Can Homebrewers Predict the Future in Beer Trends?

An interesting question, and without hesitation I would surmise the answer is yes, as homebrewers are the ultimate beer geeks and set the tone for what the larger market of beer lovers is trending towards. According to a study done by Brewers Association chief economist Dr. Bart Watson in a new piece posted on the American Homebrewers Association website, he analyzes data on past entries from the AHA National Homebrew Competition, the largest beer competition in the world that receives thousands of entries from all 50 states. Watson deduced that competition entries—and their quantity, style and state of origin—correlate with beer market changes in future years. After lining up entries from 2011 against market data from the IRI Group—which looks at the sales of different beer styles via scans at grocery stores, convenience stores, and other off-premise retail locations—Watson found a positive correlation with the beer styles growth from 2011-2015. In 4 of the top 6 beer styles entered, in following years there was a quite healthy market growth with Stout 56.3%, IPA 96.9%, Fruit Beer/Spice/Herb/Vegetable 78.1% and Belgian and French Ale logging in a 136.8% increase. Watson also found a strong relationship between the number of entries by state in 2011 and the number of breweries that opened between 2011 and December 2015. So, if you want to know what the most popular beer styles will be in five years, you might want to check out homebrew competition entries or ask a homebrewer what styles he is brewing. To rub elbows with a group of homebrews attend a meeting of our local homebrew club, SNAFU Southern Nevada Ale Fermenters Union, which meets at 7:30 the second Friday of each month at Aces & Ales Nellis location. To view Dr. Watson’s article, visit

February Beer Events

On February 6th CraftHaus will celebrate Comrade Day, the annual release of its Comrade Russian Imperial Stout. The name is a nod to it being made in the spirit of camaraderie with the brewery’s friend George, of Las Vegas Distillery, as the beer was oak aged on the distillery’s whiskey. The event will run from 2 to 10 p.m. and there will be food trucks, a photo booth, whiskey and coffee tastings, unveiling of a new mural and an opportunity to fill a 32 oz squealer of the Comrade Imperial Stout available on Feb. 6 only. For $8 you’ll get a commemorative glass and 4 oz pour. There will be five different versions of this beautiful beer on tap and a specialty firkin.

Aces & Ales continues to host unique and quality beer events in Las Vegas. Up next is its 3rd Annual Big Ass Barrel-Aged Blowout Bonanza, featuring more than 30 barrel-aged brews. Aces stashes away kegs of wood-aged goodness throughout the year in preparation for this annual event and has conveniently scheduled it for Feb. 13 at the Tenaya location beginning at 3 p.m. note that it won’t conflict with the celebrated day of love on the 14th. For more info and to see the beer line-up, visit

What’s on Tap

In February, Northern Nevada’s High Sierra Brewing Company will have state-wide coverage of its products, as it begins distribution in Southern Nevada of its Seamus O’Faolian Irish Red Ale, Buzzed Bee Honey Ale GABF 2014 Gold Medal, OMG IPA 6.8% ABV, 120 IBU, Black PussyKat Imperial Stout 8% ABV and a limited release of the OMFG Imperial IPA 8.2% ABV, 150 IBU and S’Mo Session IPA 5.4%, 100 IBU. The brewery also has a new 5-head canning unit from Cask Canning that will allow it to package 12 oz cans beginning in the first quarter of 2016.

Michael “Banger” Beaman at Banger Brewing Company in downtown Las Vegas reports that he is brewing his first attempt at a sour beer on a professional scale. It will be a kettle soured brown ale with lactobacillus and around 5.2% ABV.

Lead Brewer Amanda Koeller at Big Dog’s is introducing “Underbite” IPA, an 8.7% ABV hop dominant West Coast IPA hopped with Chinook, Amarillo and Citra. She says it’s a bitter beer with notes of citrus, grapefruit, some pine and spice with a very dry finish that makes you want to take another sip until the glass is empty.

As always, great beer happens in Vegas!