Beer fans all over the country clamor for the coveted “hype” beer; the latest and greatest from their favorite brewery. Many stand in lines stretching blocks long, sometimes for hours on end. It’s a ritual constantly repeated by the devoted. For some breweries churning out these limited one-off concoctions — from high-ABV barrel-aged two- sipper quitters, to local wild-fermented farm ales, to the endless craze for haze — the highly sought-after suds are their lifeblood.
Some beer purists scoff at the idea of reimagining classic styles — like taking the traditional Berliner Weisse and using unconventional practices to push past style guidelines. (Yes, looking at you, triple berry smoothie sour, a trend that’s both literally and figuratively exploding everywhere. If not produced properly, the unfermented fruit added to create the style can jump-start a second fermentation post packaging, causing cans to explode. Not even a potential hazard can keep fans of the style away.)
Given the adoration for juicy suds, as evident by the market-dominating hazy IPA, it’s no surprise the smoothie sour is currently basking in glory.
What is it about a beer style that captivates crowds and gives way to trends? What makes a beer style so polarizing that commercial breweries have no choice but to meet demand? Are these beers worthy of the glitz and glamour they command because they sell well? Either way, there’s a slew of styles currently giving beer drinkers some serious FOMO.
We asked 10 brewers their thoughts on what they believe to be the most overrated beer style.
The Most Overrated Beer Styles, According to Brewers:
- Milkshake hazy IPA
- Triple IPA
- Pumpkin ale
- Double IPA
- Fruited sour “slushie” beer
- Brute beer
- Unattainable hype beer
Keep reading for details about all of the recommended bottles!
“Triple IPA because I think the high ABV detracts from what makes IPA great. They should be easy to drink.” — Adam Boura, Brewer, Four Points Brewing, Charleroi, Pa.
“I believe that ‘overrated’ beer styles fall in line with what is sometimes referred to as beer fads. It comes in waves and eventually loses steam. Especially the beer styles that have many variations or sub-styles. For example, let’s take your classic IPA. Within this style you have so many sub-styles like the East and West coast IPAs, fruited IPAs, double and triple IPAs, black IPAs, the list goes on.” — Jessica Fierro, Atrevida Beer Company, Denver
“Currently the most overrated beer style is the IPA. No matter if it’s a ‘Hazy,’ ‘New England,’ or ‘West Coast,’ it’s become mainstream for every brewery to produce multiple versions of IPA. I’d argue almost anything could pass for an ‘IPA’ if you just call it such. The style has lost its definition in the current market.” — Israel Arrieta, Brewer, Craftsman Brewing Company, Pasadena, Calif.
“In my opinion the term IPA has become diluted. You have Hazy Juicy IPA, Clear Juicy IPA, West Coast IPA, Double Dry Hopped IPA, Double IPA, Session IPA, Sour Slushie Pastry Milkshake IPA. All of these ‘styles’ are very, very different from each other. The only thing that connects them is they are all heavily dry-hopped. … There are so many really nice beer styles out there that take a lot of time and R&D work to perfect, and nobody drinks them because they aren’t fun and gimmicky.” — Nick Moreira, Production Supervisor, HenHouse Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.
“Double IPA. I appreciate the style for all its splendor, deep flavor, and aroma, including the triple, quad, hazy, etc. However, it goes without saying the profile has been oversaturated.” — Jon Renthrope, Brewmaster, Cajun Fire Brewing Co., New Orleans
“I would like to say pumpkin ales are so frickin’ overrated. It’s clear they’re not going anywhere, because gawd forbid the scent or flavor of pumpkin is stripped from the one type of alcohol that does (and always has been) just fine without it. But no, our Ugg-wearing and Untappd-obsessed brethren demand such an experience in order to feel like they’re basking in the presence of fall. Nothing screams ‘Pumpkin spice rules everything around me” like a pumpkin ale.” — Breeze Galindo, Brewer, Other Half Brewing, Brooklyn
“I would say thick, fruited sour beers or ‘slushie beers.’ I think too many breweries are following this trend and you can’t tell one from the other. The initial breweries like The Answer, Baa Baa Brewhouse and 450 North were pioneers with thick fruited sour beers, but as a brewer you hope to carve out your own niche and not follow where one brewery has gone.” — Joaquin Pena, Islla Street Brewing, San Antonio, Texas
“Brutes. Truthfully, if your temps ain’t right, you make a brute. It’s dry and definitely not tasty.” — Davie Feaster, Head Brewer, Patuxent Brewing, Waldorf, Md.
“I’d say Milkshake Hazy IPA. I believe the additional adjuncts don’t do anything else to elevate the style, they just add thicker mouthfeel to an already high-finishing gravity beer. … Addition of fruit tends to overshadow rather than complement the hops.” — Javier Martinez, Brewer, Brewjeria Company, Pico Rivera, Calif.
“It’s not so much a particular style as it is the unattainable hype beer of the week, from the other side of the country. … I have had many of these beers and they are usually good, occasionally great, but rarely worth flying across the country for.” — Robert Sanchez, Brewer, Border X, Bell, Calif.