Creating New Beer Styles

New Beer Styles

New Beer Styles

Craft brewers are always pushing the limits of what a beer can achieve, it’s one of the very reasons I love it so much. I enjoyed a coffee sour beer from Crate brewery recently at a beer festival and myself and my friend are still talking about it. I had the pleasure recently of listening to a presentation from Alex Barlow on New Beer Styles and noted some of his thoughts which I found very interesting

So what’s new in beer?

Everything it seems…..

  • Innovative Ingredients
  • Additions
  • Packaging & Packaging Processes
  • Styles
  • Names

But also it could be argued nothing has changed…..

  • It’s the same big 4 ingredients and beer has always been innovated and developed, whereas there was limited beer styles in the 80’s nowadays its very different.

 What is a beer style?

  • Re Exploring Old Beers
  • Brewing with More
  • Brewing with less, e.g Gluten Free and low abv beers
  • Blurring Boundaries and creating new styles

So What is Beer?

A non distilled fermented extract broken down into three families’;

  1. Ales
  2. Lagers
  3. Mixed

This is turn is then sub divided into many beer styles, modern beer styles are influenced by their historical predecessors which are influenced by;

  • Different Countries
  • Wars & Taxation
  • Changing Tastes & Experiences
  • Foreign imports, marketing and advertising
  • The Craft Beer Scene has always been about innovative trends and styles evolving and will always be so

How do you define a beer style?

  • Ingredients
  • Techniques
  • ABV
  • Colour
  • Bitterness
  • Clarity

Re Exploring old beer styles…..

So How do we reinvent and evolve old styles, lets look at the styles…

IPA’S – Ever popular but there has been branching off of the style to include the following, British IPA, American IPA, Double IPA, Session IPA, New England IPA, Fruit IPA, Black IPA

Lagers – Traditionally adhered to Czech & German Styles but now we are starting to see dry hopped lager, Let’s not forget that to Lager means to store and that the maturation and carbonation are fundamental to the balance of the lager. Lagers generally have a more subtle flavor but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be adapted

Continental Ales – Geography but are generally traditional Belgian & German Styles, for example Hefeweizen, Wit, Blondes, Dubbels and Triples. Lots of variables including different yeats, malt and hops. New World Twists on Old World Beer Styles

Sour Beers – Lots of differnet sour types and experimenting is taking place with mixed fermentation. There is kettle sours like Berliner Weisse & Gose or Barrel aged sours like Oude Bruin or Flanders Red. Some brewers are even using spontaneous fermentation in coolships

Historical Styles – Some are totally dropped out of fashion like Gruit, Koyt, KK, Grutzer, Kottbasser

There is lots of new beer styles but the session IPA appears to be on trend.

Brewing with More…..

 There are lots of this going on, for example brewing with Fruit.

What Beer Styles to add fruit to? Belgians, Spontaneous, Saisions etc

When and How to add fruit? Mash, Kettle, During Fermentation or Post Fermentation

What format to add fruits? Whole, Raw, Chopped, cooked, puree, juice, essence, flavouring

Considerations when adding fruit? Be aware you will be adding fermentable fruits and becareful of the flavor intensity. Adding fruit to beer can also affect the colour, haze and stability and fruit oils can impact on head retention also.

Herbs & Spices are another option for brewing with more, they can in theory be added to any beer style and they are usually added in the Mash or the kettle.

Brewing with Less…..

Gluten Free Beer “Gluten is a mix of 2 main proteins (Glutenin & Glindin) found mostly in wheat but also in barley, rye , spelt etc”

There is two methods in producing a gluten free beer;

  1. Alternative Grains
  2. Altered proteins using terminal protease enzyme

Alcohol Free Beer is made using two key methods;

  1. Limited attenuation which is cheaper but it can be less reliable and have an unbalanced flavor
  2. Vacuum Distillation which is an expensive process to remove the alcohol

Blurring Boundaries & Creating New Styles…..

Ale/Lager hybrids

Souring & Barrel Ageing nontraditional styles

Confectionary beer, think chocolate bars, old fashioned sweets and puddings

Meat Beers, think Bacon etc

When blurring boundaries with beer styles there is a lot of considerations & implications…

Flavour Balance is key, just be aware of appropriate addition rates and consider the negative impacts some additions might have

Maybe as a brewer your going to create a new style and you’ll have pioneered the next trend setting beer, creative and passionate brewers continue to make the craft beer industry and exciting place to work within.