Beer trends are hard to track. My most trustworthy sources are the brewers themselves; I'm not able to find published data of Michigan beer shipping broken down by style, so in no way can I be sure that IPAs are the most popular current style of craft ales, with sour beers enjoying some major momentum. I can't be sure, but that's what I've been told by several brewers, and it makes sense anecdotally. IPAs are huge (even in the frozen December, when my palate turns to browns and stouts to protect me from the wicked cold), and sour ales are becoming ever more available. Belgian style beers seem to be riding a wave of popularity as well, no doubt bolstered by Jolly Pumpkin all-sour ale brewery.
The problem, as I alluded to above, is that I have no real desire to drink a hop coated masterpiece in the dead of winter. I do not want the flirtatious scent of banana and clove curled up with me around the fire as the snow pelts the windows and the flames stubbornly chase the shadows into the flickering corners. I want chocolate, and vanilla, and bourbon soaked vanilla beans. I want malt, front and center, sweet and cloying and complex and toasted. I want a beer thick enough that it obscures the fire when I hold it to the light, and a beer with enough alcohol to warm the throat as it goes down. Find me a brewer who can bring me the best of both worlds, someone who could bring the light and refreshing hops flavor and blend it with a warm and inviting brown ale, and that would be a good human indeed.
THIS is what should be trending now. Short's Good Humans ale is a dry hopped brown ale; it smells like an IPA, pours like a brown, and sips like both of them. It has enough hops to impart a refreshing piney scent, and the beer does not feel as heavy or full as a traditional brown ale might. The hops are piney, not citrus, and impart a feeling of crisp snow perched on evergreen trees rather than honeybees grazing on flowers in the backyard.
Behind the hops lie the exact type of beer I would pick for winter – the malt is sweet and caramel, rich and smooth, not toasted but balanced and unassuming. This is a beer I immediately regretted only buying 2 of when Laura and I picked them up to try them.
Short's Good Humans dry hopped brown supplies everything I like about winter with a refreshing kick to remind me that this season won't last forever. If I could pick any type of beer to be trending, it would be the “dry hopped brown ale” category.