Today’s consumers want access to a wider range of products. The last two decades or so have been marked by a global shift in the consumer market for more authentic craft beer. People enjoy suggestions from beer specialists who regularly inform them of the latest ‘must-try’ beer they have in store. It goes without saying that the world of brewing is bustling with creativity. Unique flavours are developed while new styles keep emerging alongside the traditional Lager and Pale Ale. Today there are now almost 200 different styles of beer.
The New England Indian Pale Ale (NEIPA), one of the many styles introduced to the market in the last few months, soon became a favourite for beer-drinkers. While the combination of cereal grains, like oat, with other specific ingredients give it its hazy colour, the new version of the IPA also exudes a hoppy aroma, but this time with a sweeter, fruit-centric taste. Therefore, it greatly appeals to those who prefer their beer to be less bitter.
Retailers’ shelves are now also brimming with sour beers. This beer isn’t a new concept; it belongs to a largely forgotten type of ancient beer, often locally made, and brought back into fashion by pub and restaurant owners. The Lambic, the Gueuze, the Flanders Red Ale, the Oud Bruin, the Gose or the Berliner Weiβe are some examples. With a subtle hint of bitterness, these low-alcohol beers are noticeably tarter if not acidic. With strong fruit notes, particularly citrus ones, sours sometimes bring out a winey and/or a woody aroma and are perfect for first-time beer drinkers. Especially since brewers add unique flavours to their recipes. It is quite common for them to add other ingredients such as plants, flowers, spices, fruits and even vegetables.
MICROORGANISMS FOR SOUR BEER?
The fermentation process for sours is often quite complex and requires mixing naturally occurring microorganisms. The brewing process for sours often involves pitching and spontaneous fermentation, using bacteria (lactobacillus, acetobacter, pediococcus, etc.) and wild yeast (brettanomyces, etc.) from the air or from substrates such as wood.
“Free” and “low” beer
Low-alcohol beer is now very popular. Beer manufacturers are making more and more alcohol-free beers, and craft breweries are following suit. This type of beer is no longer a punishment for the taste buds since the technologies used to make it have increased in number and improved significantly. Here also, carefully selected yeast strains are used to produce alcohol-free beer with sensory characteristics that are much more subtle than before. The same applies for beers with less sugar, or low-cal beers, as well as gluten-free beers made with other cereal grains than malt (e.g. buckwheat or quinoa).
Let’s not forget that the beers of today will inspire the recipes of tomorrow. The range of beers will continue to expand but the great classics will always appeal. Some styles are very on-trend, like Lagers and IPAs and their different versions (Session Lager, Smoked IPA, Imperial IPA, etc.).
Is actually Hard Seltzer a beer?
Those who enjoy Kombucha or other healthy beverages now ‘say cheers’ with hard seltzer. This new type of alcoholic drink made from fermented sparkling water with a hint of flavouring was gradually introduced to the UK and European market during the pandemic. While its classification as beer is still questionable, it offers an alternative to those who prefer gluten-free and low-cal drinks. Which is why the industry is expecting a threefold increase in consumption by 2023.
There is clearly no limit to how creative brewers can be. Supportive of such creativity, Fermentis by Lesaffre provides brewers with a wide range of microorganisms (yeast and bacteria), mixes and yeast derivatives which are used in the production of beer and the development of its characteristics, as well as to add taste, flavour, colour and roundness and fullness to the palate. And we offer technical tips to help them successfully develop their products. One of our other goals is also to help brewers meet the new nutritional requirements of consumers.