I know we talked about this last year, and probably the year before, about how unsustainable it's getting - the number of breweries, brewpubs, taprooms - and I keep thinking next year we'll see people putting the brakes on. Well, it hasn't happened. The pace of brewery openings is only increasing, and the model for a successful brewery must include a taproom or full on brewpub. You can't just open a production brewery anymore.
The Hopleaf's Michael Roper talks about the year in craft beer news - from the rise of barrel-aged beers and the return of 'popular price' options in response to years of rising prices, to the surprisingly enduring trends of new breweries opening in already saturated markets, and beer names surrending to total, non-descriptive chaos.
Michael is owner of Chicago's The Hopleaf Bar, in its 25th year. Try the Bitterballen.