I have visited a handful of breweries in the past few months. There is an obvious pattern that has reared its ugly and expensive head with a lot of beers out there, over hopping! I have seen the world of IPAs go from British Bitter to American Alpha bomb to juicy. Each of these interpretations has its own techniques and nuances that need to be adhered to make a balanced and delicious beer. Isn’t that the end goal that we all strive for?
Balance is a term that gets thrown around a lot by brewers. It really isn’t about one person’s opinion but an extensive and critical survey of the market. Beer drinkers do not have the same tastes and expectations in every market. Some markets really like beers that are on the bitter end of balance. Some markets like the sweet. That is what makes exploring different markets so interesting. Brewers have learned to make beer that sells best in their market.
The key to all of this is that malt and hops play off each other in a harmonious dance with the hundreds of flavours at play in beer. Letting more than one flavour contribute to the overall taste profile is necessary in making a palatable product. Beers that are brewed with singularity in mind are missing the objective. I have tasted way too many beers that utilize the most neutral two row pale malt and little else. This neutral base is then subjected to several massive hop charges throughout the process. The result is a beer that is often very attenuated with nothing for the hops to work with other than some ethanol. Hops need malt.
Give your beers some structure to work with. Hops don’t play well on their own. Craft with dimension in mind and your business will thank you.