In his feature article The Power Is Yours: Customizing the Drinker Experience, BeerAdvocate’s Bryan Roth explores the recent trend towards personalizing your beer-drinking experience. The explosion of new craft varieties has raised our expectations of how a beer should taste, and many people are taking matters into their own hands and changing the flavor of their store-bought brews.

Roth quotes marketing professor Mary Ann McGrath who says that new inventions can enable consumers to customize products and make them more fun. We don’t have any PhDs at Mad Hops, but we’re definitely on board with the idea of having more fun!

Helping beer drinkers have it your way

Our message to beer lovers is “have it your way.” Want to splurge on the latest IPA from that local microbrewery you heard about? Go for it! Got a thirst for a plain and simple pale American lager on a hot day? We’re not judging you. Feel the need to pursue some hoppiness and add a squirt of Mad Hops Pale Ale to your Bud Light? God bless you!

Let’s ask Shana Martz, a 33-year-old beer lover from Columbus, Ohio, what she thinks. Roth did, and she told him she always carries a bottle of Mad Hops Wild Blueberry and Cherry Wheat in her purse for when she feels like drinking something more flavorful. We love you too, Shana!

Not everyone is thrilled about giving beer drinkers the option to change the taste of their beer, of course, including many people who brew beer for a living. BeerAdvocate quotes Barbara Becker, head brewer at Des Moines, Iowa’s 515 Brewing Co., as saying that if a brewer wanted their beer to taste different, “they probably would have made it that way.”

Experimenting with new beer varieties

We agree that craft brewers put a lot of creativity and time into making their amazing beers. We’re not advocating that you squirt Mexican Lime into a microbrew, unless it’s really going to make you happy. Our goal at Mad Hops is, as the article says, to “encourage experimentation that leads drinkers to try a wider variety of beer”.

That’s the point, explains our founder, Peter Hanley. “I think it actually creates a larger base for the next generation of craft beer drinkers, because when college kids graduate and maybe can’t afford a $15 six-pack, they’re going to have a better beer experience with Mad Hops.”

It’s nice to know that Mad Hops is not out there alone on this new frontier of beer. One of the new technologies that Roth looks at is the Fizzics Waytap, a countertop appliance that uses sound waves to add foam and make beer from a can or bottle taste more like a draft. Mad Hops recently purchased a Fizzics and we’ll be testing it out on some Mad Hops flavored beers soon.

We were also fascinated to learn that some guys in Denmark have created “instant beer,” Just add sparkling water to their freeze-dried powder and – voila! – you get an IPA! The only problem is that it costs $50 per serving! That’s a little rich for our taste.

Help us create a low-calorie IPA

We think creating an IPA flavor is our ultimate challenge. Our Mad Hops scientists are excited to announce we will soon launch a crowdfunding campaign aimed at making IPA-flavored drops. Our goal is to specially formulate the recipe so that it works in an ultra light beer like Michelob Ultra. Because Mad Hops adds just 5 calories per serving, people on a diet will finally be able to enjoy the depth and complexity of an IPA in a beer with under 100 calories.

It’s all part of our mission to help beer lovers “have it your way.” During the crowdfunding campaign we’re going to ask our backers to help us choose what type of IPA to imitate; then during the development process we’ll send samples to our Taste Testers for evaluation. We’ll compile the results and feed them to the development team and our partners in the craft brewing world.

Creating an IPA-flavored beer with under 100 calories is an ambitious goal. Some will say it can’t be done. But many people were skeptical we could pull off a porter or a pale ale and we proved them wrong. Tasting is believing!