I’ve seen this conversation happen a little more and finally someone decided to write out one of the detriments to the craft brewing industry.
Now, I’m going to set aside the “but the youths” element from that essay-because every craft beer drinker I know, myself included, has looked at a menu, seen something they never saw before and said, ‘that, please’ instead of beers they know and have had before.
And I am no longer a spring chicken. I’ve been legally drinking for almost as long as the craft beer industry has been a thing.
However, I would agree that too many breweries, especially new ones, try to give customers too many options, instead of focusing on 5 or 7 styles and doing them really well.
Are IPAs necessary in this market? Sure. Make two of them, because the demand is there. But is a lager, stout or amber ale going to be unwise? Heck no; those are styles customers, even customers who aren’t incredibly savvy to the beer market, are going to recognize.
That leaves a couple taps left over and there are a lot of options; from seasonal rotators (that means 3-4 months of one beer, so brewers can refine the recipe and customers can get used to the product) to just some different options; hefes or saisons or brown ales. Whatever; just get a set of beers locked in, with some options for the brewers to experiment as well!
This, I want to note, is one reason why I do the “Common Ales” series. Picking up a beer at a Fred Meyer or Safeway means that my options narrow down. Plus, it let’s be come back to beers that are tried and true, so I don’t lose sight of the history.