Time for some predictions for 2008 in beer. Nothing really "out there" here, except for maybe the Dogfish Head prediction. I think that’s going to end up being a Brew Site Annual Tradition.
1) The hop shortage is going to get worse and get more mainstream coverage. It’s not going to be nearly as apocalyptic to beer as the mainstream media might make it seem, however.
2) In response to the hop shortage, expect to see much more of two kinds of beer being brewed and getting noticed: session beers and "extreme" beers where the brewers experiment with (for lack of a better term) hop substitutes: spruce, heather, sage, etc. "Hop alternative" beers could be the next big thing.
3) Dogfish Head will brew an historic beer: that Pueblo corn beer.
4) Barrel aging, which was a big trend for 2007, is going to take off in a big way. Barrel-aged beers showed up on my radar this past year almost out of nowhere; my favorite beers at the Oregon Brewers Festival were barrel-aged, Lost Abbey‘s Angel’s Share (barrel-aged) was one of my top beers of 2007, Anheuser-Busch has their big push on their Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale, etc. etc. Stephen Beaumont expands upon this also here.
No, I don’t quite know how they will "take off", but I think it’s going to be big. Just wait for the barrel-aged hop alternative extreme beers…
5) Finally, this is going to be the year of the beer blog, and I think it’s going to start with The Session breaking out in the mainstream media in some way. It’ll snowball from there.