A Reflection on the Beer World in 2013

In 2013, I was introduced to a new app called UnTappd. I’m a sucker for lists and was always a fan of FourSquare and their badge system. UnTappd proved to be a great merger of FourSquare and my love of beer. I could continue to ‘check-in’ to local brew pubs and the latest restaurants with friends on FourSquare but also track the latest beer I’ve sampled. All of this while striving to unlock the latest badge around beer styles and specialties from my favorite breweries. The best thing to come out of my interest (read: obsession) with this app was the drive to try new beers. And so I did. A lot of new beers. 2013 was a good year.

At home or while traveling, I always do my best to hunt down the best beer bars in the area. There tends to be a plethora of local beers to discover if you can find that special hole-in-the-wall that features the local styles and specialties. I’ve also found that national trends tend to infiltrate these local watering holes, which is refreshing. It’s great to be able to stay current on what’s new and fresh rather than be locked into the local flavor of the month. My personal desire to try every IPA imaginable has fared well with strong west coast style IPAs making it to my home in Boston.

I also enjoy watching the transition of craft beer from bottles to cans. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how the flavor of a beer is affected by its container. Growing up, there was always the prevailing opinion that cans created a ‘tinny’ flavor in the beer – I still hear that constantly today. What, then, is driving the craft beer world to push towards canning? It’s environmentally friendly, economical, and keeps beer fresher, according to the experts. I recently heard that there are companies that have mobile canning machines that drive around and help small breweries can their beer to jump into this market. Unbeknownst to me this has been around since at least 2011 and there are several companies out there serving different markets. I love ingenious ideas like this. And this.

What can we expect for 2014? Is there a new trend that will sweep the country swinging away from the over the top hops and 16 oz cans? Beer Trucks parked next to food trucks? Has anyone ever explored boxed beer – Franzia of the beer world maybe – I’d try it… Whatever happens over the coming 365 days, I look forward to the creativity and flavors coming from our favorite brewers across the country.

Bring it on.



Chris McClellan