The (short term) future of beer

Celebrated beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones takes part in some time-travelling to see what the rest of 2017 will bring to the beer world

Let’s take part in some time-travelling.

It’s coming close to Christmas 2017 and I’m drinking a beer that is at the cutting edge of British brewing; it’s devoid of Brettanomyces, it’s lacking a lactic edge and its prettiness is defined by what the brewer has done rather than the imp of perversity treading about in an oak barrel. There’s no fruit and veg in the mix, and neither is there anything that says ‘hey look at me, I’m the Timmy Mallett of brewing!!!’.

What is this miraculous beer, this draught of honesty that has heft and weight? Why, it’s a bitter, a beer that shines with the gleam of an aged sideboard, that creaks and breaks bread with the greatest in the brewing land, that has a hymnal of

The (short term) future of beer

Celebrated beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones takes part in some time-travelling to see what the rest of 2017 will bring to the beer world

Let’s take part in some time-travelling.

It’s coming close to Christmas 2017 and I’m drinking a beer that is at the cutting edge of British brewing; it’s devoid of Brettanomyces, it’s lacking a lactic edge and its prettiness is defined by what the brewer has done rather than the imp of perversity treading about in an oak barrel. There’s no fruit and veg in the mix, and neither is there anything that says ‘hey look at me, I’m the Timmy Mallett of brewing!!!’.

What is this miraculous beer, this draught of honesty that has heft and weight? Why, it’s a bitter, a beer that shines with the gleam of an aged sideboard, that creaks and breaks bread with the greatest in the brewing land, that has a hymnal of malted barley and the kind of hops that manage to marry a tangy orange outlandishness and crisp cusp of biscuit-ness; the kind of beer that generations of drinkers will have enjoyed in the past, a place that beer all often sits within, bemoaning its lot, glad to be part of the gloan, adding all sorts of ingredients to the wizard’s pot.

And at the end of 2017, I hazard a guess that an English-style bitter will be one of the beers brewers of all shapes and sizes will be endeavouring to make — finally brewers, whether they use the word craft or not, will remember that the American craft beer revolution was inspired by the cask beers of the UK and decide to do something about it.

"I hazard a guess that an English-style bitter will be one of the beers brewers of all shapes and sizes will be endeavouring to make"

At the same time, the high tide of brewery buyouts in the UK will have waned and drawn back into the outer reaches, though further afield the growth of Spanish, South American and Italian independent breweries will have had a Saron-like eye focused on these developments from the top of the corporate tower of Mount Doom, its baleful glare hiding all manner of intents. The partnership of Mahou with Naparbier and the purchase of Birra del Borgo by Anheuser-Busch will be repeated in Spain, Italy and Brazil (some breweries have already been bought in the past few years).

So in December 2017 while we’re waiting for a drone to deliver the beer we have so carefully chosen online, spare a thought for IPA, which come the end of 2017 will have splintered into so many variants that it will have vanished and the term IPA will have as much meaning as the word craft. On the other hand I could be wrong…