November 6th, 2022
Written by: Paule Gosselin, columnist for Bière et Plaisirs magazine and author of the blog La Fleur du Malt.
The craze for quality microbrewery beers continues to grow. What are the big craft beer trends for 2023 and what are they driven by?
The Pale Ale trend
Gone are the days of intense and bitter American IPAs – today’s connoisseurs seek out more subtle, nuanced experiences with their beer. Low-alcohol brews provide a platform for discerning drinkers to appreciate each hop variety in all its vibrant glory; whether it be citrusy Citra hops or raisin notes from Nelson Sauvin, Pale Ales make these flavors come alive without overshadowing them with strong alcoholic content! In the same vein, brewers are also producing a large number of nanoIPAs, even beers below 0.5% alcohol, a trend that is expected to increase in the coming years.
The use of native fruit in brewing
In 2023, local breweries are heating up with a new trend: incorporating native fruits into their microbrews. With the help of skilled brewers, these brews capture and express the unique flavor of each region – making every sip an unparalleled taste adventure!
One can think of chicoutai, pimbina, red currant, black currant, saskatoon, sea buckthorn, camerise or cranberry, as well as rhubarb or raspberries, as long as these fruity additions come from the vicinity of their brewing location. The use of these juices, which was previously unknown, is especially popular in microbreweries when coupled with the gourmet table. The result is a rewarding association for the consumer, who discovers a variety of local products and whose taste buds are sure to be delighted. In local breweries, these indigenous ingredients can be found in sour beers, goses, white beers, saisons and some blacks. Generally, brewers freeze these native fruits or berries at maturity when they are at their fullest flavor. This freezing process allows the fruit to release all of its moisture, all of its water, all of its juice; and therefore, all of its flavor!
The search for the perfect barrel-aged beer
For beer aficionados, hunting for that special hare-to-find microbrewery Stout is practically a sport. With each sip of perfection comes the thrill of discovery and satisfaction – all without having to leave your chair!
The maturation of a certain part of a brew in barrels attracts the consumer, tempted by the experience of a different beer, matured, ennobled by the passage in barrels. This can be a woody barrel aging such as oak or maple wood, as well as a barrel aging that has contained different wines or spirits. Among the most common refinements, aging in Chardonnay or Riesling barrels, for example, or in bourbon or rum barrels for strong spirits. The final versions of these craft beers become rounder, and more complex; they are ultimately richer, and denser and offer the consumer a more complete taste experience.
Other micro-trends are adding to those mentioned above: we are seeing more and more Grape ales, where the grape is at the center of the creation. We are also seeing more beers that merge with the world of cider. In addition, the use of highly aromatic hops is tending to overtake the use of hops as a bittering agent. Along the way, I continue to taste everything and I will come back to you very soon with more observations on the fascinating world of craft brewing! To be continued!
Paule Gosselin, columnist for Bière et Plaisirs magazine and author of the blog La Fleur du Malt.