The biggest change in the bar/restaurant scene in terms of beer in recent memory has been the introduction of Weiss bier and Wit bier. They’ve been widely available at many casual to upscale bars and restaurants for at least 5 years now to my recollection. And I think that they might have become permanent fixtures in the American bar/restaurant scene (I hope). A lager like Stella Artois has become ubiquitous as well but to me it is simply a nice alternative for the light lager drinker. What makes the Weiss and Wit thing interesting is that they are so fundamentally different than what the American bar/restaurant scene had been into. Yet they took off in a hurry and to a wide(r) audience; one that included women. Additionally, I believe that these are the first “real beers” that are beloved by many women who previously didn’t go for beer at all. The reason I believe is simple: they taste interesting; clove, banana, coriander and spice. They also have minimal hoppiness.
Which leads to the next trend that I’d like to see which could evolve in sort of the same way: Milds, Bitters and ESB? They too, like Weiss and Wit, have interesting flavor with low hops but take on an orangey tea-like character with a malt taste that adds richness and roundness without excessive sweetness. I drank a Flying Fish ESB with the SO last evening and she described it in the very same way and really enjoyed it. I few of my favorites are:
Conniston Blue Bird Bitters
Dirty Dicks Mild
Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady ESB