Meditations on Hype

Posted by Stu on September 15, 2016

Hype. It’s a funny old word. Depending on who uses it, it can be loaded with negative or positive connotations. A DJ can ‘hype up the crowd’, or we could be told by Flavor Flav to not ‘believe the hype’.

It’s a word that’s very much in vogue in the beer scene at the moment too. Craft breweries love pushing the boundaries and exploring their craft, and naturally get excited when they launch a beer that they, themselves are keen for other people to try. Often this gets dismissed by certain sections of the crafterati as ‘hype’.

But hype is a funny old thing. Often it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy - a brewery talks about an exciting beer, people get excited and talk about it, therefore creating the the hype (there’s a great excerpt from interview with on Cloudwater’s blog that covers a lot of this ground).

But what about when people try a beer that everyone is talking about and expect something hypeworthy, only to have their expectations dashed?

The big beer release of the last few weeks has been Beavertown’s Lupuloid IPA - the latest addition to Beavertown’s core range. Beavertown have never had a straight-up IPA in their core range since their inception, so this new kid on the block is likely to cause some amount of conversation.

Beavertown Lupuloid IPA

Some fuss. On a train.

That said, I’ve seen a few people say that they’re disappointed with this beer, expecting something akin to Cloudwater’s recent DIPA releases. I’ve tried a can, and it’s fine - a decent, solid everyday IPA with a good balance of fruitiness and dankness, a decent malty backbone and a nice alcohol burn on the finish. It’s a great, solid, core range beer that I could see myself coming back to again and again.

The question is then, are we so used to hype or ‘fuss’, that we expect every release from a big name craft brewery to be a barnstormer?

I like exciting beer releases, and am often first in the queue when something big comes out, but equally, I like something relatively unchallenging that I can sip in front of the TV, or in the pub with friends. There’s room for both, and I wouldn’t like to see my favourite breweries letting their core range die off in favour of an arms race of increasingly fuss-worthy beers. Sometimes a beer is just a beer. Enjoy it.

(Header image - flavor flav CC-BY-ND by jason alan layne)