been, a hophead. I love hops. From old classics like Liberty Ale to Amsterdam’s Boneshaker to hyper-hopped beers like those from Dogfish Head and Stone. Love’em.
Yes, there is a but.
There are many many styles of beer that are fabulous without being super bitter and more floral than my rose garden. And I fear that these beers and styles are being overlooked in the mad rush for ever-hoppier IPA’s. While the classic styles may face little risk of displacement in their home markets, being displaced from the North American market (where the hyper-hop trend is strongest) means reduced sales for these breweries, but also that the NA drinking public will miss out on a wide range of styles and really excellent beers.
So here’s what I do, and feel free to join me. I’m not going to boycott hoppy beers, far from, I will continue to enjoy them, but (and yes, another but…) I will make a conscious effort to by a craft beer of a more traditional style for every supper hoppy IPA I buy. That way when I am sharing beer with friends I can expose them to styles they might not otherwise encounter. So I’ll pick up some Musoka Summer Weiss when I get Mad Tom. Or Mill Street Organic when I buy Amsterdam’s Boneshaker. Or – and here’s the real winner – I’ll pick up a Beau’s Beaver River I.P.Eh. Because even though it’s an IPA, it is more traditional in it’s hopping – well balanced, delightful, and not over the top.
So who’s with me?