The only thing more popular than a year-end Best of List is a year-end look into the crystal ball of craft beers future. Here is what I will be monitoring throughout 2020.
The Hard Seltzer of 2020
Each year, something new catches fire and everyone knows about. 2019 will be known for the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, Baby Yoda and hard seltzer. That means, of course, that 2020 will have a new food item that causes line, a new meme and a new drink. Will it be something from the spirits world? Or wine? Or will we find another hazy style winner?
Less Generic Festivals and More Hyper Specific
I certainly suffer from festival fatigue. And if that is just for attending, imagine putting on and getting people to buy tickets. Next year will bring less gathering of the same old, same old and more focused festivals. Portland, Oregon has an older market than us and has fruit beer festivals, fresh hop festivals amidst many others. I think L.A. is also heading that way.
December brought news that Green Cheek Brewing was taking over the space formerly used by Barley Forge in Costa Mesa. Expect that a few more of these facelifts will take place in the next 12 months as some breweries look to find a second location while others exit stage right.
2nd Locations / 3rd Locations
Smog City Brewing now has three locations, Beachwood BBQ can be found all over the Southland (alas not in Glendale yet) and Los Angeles Ale Works announced a Culver City location to augment their Hawthorne brewery operation. Three Weavers will move into a spot at the new NFL stadium in Inglewood. More will follow this route in 2020 because …
New Brewery Pace Will Slow
It has been hard to keep pace with all of the brewery openings in the past few years. I believe that 2020 will press pause and let beer fans play catch-up. There are some new breweries on coming soon, but not nearly the amount as in year’s past. All Seasons Brewing in Mid-Wilshire and Benny Boy Brewing on the Eastside are two exciting efforts that I am following.
Speaking of new, Brewjeria Company is a new brewery in Pico Rivera and for the final installment of the Non-IPA Beer of the Week I have chosen their Californio. The name Brewjeria “is a ‘Spanglish’ word combining the English word “Brew” with the suffix of the Spanish word “Brujeria”, which means witchcraft.” The beer is a California Common (think Anchor Steam) and their version is a lovely light and malty concoction that has a little touch of sweetness.
If you love crowds and the countdown, it will be hard NOT to find a brewery taproom or craft beer bar that doesn’t have a NYE party. But for one last weekend in 2019, I strongly suggest that you take a look at the L.A. County Brewers Guild list of member breweries and plan a visit to one that you missed in the last 12 months. Use some of that Christmas cash at a local taproom this weekend.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.