The craft beer industry doesn’t want for opinions, it’s a passionate community and everybody’s got a take. So we recently asked our friends in the biz to weigh in on what they thought were today’s most OVERRATED and UNDERRATED beer styles. And here is just some of what craft beer professionals we asked, thought.
Garrett Marrero – Founder, Maui Brewing (Kihei, HI)
Overrated: Fruit Beers – “More specifically fruit beers brewed with no actual fruit. The XYZ IPA being adulterated into 5 different skus by adding “natural flavorings” or “WONF” is out of control. You want to make a fruit beer…. use real fruit! The flavor is better and it’s natural!”
Underrated: Pilsners/Lagers – “Too much focus on big, experimental, or otherwise different beer marketed with a hook. We need easier drinking beers you can drink all day long. Oh and also underrated…. Fruit beers brewed with actual fruit.”
Ignacio Schwalb – Brewer, Cerveceria Barbarian (Lima, Peru)
Overrated: Blonde Ale -“I think blonde ales are just missing some magic, they are easy to drink but not very interesting, kinda boring for me.”
Underrated: Gose – “I love these salty, sour brews. They’re so refreshing and versatile. They go great with fruits too! We need more of these around.”
Hugh Sisson – Founder, Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, MD)
Overrated: Gose – “I just don’t think this is a very good style. I know it’s hot now, but I frankly don’t get it. In this instance, I’m ok with being wrong.”
Underrated: Pils – “Thankfully more breweries are making them – and good ones too. I love IPA’s, but more often these days I just want a good, crisp, clean lager with character. And frankly, this is not an easy style to do well – there is nothing to hide behind!”
Andrew Zender – Marketing Manager, Tallgrass Brewing (Manhattan, KS)
Overrated: IPA’s and Sours – “No doubt there are some truly fantastic beers in these categories, but I think a lot of folks get hung up on these styles and ignore many other great beers in their quests to find the perfect and/or rare offerings.”
Underrated: Brown Ales – “I love the slightly sweet, nutty and rich caramel flavors of brown ales, especially those that get a generous dose of hops to throw a little bitter into the balance. The best of both worlds.”
David Katleski – President, Empire Brewing (Syracuse, NY) & NYS Brewers Association
“I’ll keep it simple…”
Overrated: Fruity IPAs
Underrated: Classic Styles – i.e. Kölsch, ESB, Pale Ale, Vienna Lager, Etc.
Jamie C Smith, Head of Marketing & Brand, Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA)
Overrated: “As far as overrated, I took this as those which continue to trend. Fruit beers have certainly captivated a wide audience in craft, but I think they start to stray away from the purity of beer. Many of these flavors can be accomplished with hops and even malt, albeit subtly, which fruit gels tend to overwhelm.”
Underrated: “Malt forward beers, many of which really started the beer revolution have fallen prey to hoppier styles, but I think what is being done with malts & the flavors that different malts bring to beer are worth another look. It is my feeling that these beers will once again make a triumphant return.”
Dave Coleman – President, 3 Stars Brewing (Washington, DC)
Overrated: Pumpkin Beers – “Maybe these aren’t really overrated because everyone talks shit on them, but they are still really prevalent in the market and people buy them. Nonetheless definitely a style that could go away or get a revamp away from pumpkin spice.”
Underrated: Unfruited Sours – “There is a time and a place for fruited sours, especially when your profile is pointed towards tartness, but there is a lot to be said about achieving that same character without the addition of fruit.”
Isaac Arthur – Partner and Designer, CODO Design (Indianapolis, IN)
Overrated: Gose – “You know what shouldn’t be salty? Beer.”
Underrated: “Well-made ‘lawn mower’ beers, especially lagers. After years of drinking nothing but 1000+ IBU IPAs, it’s kind of nice drinking something milder, that doesn’t dominate everything else you’re doing. You can read a book, grill out, go fishing, or just drink beer for the sake of drinking beer without needing to think too much about it.”
John Verive – Journalist and Beer Writer, (LA Times, Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine, Paste and many others) and Founder of Beer of Tomorrow.
Overrated: North East IPAs -“As a west coast based writer, I’ve watched the tide of hazy “north east” IPAs rise with skepticism. The best examples I’ve tried have certainly been good beers, and the style does fill a gap in flavor profile, but I prefer my IPAs bright, dry and bitter — not “juicy”. That’s not what makes the hazy stuff overrated though. Perhaps this is confined to the echo chamber of internet beer fora and message boards, but the most devoted fans of the NEIPAs loudly proclaim them to be the one true IPA and that every IPA that isn’t “juicy” is just a soon-to-be extinct evolutionary stepping stone to the superior hazy and aromatic sub-style. I’ve even seen many comments that posit that classic American hop cultivars such as Cascade and Centennial are outmoded and no longer have a place in “modern” craft IPAs which should use only the newest and most fruity hop varieties. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the idea that the future of IPA is exclusively hazy is downright wrongheaded.”
Underrated: “Just a couple of years ago I’d have said that German pilsners were the most underrated beer style, but thankfully in recent years the beautifully balanced lagers have enjoyed a resurgence at American craft breweries. Today, pilsners are one of the rising star styles of the craft beer world, but I’d love to see some of the other continental lagers gain the same respect. Beers like the pale export lagers of Dortmund, the fresh and hazy kellerbier, and especially schwarzbier.”
And if you haven’t already checked out INDUSTRY PROS ON THE MOST OVERRATED AND UNDERRATED BEER STYLES you need to.