Blonde Beer - Overview
Craft beer such as blonde ale is a popular alcoholic beverage in the US, with 40% of Americans listing beer as their top choice, and the majority of these consumers wanting to explore various craft beers. Blonde or golden ale is a popular choice, specifically as refreshment during warm spring and summer months, and trends with less experienced beer drinkers for its subtle flavor.
- Blonde ale, often also referred to as golden ale is a beer known for being low in malt or hop flavor.
- The type of craft beer may have added flavors such as honey or fruit, but is typically light in color (with an SRM of 3-5).
- The bitterness rank is also on the low end (IBU 15-25).
- Hops aroma is also typically low to medium in blonde ales.
- There is typically a light malt sweetness, with the flavor of wheat or toast common.
- Top blonde ales in the US are mostly from craft breweries rather than large companies.
- Top blonde ales by rank include Citra from Tree House Brewing, Keller Kolsch from McKenzie Brewing, Kirby from Echo Brewing, Blonde from Fortnight Brewing, Miss Conduct from Moonraker Brewery, and Scottsdale Blonde from Huss Brewing.
- Blonde ale is purchased year round, but tends to peak during warm weather.
- The beverage is refreshing and light and tends to be popular during spring and summer, sometimes even referred to as 'summer ale'.
- It's also more approachable for less experienced craft beer drinkers than heavier beers with more distinctive malt or hop characteristics, with one source noting new drinkers find it appealing.
Location & Regional Trends
- Blonde beer tends to be purchased often at craft breweries or at specialty grocery retailers (vs. large chain grocery stores).
- While in the past, regions of the US tended to have distinctive types of preferred craft beer, it's noted that in recent years, there is less of a regionality to type of ale.
- However, it's also noted on the West Coast, IPAs tend to be more boldly hopped than on the East Coast, where subdued craft beers including lighter ales such as blonde ale are slightly more preferred.
- However regional differences in preference for golden ale or other type of craft beer varies less by US region now due to "wider distribution networks and more idea sharing between brewers at beer festivals, conferences, internet forums and classes".
In order to provide trends and insights into blonde ale in the US, we referred to beer specialists, industry reports related to alcohol and beer consumption in the US, as well as traditional media sources, locating information both specifically on blonde beer as well as related trends in the US craft beer space as a whole that were relevant to understanding purchase trends of blonde beer.