We Asked 15 Brewers: What Will it Take to Knock IPA Off Its Throne?

Nick Hines We Asked 15 Brewers: What Will it Take to Knock IPA Off Its Throne?

3 minute Read

For many people, craft beer means IPA. That makes sense. The style has dominated tap lists and the press about beer essentially since craft beer went mainstream. Which makes you wonder: When will all the hype around IPA finally stop?

I asked 15 brewers to find out.

“Blight? Plague of locusts? It’s a great bold and expressive style that appeals to new craft drinkers who are having their mind blown with flavor and ‘craft pros’ who can tell when a hop ratio is switched between batches. In reality, a lot of industry people seem to like the taste of IPAs but choose to lean toward more sessionable and balanced styles.”— Jon Mansfield, brewery operations manager at Warhorse Brewing Company.

“When Burger King stops adding additional patties to their burgers. Team America is the ‘more meat’ team…and we are also the folks that want a beer so hoppy that you should get a free T-shirt for drinking it.”— John Falco, head brewer at Lincoln’s Beard Brewing Company.

“With the declaration of NEIPA as an official style, we’re looking at another surge for a few years, I think. I’d say in another 3 years the IPA craze will taper off but will still remain a major player in the biz.”— Pete Anderson, co-owner of Pareidolia Brewing Company.

“July 22nd 2019. Approximately 5 p.m.”— Patrick Byrnes, head brewer at Islamorada Beer Company.

“When you guys stop talking about them. Just kidding. IPAs followed pale ales as the most popular craft beer style when this industry was taking off, and with good reason.  IPAs encompass a very flavorful and diverse style of beer.  So they’ll always be here. That being said, brewers are a creative bunch and we’ll find other styles that can offer a broad and complex palette of flavors for our fans to enjoy drinking.  So change will always be a part of this industry.”— Damian Brown, brewmaster at Bronx Brewery.

“Given the popularity of IPA and the trend of calling every hoppy beer an IPA, it will continue to dominate for some time.”— Don Oliver, head brewer at Dust Bowl Brewing.

“IPAs will always be around and I think will stay really popular. We may see a trend of lesser IBUs. But, I think sours and barrel-aged beers keep gaining more and more traction and that’s really where the conversation will start heading.”— Ian Smith, co-owner of Three Rings Brewery.

“IPAs currently represent around 27 percent of the craft beer market share.  They aren’t going away anytime soon.  I do think we will continue to see breweries push the envelope of IPAs.  The New England-style IPA is getting a ton of buzz right now and honestly deserves its own style category.  I also think there will be a resurgence of piney hop IPAs.  Right now the rage seems to be all about fruity hop varieties, but I think there will be a greater demand for IPAs that taste like a forest in the near future.”— Davin Helden, CEO of Liquid Mechanics.

“Maybe when Anheuser-Busch InBev buys all the hop crops available?”— Nicole Carrier, co-founder and president of Throwback Brewery.

“I don’t feel that it ever will. It’s scientifically proven that as we age, our palates migrate and evolve toward bitter-tasting food and drinks. I know mine has!”— Chris Riphenburg, co-owner and head brewer of Ale Asylum.

“People like to talk about the most, biggest, best, highest — and IPA as the highest-selling craft beer style will continue to perpetuate the conversation.”— Larry Chase, brewer at Standing Stone Brewing Company.

“At this point it seems like never. I love IPAs, but they are not the be-all end-all of beer. There is so much more out there to try and explore, but I think there are so many familiar flavors in IPA, citrus, stone fruit, pine that people are drawn to it”— Kevin Blodger, co-founder and director of brewing operations at Union Craft Brewing.

“I don’t believe it will and the category continues to grow.”— Eric Meyer, brewmaster at Cahaba Brewing.

“I think it will be years before that happens, but eventually some new thing will replace it.”— Chris Davison, head brewer at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing.

“IPAs have mostly gone out of the everyday beer drinkers’ conversations, with the exception of articles about the dominance of IPAs. The majority of IPA discussions I’ve come across of late have been think-pieces and listicles about when IPAs will slow down in sales, or when will brewers move past them, or 10 beers that are better than IPAs — but those aren’t really reflective of beer culture as a whole. Hoppy beers will likely be a staple of American brewing for a while yet, just because that’s a main ingredient in beer that has seasonal innovation. Also, customers like them! So, while I don’t believe the beer itself is going away soon, the dominance of IPAs in conversation will end when articles about their impending/necessary demise stop being written.”— Alan Windhausen, head brewer at Pikes Peak Brewing Company.

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