I'm interested in seeing how the fight between economics and beer plays out in our pint glasses. I know that prices will climb a bit, but a 50%+ increase in raw materials cost won't result in a +50% end cost... I'm more interested in what is going to get brewed by the guys who just can't get enough hops from their suppliers to keep putting out hyper-hopped IPAs and northwest-style hop bombs.
I am going to guess that low-hopped Belgian styles will come forward, particularly the very low hopped sour ales that intentionally use low-flavor low-bittering old hops. I foresee more herbs other than hops getting used in beers- maybe an absinthe ale bittered with wormwood rather than hops. I foresee old style non-hopped beers from the RenFaire cookbooks getting a chance on the market: nordic juniper beers, celtic heather ales, gruits and such.
The big question is who will succeed in the new market conditions. Anybody who runs across new and wacky products that stretch the definition of beer, post 'em here. It will be an interesting collection, and maybe a good bit of compiling some history while living through it.
I'll start with a beer that fits this model- Dogfish Head's Chateau Jihau. This is a beer from the hop-mad creators of Dogfish Head's famous 60, 90 and 120 minute IPAs that has no hops in whatsoever. It is a very interesting drink, but much more akin to wine or mead than beer. Off-dry, very grapey, not very beer-like at all.
Edited by cdh, 09 November 2007 - 11:39 AM.