You might have seen hybrid beers popping up all over the place. But what are they? Basically, hybrids are a little bit of this and a little bit of that – they don’t follow convention. It’s more of a freestyle approach to achieve certain characteristics in the finished beer, however not necessarily something never seen before. Some so-called hybrids are in fact old beer styles defined by the region where they originate.

Brewing hybrid beers usually involves using yeast intended for a different type of beer and fermenting at a different temperature. Kölsch is a good example, a German beer brewed with ale yeast and held at cold temperatures, like a lager. And California Common, an American beer style also called Steam Beer, is another hybrid – usually brewed with lager yeast that works better at warmer temperatures, like an ale. But let’s not dive any deeper into the brewing process, or we might be lost forever.

IPA seems to be a favourite for brewers as a base to experiment. In the past few years, we’ve seen Brut IPA, Cold IPA, and White IPA. In my latest beer column, I wrote about West Coast Pilsner, a mix of a hoppy West Coast IPA and a crisp German Pilsner. Hybrid or not, there’s a lot more to try in terms of non-conventional beers; vegetable beer, pumpkin beer, herb and spice beer, honey beer, smoked beer, and much more. And brewers never tire of experimenting, that’s for sure.

I’m not against the hybrid concept. On the contrary, I find it quite fascinating. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like to follow conventions myself, I prefer not to be put into a certain category. I’m a born Swede, a former Londoner, an adoptive Mallorquin, a digital nomad, a writer, a runner, a dreamer, and so on. I wonder what kind of hybrid beer I would be?

Malin Norman

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