My favorite addition to Hoppy Boston in 2016 was the monthly Random Beer Thoughts and Links articles that I started writing in September. It is a good forum to share ideas and opinions that come to me over the course of the month and deserve a mention without necessitating a full column. I also enjoy sharing the work of the many other talented beer writers that I follow. As always, feel free to send me any articles that you think should be included and I’ll do my best to work them in! This month I didn’t do the best job keeping track of everything, too much time reading about politics and football, but I promise to bounce back in February!
-Night Shift co-founder and Mass Brewers Guild president Rob Burns has some predictions for beer in the Bay State in 2017. Some of my favorites are the disappearance of growlers and lines, two of my least favorite beer-related things.
-Norm “The Beer Nut” Miller had three simple wishes for beer in 2017, and I agree with all three. It is so important that beer lovers be inclusive, educate without insulting and please fight against any sexism you see. He also asks us to try and branch out from IPAs leading to…
-Local Beer Blogger “Man Drinks Beer” has made the bold proclamation that he will go IPA free in 2017. I love the idea, there are so many great beer styles and drinking too many hop bombs keeps you from appreciating the subtle complexity of other styles. I am not going to cut IPAs out completely, but I am going to make a conscious effort to buy, drink and review mostly beers that aren’t as hop forward. I really hope to expand the sections of my best beers page that cover these other styles.
-The Mass Brew Brothers are doing a three part series on the modern history of Massachusetts breweries. The first part covers when each active brewery in the state opened. Part two covers the breweries that have stopped production. It is crazy to see how many breweries have opened in the last few years, and how few have closed (relatively). There is no way that these rates are sustainable, even if craft beer grabs a much larger share of the overall market. I think we are in for a very interesting stretch as the competition between breweries picks up and some inevitably fail.
-The battle between brewers and distributors is going to be an interesting subplot to follow this year, and both sides have proposed new changes to the state regulations. If brewers start to gain freedom to change distributors I think craft-centric distribution like Craft Collective and the Night Shift Distribution company will become very popular destinations.
-2017 will be another busy year, in Massachusetts alone there are 33 breweries intending to open or begin selling beer.
-There will also inevitably be more out of state breweries that start distributing in Mass. Jason Notte writes about the impending turf wars that are already starting to happen as breweries expand.
-The Mass Brew Bros. are keeping a running list of the big beer related events in the state, here is your list for January-March!
-Trillium is staying busy, Canton is up and running, rumors are swirling about a farmhouse brewery in Connecticut, and in the near term they are opening a new space in Fort Point.
-The brewers association has a data driven write-up on the effect of marijuana legalization on the beer industry.