About Sour Enthusiasts

NOTE: the professor changed the title of this, but once you click you’ll see what it was called. Very informative, but PGA thought the title provocative and insulting for no damn good reason.-PGA


Within the craft beer community, much has been debated this past year over several pieces addressing the current industry and market obsession with hops. True to the American consuming nature, we do enjoy big and brash over subtle and nuanced in almost everything from automobiles to food to politics to music and film. Driven by West Coast breweries, we lust after the bold, pungent citrus and resin flavors of high-alpha hops, ramping IBUs up past anything considered reasonable by the previous generation of brewers and consumers — who did exactly the same to their predecessors, dating all the way back to the birth of modern craft beer.

To answer this oft-asked question, no, hops and their fans are not ruining craft beer. As a fundamental ingredient in our favorite beverage, one cannot use “too much” hops any more than one can use too much malt or too much yeast. The worth of the resulting product is judged by the craft beer consumer, with a brewery’s IPA commonly their most profitable and largest volume product. No doubt, the amount and intensity of hops included in beers across the stylistic spectrum has increased with the American appetite for new craft beer, and indeed most all our beers produced today are skewing toward the bitter end of the palate. As one who enjoys a good IPA with regularity, such is simply a trend to be acknowledged and not one to fret about as there remains an abundance of less hoppy beers for the consumer to embrace. Hopefully, the highest quality and most balanced beers will win out against excess over time.

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