Studies show that millennials are more likely to crave novel and global flavors. As people come in contact with other cultures more often, their taste buds also seem to expand. This means that heavy, worldly brews such as porters and ales often take a backseat for independent breweries. Instead, young people are leaning more toward IPAs that allow for the integration of a more versatile taste profile. While the older generation craved something dark and deep, such as cherry or coffee, young people lean toward fruity, foreign, and adventurous flavors. Here, we discuss some interesting flavors that are enjoying their moment in the spotlight.
This is the new lime. As everyone must have noticed by now, summer is the time when grapefruit-flavored beers or shandies really take off. Hailing from a small town outside Munich, grapefruit beer can now be found in any good bar or supermarket. It has been made popular by the sunny and balmy environment of West Coast brewing. A popular way of making it is to simply go half-and-half on grapefruit soda and beer. Other brewers use the peel along with the juice to achieve bitterness.
Craft breweries are obsessed with tropical fruits right now. You will find the strangest combinations of tropical fruits and berries that work perfectly well in many IPAs, fresh saisons, and frothy lagers. But the best inclusion right now is definitely mango. Some go all in and add entire mangoes to the brew. Many find that just a hint works perfectly. To make your own signature mango-flavored beer that will go over smoothly in summer, add some aseptic mango purée to the brew.
This is definitely a wild one, but it has inexplicably become quite popular. This flavor profile works well in winter when paired with other homey flavors such as maple, caramel, honey, wheat, and coffee. It may seem like it would be overwhelming, but it stops just short of being that. This is probably because there is no actual bacon added to the brew. The effect is instead magically achieved by using smoked malt, a genius brewer’s brainchild.
You would expect this flavor to be more popular in winter however it goes well in outdoor dining. Chili-flavored beer has been around for a while, making the rounds in craft beer circles. There are variations of these found, some made using habanero, jalapeño, or even ghost pepper. Chili beer can be made using pasteurized peppers, but be careful with the dosage.
Technically, umami is not a standalone flavor. It is the strange consolidation of savory ferment that plays on the tongue when you eat certain kinds of food such as cheese and tomatoes. Some very experimental and brave craft brewers are bringing out umami-flavored beers such as soy sauce and mushroom beers. This one might need a little more time to catch on.
Knowing the taste of the next generation of beer drinkers is important for commercial as well as independent craft breweries. Who knows, maybe some more novel flavors will come out of the experimentation carried out by these trendsetters. After all, if grapefruit beer had not been discovered, summer would have been just a little less flavorful.