The Diminished Hop Crop

Several people sent me the link from Boing Boing which in turn linked to a Wired article regarding the shortage of hops in the United States and how is affecting the micro-brewer and Micro-Breweries.

The coincidental thing here was the Tara and I were talking about this subject just last Wednesday over deep fried clams and an order of fish and chips (for which beer is the perfect side). Both of us posited what was essentially voiced in the Wired article – mostly that the big breweries will be able to absorb the cost, and the smaller micro-breweries will simply provide less hoppy brews onto the market.

The big question mark here in my opinion, are those breweries that are too small to be considered major breweries, but too large to really be considered micro-brewers. I’m thinking about the Red Hooks and the Anchor Steams – how will they be affected, especially those breweries who have a fair amount of investment (both financial and reputation-wise) in the more hoppier brews like the India Pale Ales?

And as a side note, my hope is that we do start seeing less IPA’s on the market. From a purely personal stance, there’s very few IPA’s that I like. Most of them are way too bitter for me, and I find that the hops often mask any subtlety that a well crafted beer may have. Additionally, every microbrewery seems to make an IPA. What’s the point of having a diverse marketplace if everyone makes the same thing?