2017 is over. Long live 2018!

Like every year we asked our friends about their last year and prodded them for some foresight into the next year. Considering how varied this “beer thing” is, it’s no surprise the answers were equally varied. However, looking through the answers, it becomes crystal clear that one topic moved our friends, it itself being rather murky though. So, before we head any deeper into 2018, let’s quickly have a look back.

What a year! And what a time to be a beer lover. But when you take online meme aggregators as a barometer for the people’s mood (and who doesn’t), people are happy 2017 is over.

As grisly as 2017 might have been, there were also reasons to be happy. Switzerland still being in a nascent state, many were pleased about the growth of breweries, the growth in numbers of breweries as well as bars and stores – or as Kouros of La Nébuleuse, a brewery that will do a huge expansion in 2018, writes “To see that so many breweries are expanding in Switzerland is a great sign that the craft beer industry is still growing its momentum!” Van of Gigantic from Portland, where the “scene” is in a completely different stage, puts all this growth into perspective, however: “Having lived through the first brewery gold rush of the 90’s, I wonder how long this will all last?” In a chicken or egg scenario, growth either begat “the normalization of modern beer”, as Stu of Yeastie Boys contently calls it, or the normalization leads to growth.

Cans also made people happy, like James of Braukollektiv, Alexander of Nine Brothers and our fellow Wortspieler and brewer at aabachbier Chris. Tom of Brew By Numbers tells how they put their Double Dry Hopped (DDH) pale ale into 500ml cans and it sold out in two days. Thus he concludes: “Have to buy a canning line now!!”

Furthermore, our panel agrees that Good Beer Hunting is a website worthy to read, Extravaganza and Wortspiele are cool festivals to attend, maybe due to a bit of a UK-tint in our panel (but none the less deserving), Burning Sky is one of the panel’s favorite breweries and Swiss people are excited about the sour beer brewery À Tue-Tête.

To haze or not to haze

There’s no other topic that split our panel as much as hazy beer or NEIPA, it getting as much praise as complaints. This whole discussion is taking over a good chunk of the dialogue, so much so that Sam of Beavertown finds the whole “haze/no haze blah” rather annoying.

Darron of Siren was irritated by “the sudden swing from this isn’t clear enough to this isn’t hazy enough to taste good”, which is mirrored in Van of Gigantic criticizing the equating of haziness with quality: “There is more than one way to make a beer delicious.” Actually, Stuart of Magic Rock even specifically bemoans all the off-flavors in NEIPA, while Roger, first Swiss beer sommelier champion, thinks that the Mikkeller Beer Club has reached peak haze.

On the other side are many that love NEIPA – including Mike of Lervig (and we ourselves love his “Tasty Juice”). He, however, mentions a development that takes the whole “drink fresh” hype to an extreme, thus he’s annoyed by “bars who won’t sell an IPA if its 3 weeks old and they know there is a fresher one and want to return the 3 week old IPA for it”. Praise for haze you find both in general, like by Bierversuche’s own Jan or Tobias of Hopfenshop, but also specifically in combination with a beer, like when Chris of WhiteFrontier praises Monkish Foggy Window, Fabio of Broken City mentioning Sixpoint Smoothie IPA or Andy of Partizan elevating BBNo’s DIPA above all others, while showing love for Cloudwater and Trillium.

Furthermore, people apart from Roger were really pissed off about the Swiss Beer Awards, Switzerland bid farwell to craft beer pioneer Erzbiershof, we think there was not enough hate expressed for boss-pours, we here at Bierversuche both love and hate Session beers and everybody seems to love sour beers. Maybe a bit cheekily, Katie of WhiteFrontier declares koelships to be an annoying hype, saying: “Everyone and their dog has one.”

It’s only beer

“It’s beer. We’re not turning lead into gold” says Van. True, unless your trade is beer? At the same time, when you’re working in beer, your thinking is focused on more than just the liquid result, but also all the intricate means it takes to get there. You can find a lot of woes of brewers in the postings, may it be paperwork (Fabio of Broken City), hop contracts (James of Braukollektiv) or how hard it is to place beer in bars and restaurants (Fabricio of Totally Beer). On top of that people dread the current political and thus economic uncertainty of Brexit (Tom of BBNo) and Trump (Raphael of Trois Dames). Maybe a bit more concrete, our panel also dreads scooping fruit out of our foeders (Troy and Danny of Crooked Stave), as well as sandwiches with rogue pickles (David of BFM).

But let’s not end this post with such dark thoughts. Instead, and here Raf of Bokkereyder is probably speaking for all of us when he answers the question what he’s looking forward to in 2018 with the simple while seemingly thorough: Beer.

Links to the answers:

  • Alexander Wenger, nine brothers
  • Andy, Partizan Brewing
  • Chris Boggess, 3 Floyds Brewing Co
  • Chris “CK” Kneuss, aabachbier & wortspiele.org
  • Chris Treanor, WhiteFrontier
  • Christian, bierversuche & wortspiele.org
  • Darron Anley, Siren Craft Brew
  • David Bonjour, Hoppy People
  • David Santiago, Brasserie BFM
  • Fabio Colombo, Broken City Brewing
  • Fabricio Ataide, Totally Beer
  • Fredrik Ek, Brekeriet
  • Harley Williams, Unterbad Brewing
  • James Tutor, Braukollektiv Freiburg
  • Jan (aka: Beerlabeled), bierversuche
  • Jan de Ruijter, El Caballero Brewing & wortspiele.org
  • Jérôme Bon-Chien, Brasserie BFM
  • Julien Brändli, Brasserie Cinq 4000
  • Kägi, Craftbrew.ch
  • Karin, Barfuss Brauerei GmbH
  • Katie Pietsch, WhiteFrontier
  • Kouros Ghavami, La Nébuleuse
  • Marcel, bierversuche & wortspiele.org
  • Matthias Jäggli, Les Garçons
  • Maxime Descloux, Brasserie du Lance-Pierre
  • Mike Murphy, Lervig
  • Oliver Martini, 4655 Brewing Company
  • Olivier Vurchio, Biercafe Au Trappiste
  • Patrik Feller, Brauerei Strättligen Bier
  • Philippe Corbat, beer hunter
  • Raf, Bokkereyder
  • Raphael Mettler, Brasserie Trois Dames
  • René Bühlmann, Brauhuus 531
  • Roger Brügger, Brygger Øl, Schweizer Biersommelier (CH-Meister 2015)
  • Roland Singer, Verein Interessierter Bierbrauer
  • Sam Millard, Beavertown Brewery
  • Sepp Wejwar, wegro Institut für Bierkultur gmbh
  • Silvia Herzog, Brau & Rauch Shop
  • Stefan Hahn, Getränke Hahn AG
  • Stefi Küttel, hako
  • Stu McKinlay, Yeastie Boys
  • Stuart Ross, Magic Rock Brewing Co
  • Thomas Schneider, Beerhunter (ttt)
  • Tobias, Hopfenshop.ch
  • Tom Hutchings, Brew By Numbers
  • Tommie Sjef Koenen, Tommie Sjef Wild Ales
  • Troy Montrone & Danny Oberle, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
  • Urs Flunser, UG-BRÄU
  • Van Havig, Gigantic Brewing Company

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