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What beer style will be prevalent in 2017?


Last issue I talked about the craft beer trend in upcoming 2017, this time I would like to talk about those popular beer styles. To be honest, it is really impossible to predict the future, but from my extensive experience of being beer judge, I keep constant contact with all those beer geeks, brewers and trade inside or outside the industry. My estimation is therefore based on the conversation. Sure, IPA has been dominating the market for last several years. IPA drinkers pursuit crazily in hops and those aromas like citrus, passion fruit, lychee as well as the bitter taste imparted. This phenomenon induced brewery to raise the dose of hops inevitably, which in turns led to the creation of Double IPA, Imperial IPA, etc.


Of course, this is a welcomed by some of the beer enthusiasts, but for those who have never tasted craft beer, the heavy flavors of hops is not approachable and it may prevents beginners from another trial. Therefore it is not a wise approach to push it to an extreme without considering the market. I think 2017 will be a year for ‘ hoppy but easy drinking’. I think Session IPA will stand out (session literally means ‘partly’, which implies relatively light), as well as those traditional styles of Germany and Belgium. They used to make balance and drinkable beer without losing complexity. In the past few years breweries around the world had made much efforts in R&D and quality control, and I believe it is now time to broaden the scope of customers. Therefore balance will be a key word in 2017.



Hong Kong craft beer

As for our Hong Kong craft beer, the skills and technologies has reached a certain level after years of effort. Young Master and Moonzen Brewery, for example, has been highly acclaimed overseas, proved by multiple awards in some international beer contests. I think Hong Kong should do a little more in export to promote "Made in Hong Kong" brand. The industry needs to be united and look farther. Try to get the support from the government and let them proud of our beer. The HKTB, HKPC, TDC are some of the associations that we may apply funds from. After all, it’s the sight of the brewery which lead to success. Do not limit yourself in Hong Kong. Potential importers include Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and foreign Chinatowns. All things are difficult before they are easy. But if you do not think a little bit farther, the craft beer industry in Hong Kong will be saturated sooner or later.



上期講過2017年手工啤酒業的走勢,今期想講一講2017年將會流行的啤酒風格。說實的,我不是先知,要預知未來真的沒可能,但我經常出外評審啤酒,經常流年海外及本地的酒吧,接觸的都是手工啤酒的「發燒友」、啤酒業的工作者,甚至乎是酒廠的釀酒師,言談間都可以知道大家口味的轉變,用家的意見,利用這些實際的數據,作為我估計的基礎。這幾年來都是IPA的世界,喜歡IPA飲家瘋狂地追求大量啤酒花,喜歡那柑橘、熱情果、荔枝等的新鮮水果芳香,被那迷人的啤酒花苦味所吸引,這個現象使釀酒廠不斷加重啤酒花的量,什麼Double IPA,Imperial IPA,啤酒花的追求去到一個極點!


當然對一眾手工啤酒狂熱份子來說,這是一件可喜之事,但對於一般未曾嚐過手工啤酒的人仕,這麼重啤酒花的啤酒他/她們未必會接受到,可能會令他/她們卻步,所以若然要令多些人認識手工啤酒,「做大個餅」,首先要令初試的人們不卻步,所以2017年將會是容易入口但又不失風味的一年,我認為Session IPA將會跑出(session的意思是一部份,意指是比較輕盈,輕量級的意思),還有傳統啤酒風格如德國、比利時,這些國家注重啤酒的平衡度和可飲的程度,所以容易入口之餘,又不失其複雜度。我相信世界各地的啤酒廠經過多年來專注於產品的研發,質量的控制後,今年是時候開展更多的新客源,所以平衡度較好的啤酒將會成大趨勢。