New Crop of Beers Shakes Up Flavor Profiles

The latest crop of alcohol beverage launches continues to blur the line between traditional beer and flavored malt beverages and what’s trending in the nonalcohol segment. While new styles of beer proliferate, hybrid drinks such as hard seltzer and hard cold brew are becoming de rigueur.

Click through for a look at six new flavor-forward beers and hybrid beverages.

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Odell Brewing Co.

With a portfolio of notably hop-forward beers such as Odell IPA, Drumroll Hazy Pale Ale and Mountain Standard IPA, Odell Brewing Co. has launched its first “crushable” IPA with Good Behavior, a low-calorie (110 per serving), lower-alcohol (4% ABV) beer with a balanced body and crisp finish, according to the company.

“There’s plenty of 100-, 95-, even 80-calorie options in the market right now,” said Brendan McGivney, chief operating officer of Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo. “After a year of small-batch, R&D testing at both of our brewhouse taprooms, we realized we weren’t going to sacrifice the flavor and body for 10 calories.” Brewed without extracts or artificial sweeteners, Good Behavior was “built for hop lovers looking for a beer that fits in with a more balanced lifestyle,” said Odell CEO Eric Smith. The beer is currently available throughout Odell Brewing’s 19-state footprint.

Photograph courtesy of Odell Brewing Co.

2. Anheuser-Busch InBev

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Stella Artois Midnight Lager is a limited-edition seasonal beer. Rolled out Nov. 4, the beer had an auspicious coming-out party on Halloween night in historic Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. As a nod to the local legend’s evening ride of a headless horseman, Stella released a map of seven watering holes along a spooky route to offer visitors a first taste on Halloween before it became available nationwide. The 5.4% ABV lager is embossed with a bold black and gold look inspired by the midnight sky, according to the company.

Photograph courtesy of Anheuser-Busch InBev

3. Alaskan Brewing Co.

Alaskan Brewing Co.’s latest release, Alaskan Hard Seltzer, marks its first foray outside the world of malts and hops. At 4.5% ABV, 95 calories and 2 grams of carbs, the seltzer is brewed with an ingredient that’s familiar to fans of Alaskan’s ales: locally foraged Sitka spruce tips, native to the coastal rainforest of the Northwest and used as a natural ingredient in syrup, jam, beer and sea salt. The initial release features two flavors: Spruce Lemon Lime and Spruce Cherry Grapefruit. Alaskan Hard Seltzer is brewed much like a beer, substituting fermentable sugar for malt and omitting hops. Alaskan Brewing is initially releasing the hard seltzer in its home state of Alaska with the prospect for increased U.S. distribution in 2020.

Photograph courtesy of Alaskan Brewing Co.

4. La Colombe Coffee Roasters

La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee (4.2% ABV) is an outgrowth of a partnership between MillerCoors and Philadelphia-based La Colombe Coffee Roasters. Made from medium-roast Colombian and Brazilian cold-brew coffee, alcohol and cane sugar, the new variety is available in four-packs of 9-ounce cans and single-serve 9-ounce cans in two flavors: Black, offering a delicate balance of sweetness and bitterness highlighted by notes of baker’s cocoa; and Vanilla, accented by rich vanilla bean and dark chocolate notes, hint of vanilla sweetness and natural flavors. The beverage is available in select markets, including Tampa, Fla.; Boston; and Denver.

Photograph courtesy of La Colombe

5. Anheuser-Busch InBev

In August, Anheuser-Busch launched Natural Light Seltzer, a flavor-forward, 6% ABV beverage available in two fruit-flavored blends: Aloha Beaches, which combines mango and peach for a tropical feel; and Catalina Lime Mixer, a mix of black cherry and lime. Natural Light Seltzer comes in 12- and 24-packs, as well as 25-ounce single-serve cans.

Photograph courtesy of Anheuser-Busch

6. Geloso Beverage Group

Geloso Beverage Group’s Mad Bean Coffee (4.5% ABV) comes in 12- and 24-ounce cans, and is packaged as four-packs in Mocha and Vanilla flavors. Made from 100% Arabica gourmet beans, Mad Bean separates itself from similar beverages with a rich yet subtle silky flavor, according to the company.

Photograph courtesy of Geloso Beverage Group