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Top Emerging Beer Styles for 2021

Dos puertas cans and glassware by kings county brewers collective.

All bets were off in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the beer industry felt it. We saw the absence of beer festivals, large and small. We hit pause on happy hours and beer flights and rare bottle releases. Instead, we applauded breweries who offered curbside pickup or, better yet, home delivery. We stocked up on beers to drink at home, sometimes alone, or at the most with small groups of friends. We started beer delivery subscriptions, growler exchange programs and weekly virtual tastings with friends from all over.

And through it all, breweries never stopped innovating, reimagining, and making great beer. In some ways, 2020 allowed breweries to try new things, whether they were new beer styles or new packaging or new distribution models. And beer fans did their best to support their local breweries, or their favorite breweries, by buying their beers, their merchandise and their gift cards – doing anything they could to help at-risk breweries stay afloat.

So how do we take a year like 2020 and make our best educated guesses for what’s to come in 2021? It’s not impossible, or even difficult. We can look at what beer styles emerged out of the topsy-turvy chaos and what flagships helped breweries weather the storm. We can dive into sales, awards and the online “beer chatter” that replaced in-person, bar-top banter among friends and come up with what will likely be an accurate list of beers to keep an eye out for next year.

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