For some drinkers, variety is the spice of life. And brewers continually make new recipes to satisfy that demand.

For some drinkers, variety is the spice of life. And brewers continually make new recipes to satisfy that demand.

Rose Baca/Staff Photographer

Craft beer may have gotten its start in the mid- to late-1970s, but the greatest industry growth has occurred over the past few years. The result, according to the Brewers Association, is that there are now more than 5,000 breweries operating in the United States.

Today's consumers are blessed with seemingly infinite choices when it comes to the beer they drink. So much so, they almost never have to drink the same beer twice. And many don't, favoring a one-and-done approach instead of staying true to any one brewery or brand of beer.

For those explorers, variety is the spice of life. But what does that mean for the beers that breweries keep in their everyday lineups? Are year-round beers destined to be a thing of the past, or do staple recipes still have a place in the current market environment?

Could North Texas' continued craft beer explosion be too much of a good thing?

According to Andrew Huerter, head brewer at BrainDead Brewing in Dallas, seasonal and one-off or specialty brews are necessary to satisfy demand at pubs and growler stations that primarily rotate what they offer, however, year-round products are still a vital part of a brewery's portfolio.

"Having staple, flagship or core beers is important," Huerter says. "At a neighborhood bar like BrainDead, there should be some kind of stability, a reliable experience, even a comfort, when needed."

Besides, some simply prefer the familiarity of a flagship beer. While younger consumers are more likely to seek out fresh flavors, results of a 2016 Harris Poll conducted by Nielsen show that Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers tend to favor year-round brews. That's because these groups were drinking craft beer before it was cool and developing favorites during a time when fewer breweries and fewer options were available.

Beyond that, Huerter points out another reason to maintain a set of brewery staples, since year-round brews play a role in the production of limited offerings.

"Core beers can really help smooth out production concerns," Huerter says. "They're usually lower in alcohol, and through many batches the yeast tends to behave quite predictably. These factors make yeast management much easier, especially when brewing high-alcohol one-offs or vintage releases, which require lots of healthy yeast cells."

In other words, it takes a beer some may see as ordinary to make a beer others see as extraordinary.

5 year-round beers you should try

Brian Brown keeps up with the North Texas craft beer scene on his blog, Beer in Big D.

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