The craft beer industry has a problem, according to beer writer Adrienne So: We’re so addicted to hops that we don’t even notice them anymore.
Although they make up a small proportion of the ingredients used in beer, hops command the vast majority of the industry’s passion. Beer geeks have an intensely emotional relationship to hops. We wax poetic about the differences among varieties: the mildness of the Saaz, the bright tang of the exotic Sorachi Ace.
Not all craft beer is hoppy. There are many craft breweries that seek to create balanced, drinkable beers that aren’t bitter. Among the non-hoppy yet complex and delicious American craft beers available are Widmer’s hefeweizen, New Glarus’ cherry and raspberry beers, and Full Sail Brewing’s Session Lager.
But there is some truth in the stereotype that craft beer is hoppy. And while some craft brewers use hops to distinguish their creations from mass-market brands, others rely on the hops’ strong flavor to disguise flaws in their beer.
Considering consumers can’t even taste hops’ nuances above a certain point, beers overloaded with hops are a pointless gimmick. So craft brewers might consider focusing on the many other wonderful aspects of beer.
Read the full Slate article here.