The Tribune yesterday reported that local breweries have started producing more lagers as people get tired of IPAs:
Lager accounts for most of the beer sold in the world — including the 16 biggest-selling brands in the United States — but it has rarely been a recipe for success for craft breweries, which often default to ratcheting up experimentation, flavor and intensity. Lager, by contrast, tends to be approachable and predictable. Think Miller Lite. Michelob Ultra. Modelo Especial.
While tropically fruity India pale ales and boozy stouts remain engines for the nation’s small breweries, the industry has increasingly embraced lager in recent years. And consumers are rewarding them with surprising demand.
Around Chicago, the shift can be seen in the growing number of lager-centric breweries, including Goldfinger, Kinslahger in Oak Park, and Metropolitan and Dovetail on the city’s North Side.
Established breweries, including Hopewell, Revolution and Maplewood, are increasingly incorporating lagers into their portfolios while newer breweries, such as Art History in Geneva, have opened with an embrace of lager that would have required a leap of faith a few short years ago.
For Art History, it is already paying off; open just 18 months, the brewery is planning a new, larger production facility, due in large part to its lagers, which account for three of its four top sellers.
I typically evaluate a brewery by its mainline IPA, but in some cases (notably Dovetail), I'll go with their flagship lager. And I have yet to visit most of the breweries the article mentions, so I'll take their advice.