Judging by Google searches, Brut IPA is becoming a thing

You hear a lot about Brut IPAs these days. The wonderfully clear, bone dry brews that let  all those great hop flavors shine with little of the bitterness. Pioneered by Kim Sturdavant of San Francisco’s Social Kitchen Brewing late last year, they’ve attracted a lot of attention. If Google searches are any indication, it isn’t just your imagination that the Brut IPA has taken off.

Using the Google Trends website, which tracks the frequency of Google search terms, we can graph searches for Brut IPA over the past year.

Brut IPA-last twelve months
Frequency of Google searches for “Brut IPA” over the past twelve months

After a few blips during it’s inception, then some more small blips the beginning of this year, Brut IPAs started to take off in April.

geographical breakdown of searches for “Brut IPA” from different metro regions shows it’s popular in many parts of the country outside its San Francisco homeland. The top five leading metro areas for “Brut IPA” searches are, in descending order, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Portland, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Denver, and Los Angeles. That’s good news for Brut IPA fans, suggesting this riff on the IPA style has staying power with more and more brewing communities adopting them. However, there isn’t much appreciable interest on the East Coast so far.  Only the Chicago area shows any significant interest in Brut IPAs east of the Mississippi.

Brut IPA metro areas
“Brut IPA” Google search frequency by metro area over the past twelve months


Speaking of Hazy IPAs, let’s compare the Google search popularity of “Brut IPA” to searches for “Hazy IPA”, “New England IPA”, and “NEIPA” and graph the result.

Brut vs Hazy New England NEIPA
Google search frequency of “Brut IPA” compared with “Hazy IPA” (red line), “New England IPA” (yellow line), and “NEIPA” (green line) over the past twelve months


Brut IPAs still lag well behind the combined searches for all the hazy stuff, although they have grown to become on par with searches for “NEIPA”.  Notice that while combined searches for “Hazy IPA”, “New England IPA”,  and “NEIPA” have increased over the past twelve months, lately they have flattened out from a slight peak that occurred early spring of this year. I think it’s too early to say searches for these IPAs have peaked yet, but it does look like they are losing momentum.

Finally, let’s compare Brut IPA to another big hit in 2018, Glitter Beer! (Remember that?).  Glitter Beer came out nowhere last February to become a controversial craft beer hit and lots of people were searching for it on Google back then. Barely six weeks later, Google searches for “glitter beer” mostly died out:

glitter beer last 12 months
Google searches for “glitter beer” over the past twelve months.

Glitter Beer hasn’t totally died, still being released at tap rooms here and there across the country. This most likely explains the small peaks and valleys over the past couple months in the data.

Plotting Google searches for “Brut IPA” with “glitter beer”, we see that currently they have about equal Google popularity.

glitter beer vs brut ipa
Comparison of Google searches for “glitter beer” (blue line) vs. “Brut IPA” (red line) over the past twelve months.

Time will tell if 2018 is known as the year of the Brut IPA, the year of Glitter Beer, or something else still over the horizon. The good news for Brut IPA fans is that these beers look like they’re going to be with us at least for a while.

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