Dan over at thefullpint.com expresses his ire at the craft beer industry’s attempts to cash in on the popularity of India Pale Ales with a constant parade of new “styles” and off-shoots. We touched on this in our Get to Know a Style: IPA, and Dan is concerned that core features of an IPA; color, hops, and balance, are not being adhered to by all the white IPAs and black IPAs and hop-free IPAs that brewers are developing.
It does seem as if a lot of these beers are just getting the IPA tag as a marketing ploy, and these not-quite-IPAs probably sell better because they get associated with the most popular craft beer style. But this is a double-edged sword. Brewers risk sowing confusion and alienating customers when they slap the “IPA” label on a beer that is really nothing like a true IPA (Samuel Adams Spring seasonal release White Water IPA comes to mind).
Beer styles may seem like a too-rigid classification system, but they have developed over hundreds of years so that the beer brewer and the beer drinker can easily communicate what is in their glass. If brewers continue to insist on marketing their creative new beers by shoehorning them into classifications that are not accurate the IPA label will lose its meaning. Then how will we know if a new IPA on the shelf or on tap is really a pale, hoppy 5-7%abv treat, or if it is some crazy hybrid beer that, while delicious, doesn’t really scratch the hop-head itch?
Check out Dan’s post on thefullpint.com and let’s hear what you think about beer styles in the market today. Do you feel that you can trust what you’ll get when you try a new IPA for the first time?
- via thefullpint.com