Maybe I've just been hitting the California IPA's a little too hard this summer, but I've found myself suddenly feeling worn out from all the hops. My palate needs a break from the constant battering of perfumey, piney, lemon pithy, and grapefruity flavors. And this has got me thinking: what's next? Is there something new on the horizon?
I recently tried a modernized version of an ancient Egyptian ale at the 21st Amendment Brewery in downtown San Francisco. This was brewed without any hops, flavored only with dates, honey, and herbs. I expected it to be cloying and sweet, but instead found it refreshing, dry, and spicy. A refreshing change from uber-hopped beers, and yet still full of intriguing and complex flavors.
I'll always love a bitter IPA on a hot afternoon and hops as a brewing ingredient aren't going anywhere, but I'd also like to see more beers like this one. Beers made with different ingredients and flavors that push the envelope just as much as the hoppy California pale ales have been doing in the last several years.
What do you think? What would you like to see from craft beers?