I believe there’s a problem with the craft beer audience, which is affecting the craft beer industry. People are more enamored with the idea of craft beer than the actual beer itself. Consumers are blindly and hungrily devouring anything craft without paying enough attention to the actual beer.
The general consensus of the public is that craft beer is the polar opposite of the American Lite Lager. Breweries have been pushing bigger beers, because that is seemingly what the market wants. People are seeking out super hoppy, barrel aged, and beers with the oddest adjuncts, because they are seemingly more craft.
The shelves in any craft beer section speak to this. Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut. Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra. Wynkoop’s Rock Mountain Oyster Stout. Just recently they announced a Walking Dead beer, brewed roasted goat brains.
The problem this causes is that craft beer is moving so far to the extreme that craft beer is losing part of the market. Craft beer should be the full spectrum of the flavor rainbow, but it’s losing the lighter side of things. There is a disconnect between the craft beer available and the palate of a newcomer to the beer scene. The taste of the beer is a turn off to a lot my friends that are having to jump into beer, because there are no small steps to take.
This is not to say these bigger beers should not be made. They are also on the flavor spectrum for craft beer, and people do enjoy these beers. I enjoy some of them myself, but I think the mass of the consumers are drinking craft for craft’s sake, unknowingly shaping the market to one extreme.
There are breweries that do make awesome smaller beers, which I believe are great stepping stones into the beer scene and even great staples once you’re into beer, but they’re not reaching the consumers nearly as much. It’s not just reaching the taps and shelves that count. It’s about getting people to understand that this is also good craft beer It doesn’t make you any less cool to drink a beer that won’t destroy your palate or knock you on your ass after a single pint.
In the end, drink what you like. Cheers!