While hops and IPAs in their myriad forms remain a huge part of consumer interest right now, there continue to be both year-round and seasonal audiences for dark beers, and stouts in particular. That interest is piqued even more when the selection is a little harder to come by.
“The main thing is,” explains Sarah Marshall, “How do we make the food taste better?”Since becoming wine director at Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts, early this year, Marshall has been in the process of adjusting the restaurant’s beer menu to better support the Mediterranean-style fare.
Even for Green Flash Brewing Co. out of San Diego, a brewery that’s broadened its distribution territory from around a dozen states to all 50 in the past three years, tap takeovers remain a great way to captivate new customers, an engagement that benefits the restaurant hosting the tap takeover as much as it does the brewery.
Beer that reflects environmental concerns and social awareness is gaining traction.Sustainable initiatives have applicability for breweries as well as for their restaurant customers. “Restaurants are trying to connect people better with their food.
As craft breweries reached double-digit share of volume in the marketplace for the first time last year, equipment options and training resources have continued to improve. That’s good news for restaurant operators seeking to add brewing capacity or expand beer offerings.
Entrepreneurial restaurant groups are defined by their ability to create a portfolio of distinctive and, typically, quite diverse concepts. Moana Restaurant Group, based in San Rafael, California, certainly embraces this approach with a family of 32 restaurant properties ranging from relaxed tavern to white tablecloth.
Craft beer continues to change beer service for restaurants. According to the Brewers Association, the craft brewing industry reached double-digit volume share for the first time in 2014, hitting 11 percent of the total.
As more full-service restaurants include a heavier focus on the beer side of their menus, implementing an elevated taps program opens up less-familiar service turf. Questions abound, such as how to manage tap rotations and bottle selection, better hire and educate beer-savvy staff, and fine-tune a beverage menu to work with what the restaurant already has in place.
Two correlated trends are making a mark in the beer industry and are worthy of exploration: session IPAs and the newer hop varieties.Hops—which give beer bitterness, among other attributes—continue to gain importance in craft beer’s growth.
The craft beer industry is thriving, and with it the appreciation for pairing fine brews with fine foods is trending upward as well.By mid-2014, production at U.S. craft breweries was up 18 percent from the previous year, according to the Brewers Association.
The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver is easily one of the largest beer events in the world, and the 2014 three-day event in October was no exception with around 49,000 people in attendance, sampling from the more than 700 American breweries pouring their wares.
Let’s cut straight to the chase: Pretty much any beer style you can think of has been aged in some sort of barrel by a craft brewery. Bourbon-barrel imperial stouts. Brandy-barrel barley wines. Rum-barrel pumpkin ales.
In the same way that food menus seasonally shift, ditto for one’s beer selections. The transition into the coldest months brings forth a bulk of seasonal beers and a greater focus on more robust, higher-alcohol styles like barleywines, imperial stouts, and robust porters that may be available year-round.