Craft beer is art and I really love the fact that things are trending this way. Art is interpreted differently by each individual that observes it as craft beer should also be interpreted. Blurring the lines between styles is just the next logical step in finding that next great beer and I hope that breweries keep on experimenting and finding more and more delicious combinations.
There are still a lot of beer drinkers out there who are very style conscious and want their beers to fall directly into a specific style category and that is fine for them but I think it is lame to box anything into a certain category. Having the freedom to experiment is what craft beer is all about and finding that next great taste is definitely exciting and whether or not it fits a certain category can just be ignored.
Still my favorite example is Mocha IPA from Stone Brewing. It has a tiny bit of hoppiness which is the only characteristic that could possibly nail it into the IPA category. Other than that it has an awesome mocha flavor and is exceptionally smooth with a nice sweetness which are not characteristic of a typical hop heavy IPA.
The entire industry of craft beer depends on the very wide variety of styles and flavor combinations that are being created. There are craft beer styles that are similar to some of the big name brands but those are needed to attract new craft beer drinkers and get them to step only slightly out of their comfort zone. This first step is very important for walking a die hard brand specific beer drinker along the knife edge of craft beer, if they fall the first time they are not likely to try again. You can read more about this in How to Introduce Friends to Craft Beer.
Then there are crazy awesome styles for those of us who have been immersed in the craft beer world for a long time and want to try everything there is. Like the strawberry jalapeno beer I tried that was like BAM strawberries and then BAM I might actually need a chaser for the burn of the jalapenos! It was an awesome experience, someone poured not only strawberries and jalapenos into that bottle but their heart, soul, and creativity as well. This is what makes craft beer so awesome for me.
Just like an expressionist these craft brewers pour their hearts and souls into their beer hoping to strike a chord with craft beer drinkers who will all interpret their creations differently. Just as art has an impact on the viewer these beers can have an impact on the drinker. Enjoying one of these hand crafted beers is more than just a cool refreshing drink it is an experience in itself. For more on my art views check out Art +1 Skill Point.
I love the art of craft beer and how much the styles are starting to blur. Soon we will have only two styles of beer, mass produced beer water and wonderful craft beer. Someday we will talk about beers based on their name only and not any certain style constraints.