In my former life, one of the more interesting things occurred when the prognosticators came into World Headquarters to tell the company what flavors were going to be big in the future. And at the Craft Brewers Conference, one of the topics I went to addressed the idea of new flavors in beer. It took the approach that if you see what is starting to approach the upswing of the bell curve now, you can be in a position to either a) be ready when the trend hits or b) be ahead of the trend. They looked at the trends from three points: purchasing, social media discussion and menu changes.
The company who presented was Sensient Flavors. And they were able to showcase the flavors they were talking about by introducing a little bit of flavor into a neutral beer (think a BMC light). That way it was possible to taste exactly what Sensient wanted to showcase without any hops or serious bitterness getting in the way.
Here’s what they predict will possibly move forward in the future. I’ve listed them not in the order they presented, but in the order in which I liked the particular flavor.
- Preserved Cherry Blossom. This flavor isn’t a strong cherry flavor, but lighter and more perfumy. It really came thru in the nose and was quite delicate on the palate. I could see this working well to enhance a Cream Ale.
- Pandan. This is a spice that tastes like baked goods to me with a green, nutty bready taste. just delicious in the right beer. Could work in a Porter or an English Brown.
- Overripe Melon. I’m not usually a melon guy (watermelon excepted), but this was pure bliss on the tongue. The overripe aspect gave it a more pronounced melon hit. My prediction for the next IPA flavor enhancer.
- Urfa chile. This is more raisin, tobacco and chocolate as opposed to heat. I’d like to try it in a dark IPA or a Scotch Ale.
- Chamoy. This is a south american condiment with a touch of heat. Hot Pepper beers are more of a novelty for me—something to share with friends to show how versatile beer can be, but Hot beers aren’t something to pursue on a day to day basis. And while I don’t think a Chamoy beer would change that for me, the subtleness of the spice is intriguing. Mix it in an APA.
- Charred Cocoanut. Tastes just like it sounds. Would be interesting in a Stout or perhaps even in a banana heavy hefeweizen.
There were two that I just did not like—but as Sentient Flavors noted, polarizing is not a bad word.
7. Sassafras Root. I know the idea of alco-pops are amazingly trendy and I’m sure in the right hands someone could make a good beer that tastes harsher than root beer. But I’ll not be buying it.
8. Honeyed Evergreen. I love this smell, as it smells woodsy, like a fresh cut pine tree. But the taste is like brand new mulch. blech.
thanks to seriouseats.com for the pix.