Food24 beer expert: my 2018 craft beer predictions revisited
Image: Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash
READ THIS FIRST: Find out what SA has brewing for 2018
Pucker Up for Sour Beers
Sour beers firmly established themselves in South Africa’s craft scene. We saw incredible releases from Woodstock, Soul Barrel, Little Wolf, Frontier & Stimela, Fraser’s Folly, Devil’s Peak and Stellies plus many more. Beerhouse even put together a Wild Side Meet the Brewers food and beer pairing event in Cape Town and Jozi which was epic.
Sour beers are fermented with wild yeast and bacteria to create complex flavours and characteristics. It’s nothing new, in fact, it is how all beers probably tasted back in the day but as brewing become more hygienic and predictable, wild brewing fell out of favour. Can I get three cheers for the return of wild beer?!
My pick of the year: Fraser’s Folly - Wild Raspberry
More Awesome Collaboration Beers
Collab beers are probably the best thing about craft beer right now. 2018 saw a huge selection of collabs across every style you can think of. Not only is it exciting for the consumer but it also gives brewers room to play and experiment. We saw cross-country collabs, international collabs and there were far too many awesome beers for me to list.
The best part about them, besides drinking them, is that they create hype in the community and Devil’s Peak did a superb job in that regard. I can’t wait to see what collabs we get next year!
My pick of the year: Saggy Stone & Metal Lane - Citra Nova Brut IPA
The Good, The Bad and The Big Business
Well, well, well it has certainly been an interesting year for the business of craft beer. Jack Black announced their deal with Heineken and joined Big Beer. Devil’s Peak bought out The Tap Room, a craft beer distributor with a huge national footprint leading many to believe that they are trying to monopolise the market.
Whether you think big business moves are a good thing or a bad thing is up to you, but I am sure we will continue to see shakeups in the New Year. On a different note, 2018 also saw the formation of the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa which aims to give craft brewers a bigger voice in the local economy.
Even more NEIPA Haze Craze
New England IPAs boomed and we all benefitted with pint after pint of fruity, juicy hop nectar with minimal bitterness. If overseas trends are anything to go by then it looks like we are in for even more to come in 2019.
My pick of the year: Devil’s Peak - African Queen
Roll Out the Barrel Beers
Just about every brewer worth his hops has a barrel stashed somewhere in their brewery. In 2018, we got a taste of some truly exceptional brews and they ranged from sour beers to stouts and barley wines. Barrel ageing adds tons of character and complexity to a beer but the trade-off is that it takes time. But as a wise person once said, good beer comes to those who wait.
My tie pick of the year:
Fraser’s Folly - Brandy Cask Finish Barley Wine
Aegir Project - Rus Imperial Stout -
Yes, I know this came out in 2016 but I cracked my last bottle this year and it was so good that I am counting it.