Around September I noticed something about the beers I was drinking this year: They were kind of all the same.

Each night, I was putting back some combination of hoppy ales — usually hazy and/or juicy — porters and stouts, and light lagers. Those are three rather varied classes, but I still feel like I’m in a beer rut.

And craft breweries are right there with me.

By my estimation, a clear and overwhelming majority of the new beers introduced in 2018, both locally and to the national market, fell into one of these classes.

If you’re a fan of these styles, that can seem like a win as options suited to your taste multiply. But variety is a core tenet of the craft beer ethos, and if you don’t support it, the brewers will follow the dollars and there’ll be nary a dunkel, alt or ESB to be found.

It’s why one of my new year’s resolutions (for beer, anyway) is to recommit to the exploration of styles and breweries I appreciate but don’t drink often.

Enough of the looking forward. Onward, backward, to the beers of the year!

— Chris Drosner

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