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March 28, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Beer Will Be Beer – The End to Mega-Hop Brutalism

Mega-hoppy ales appear to be the “beer du jour” for most beer geeks but I, for one, am looking forward to the day when new malt-balanced lagers and ales are released onto the taps and bottle store shelves.

My change of heart occurred nine months ago when a number of NZ breweries launched new aggressively hopped beers into a market that was already well supplied with the style.
These beers included Tuatara APA, 8 Wired Tall Poppy and the Yeastie Boys’ Monster beers. They were all well brewed and definitely flavoursome but it seemed the brewers were shunning malt-rich styles in favour of aggressively hoppy numbers for their new releases. Along with these fine New Zealand beers, several imports, such as Lagunitas Hop Stoopid and Sierra Nevada Torpedo, were becoming more available. Being a budding beer-geek, I tend to seek out the new releases that hit the market. At the moment it seems to be a never ending supply of hop-focused beers.

The retailers of Regional Wines, Malthouse and Hashigo Zake will confirm the popularity of mega-hoppy styled beers but perhaps we have had too much of a good thing and it’s time for the market to correct. Fashions change and adapt with the needs of the people. Brutalist architecture was all the rage through the ’60s and ’70s but has refined in later years to become Structural Expressionism. The best parts remained while the excesses and atrocities were jettisoned.

It’s hard to lay any fault with the brewers and retailers who are supplying the market of mega-hop-heads. The rise of malty and hop-balanced beers needs to be lead by consumers. It’s time for us, the punters, to tell the brewers and retailers that our flavour needs have changed. Malty winter warmers may well be back on the New Releases menu soon.


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  1. Martin says:

    Why does the debate have to be polarised? Why can’t we, the punters, like both hop-focussed beers AND malt-focussed beers?

    “our flavour needs have changed” – mine haven’t. I still like the luscious tropical fruit aromas and flavours of 8Wired HopWired, and the burnt-caramel lusciousness of Yeastie Boys Hud-a-wa’.

    Why does there have to be (engineered) conflict? Can’t we all just get along??

  2. Brendon Mackenzie says:

    Martin, my contrariness knows no bounds. In a week’s time I shall be asking for more hoppy beers.
    No polarising intended. Just a rallying cry to other like-minded consumers who wish to see more malt-focussed beers being stocked on taps and shelves.

  3. Stu as "Stu" says:

    Sneaky Martin, very sneaky indeed…

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