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Rebel IPA vs Lagunitas?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Starkbier, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. jucifer1818

    jucifer1818 Savant (410) Florida May 15, 2011

    I respond to this the same as I respond to every issue like this: I'm going to wait until I can get my hands on a bottle of rebel, and what I think about it.

    I don't want to lay into either side over production volume, business practices, marketing, sales reps, overall hostility, or the inevitable facts of a competitive business. I just care about drinking quality beer, and using my experiences to help others do the same.

    I've also very recently had Lag's ipa, and I have to say, its quite good. I've also had a lot of BB stuff currently, and the trend I'm noticing, is that they do tend to make a good hop forward beer. Their hopology series have all been excellent, and the only ones I've had lately that really sucked where the brews that tried to use spices and other odds and ends to work out.

    While I cant say who's is going to be better, I am open to the possibility that I might find the taste of Rebel to be better to me, and doing a direct comparison to each of them might be a good future exercise when I can find rebel (and also be a cool blog post as well).

    Odds are Ill just find them to both be good beers and enjoy them both from time to time. I think that most people will fall into that category.
    azorie likes this.
  2. They do. It's @lagunitasbruhws, & it's accessible by clicking on the twitter icon on the company's website.
    KhakCane likes this.
  3. Jake1605

    Jake1605 Initiate (0) Missouri Nov 24, 2009

    I'm looking forward to doing a Rebel IPA vs. Lagunitas IPA tasting. I wonder how this will turn out :p
    MightySteede and jucifer1818 like this.
  4. Two different industry publications/websites, two different articles being discussed:

    The CBD article both "DogTown"/Tony Magee and I mentioned claims they have a Lagunitas/BBC wholesale distributor's internal memo that states other BBC houses are going to specifically target Lagunitas IPA tap handles.

    Many BA's in this thread "doubt/don't believe" it.

    It does seem to me that memo and those beliefs conflict - only one can be true.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    BoneyardBrewer, azorie and Roguer like this.
  5. Roguer

    Roguer Champion (825) Connecticut Mar 25, 2013

    Thanks for the clarification. Keep in mind, again, those of us who hold reservations do so because we don't have access to the actual memo, and what it says. When Tony then comes on here and issues a retraction/correction - even if it was to a separate article - it shows that he does have a tendency to overreact in protection of his brand. That's not bad - Elon Musk does the same thing. But what it does for us, we BA observers on the outside, is give us very little concrete evidence (the opposite, in fact) to side with him on what amounts to a very specific claim of corporate dickishness.

    He could still be right, of course, but between his Twitter feed and now his correction (where he straight up says that he took things from other sources or conversations and misattributed them/implied they were from a concrete source), I think I have every right (and reason) to be doubtful.
  6. Jason

    Jason Founder (1,300) Massachusetts Aug 23, 1996 Staff Member

    The Boston Beer Company just sent this to us as Jim Koch is on the road and was not able to reply directly on to the site:

    ------------------------------------------------------
    From Jim Koch:

    I read the comments from Tony Magee regarding our roll-out of Rebel IP, and I wanted to take this opportunity to respond and answer questions from those of you who have weighed in. I have always appreciated the fact that BeerAdvocate creates a forum for these kinds of discussions and provides the opportunity for response.

    More than anything, at Boston Beer, we compete against ourselves and our own ideal – to brew the best beer we can. We don’t target other craft brewers. When we walk into a bar or restaurant for a sales call, we ask questions so we can get a better understanding of what beers are selling and what’s moving more slowly. With that in mind, we hope retailers will make decisions that benefit their business and their drinkers and hope they pick the best beer. Ultimately, it’s the retailer who makes the final decision on what beers to serve on draft. Distributors also make their own decisions as we saw in the memo from the Lagunitas distributor going after Sam Adams. It makes sense that a good distributor would work hard to sell beer. It's their job to try and replace competing brands.

    We believe retailers and drinkers benefit from having choices. The beer landscape is so much healthier and more robust than it was 30 years ago. In my experience, consistently good beers will succeed. I started brewing Sam Adams in my kitchen 30 years ago and I continue to believe in the power of a good beer.

    We’ve been brewing IPAs since we brewed our first one, Samuel Adams IPA, in the 1990s. In the almost twenty years since then, we’ve brewed nearly a dozen different IPAs including Latitude 48, our Hopology collection, Tasman Red, etc. Rebel IPA is our latest and we’re looking forward to getting feedback from drinkers. Our goal was to create a well-balanced IPA that provided a punch of hop aroma and flavor without too much bitterness. It is more difficult and expensive to get a lot of hop character without the accompanying bitterness. It requires large amounts of dry hops and innovative dry hopping techniques. We played around with several hop varieties, ratios of late kettle hops to dry hops, and different dry hopping regimens for a few years, and we finally created the right recipe and method for this hop profile.

    To me, great beer comes from the quality of the ingredients, the elegance of the recipe, and the skill, passion and commitment of the brewer.

    It’s hard not to take some offense to Tony's other jabs and misrepresentations. I’ve spent 30 years as a champion for Samuel Adams AND for the craft beer industry, helping to elevate craft beer. Our hard work, and that of others, has paid off. I take pride in that. A key benefit of our success is that we now can give back and help others. I think it’s a shared responsibility of ALL larger, craft brewers to help those who are following the path we have worked hard to pave. Yes, we sold hops at cost during a worldwide shortage, and they were not leftovers; it meant we didn't brew one of our beers that year and we were at real risk had there been second bad crop. And yes, we rented brewing equipment in our early years because we couldn’t afford our own brewery. It’s a common practice these days for brewers who are just getting started. We bought our first tanks in 1987 and started brewing in our Boston Brewery in 1988, and bought our first full-scale production brewery in 1995.

    As some BA members point out, Tony and I run two of the top-selling craft breweries. We’re all lucky to be in the middle of a big growth curve for craft beer, and I am glad to see the growth. It’s certainly taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people both in the brewery and on the streets to get here. What’s unique about our industry is that it truly is a brother- and sisterhood. We all need to preserve that spirit as long as we can.

    I appreciate the chance to respond and wish you all a Happy, craft beer-filled New Year.

    Cheers,

    Jim
    --------------------------------------------------

  7. So, there is that, and there is Tony's Posts/tweets. There is certainly a different style and tone between the two.
    No reason to wonder why I still hope to some day enjoy a beer or two with Jim Koch.
  8. well balanced?!?!?!? hahaha no body what so ever on rebel sorry koch. wasent bad but calling it well balanced is far from the truth its a west coast style hah. btw why are you brewing beer you dont even like?
  9. JimKal

    JimKal Savant (280) North Carolina Jul 31, 2011

    There you have it - two sides to every issue. I happen to like beers from both SA and Lagunitas and will continue to buy from both companies. I appreciate the passion behind Tony's words and the calm, mature words of Jim Koch. What a great forum this is for providing this type of discussion.
    peteboiler and ESHBG like this.
  10. beerindaglass

    beerindaglass Savant (300) Florida Feb 20, 2013

    Of course.. But I'm sure an apology letter is written to the brewer who lost the space.
    beertunes, jmmy3 and Norica like this.
  11. jucifer1818

    jucifer1818 Savant (410) Florida May 15, 2011

    I know right? I was just planning on a standalone review of this one, but now I have to drink two beers in a single sitting! perhaps drag in one of those "normal people" that I associate with and see which one they like more

    Im sure their will be no complaints :p

    I'm starting to have greater resistance to hoppyness, and its harder and harder to understand what new drinkers can handle!
  12. Roguer

    Roguer Champion (825) Connecticut Mar 25, 2013

    It's a great and understandable response, but it's worth noting that Jim didn't exactly refute Tony's allegation of targeting. Well, he said, "We don't target other craft brewers," so I guess he did. More accurately, then: I think Jim's response, while well thought out, careful, and really speaking toward brotherhood and togetherness, isn't as strong and specific of a refutation that I would have hoped for.

    As for those bashing Rebel IPA: it's a pretty good IPA, IMO. I think Lagunitas IPA is better, FWIW, but I think they're playing the same game. Throw it in there with Red Hook, Monkeyfist, and Stone: all solid IPAs, some better than others, but none quite world-class (to me). Celebration on tap, Jai Alai, Nelson, and the great DIPAs of the world? Those are something special, a cut above. But if I see Rebel IPA on tap? I'm not exactly sad.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2014
    azorie likes this.
  13. It is great to see the brewers responding in this thread. This is what makes this community and industry so great. I think Tony is misunderstood by some here and just expressing the passion and frustration of a business owner in market that is becoming more competitive every day. Bigger companies have the money and means to do things smaller companies cannot. I see this all the time in my business. I manage a small, privately owned pub/restaurant. We have two locations and one of our locations sits on a busy street in the midst of several big name chains. I talk to others in the business and know that the chains get better pricing than we do and of course they order more than us so it is somewhat understandable. But it is hard to compete when places like Wegmans are selling bottles for the same price or less than I am paying for them. We also don't have the money for advertising like the chains. We try to separate ourselves by carrying more variety and more true craft beer than our neighbors. We try to keep our prices fair and it is funny that we are generally cheaper than the chains when I know they are getting better deals on beer. It is the great community of beer lovers that keeps us alive and I thank all of you and am glad to be a part of that community.
    russpowell, Denoas, ESHBG and 5 others like this.
  14. Lol.
  15. Very awesome. I too manage a local restaurant with 2 locations in a booming college town, so I completely understand your point. We do everything we can to be competitive and we do, but we have to make sure we do everything we can to maximize every dollar and every guest who comes in, because there are 3 new restaurants opening here every week. Do what you do, and do it very well, and the customers will speak with their dollars.
    Roguer likes this.
  16. Looks like some mouthy sales rep got a little rambunctious and word got back to Lagunitas. Jim Koch doesn't seem dickish at all.
    Squidly and CassinoNorth like this.
  17. utopiajane

    utopiajane Champion (860) New York Jun 11, 2013


    I also really like the fact that both gentlemen spoke directly to us the BA community as best they were able. It shows that they respect the consumer and the site as well.
    Leebo, Spikester, russpowell and 3 others like this.
  18. JrGtr

    JrGtr Savant (365) Massachusetts Apr 13, 2006

    The point wasn't just Lag getting mad at BBC / Sam Adams for what they made, it was for SA allegedly specifically targeting Lag to replace their (Lag) with SA Rebel.

    IN looking at the response from Jim Koch, and what I've read about the company going back as long as I;ve been interested in beer, I can't see them, as a company policy, deliberately, specifically aiming to replace any one beer. It's possible it was some lower level marketing guy, or someone at the distributor talking about this (there is allegedly a letter, I would like to see exactly what it says.)
    I have seem Henry Weinhart IPA popping up here and there in many places; SA should target those taps instead.
    jucifer1818 likes this.
  19. luisfrancisco

    luisfrancisco Savant (265) Mexico Dec 1, 2009

    Wow. This discussion is really interesting and I love how the brewers themselves come on to talk here. Tony's twitter account came off way douchier than his longer explanations on here. Jim Koch seems like a more mature dude. This is also not the first time I've thought Tony's tweets were out of line; somewhat.
    Nevertheless I will keep buying Lagunitas and Sam Adams. Both are good beers IMO. Lagunitas is better, in general, but SA is not bad, and many times the only decent option, so I will keep an eye out for Rebel IPA especially when I'm in that kind of place that has BMC or Sam Adams.

    Jim and Tony should brew a Reconciliation IPA collab next year.
    Theniz, Squidly, peteboiler and 5 others like this.
  20. SierraJosh

    SierraJosh Savant (275) California Aug 13, 2013

    Here, here...a toast as I pour a Sucks into the "perfect pint" tonite. Tony for crafting the beer and SA for innovative glassware. :)
    audioserf, russpowell, s_wit and 2 others like this.
  21. Boonedog

    Boonedog Aficionado (230) Illinois Apr 10, 2013

    I just finished reading "Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer" by Maureen Ogle (I recommend it highly) Amazing just how cutthroat the beer industry post-21st Amendment has been.
    Craft brewers by and large are above the fray and usually get along almost to the point of what most "business people" would call insane. There is room for everyone at the craft table and plenty of room for growth.
    BTW Tony how did you learn to write so well at BGHS?
    MrMcGibblets and azorie like this.
  22. ISO: Sam Adams/Lagunitas Sucks to be a Rebel IPA
    dennho, TrojanRB and s_wit like this.
  23. ChanChan

    ChanChan Advocate (545) California Dec 12, 2009

    I just hope this means more Sucks!!
  24. When 'Beer Wars' was shown in the theaters, there was a live broadcast of a panel discussion with the Alstrom Bros, Rhonda Kahlman (sp?), Greg Koch, probably others I'm forgetting ... AND Maureen Ogle. At the time, she was basically predicting that the current craft brewers would follow in the foot steps of the macros eventually & develop a more 'dog-eat-dog' mentality. This prediction was seen as heresy at the time (mid-2009), at least that was my impression.
  25. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Savant (280) Oklahoma Aug 10, 2013

    Interesting to see responses from both sides. I don't have access to Lagunitas unless I make a 3 hour road trip, and I do enjoy having the occasional Boston Lager on tap from most major restaurants, so I'm looking forward to see if Rebel shows up around here before too long.
  26. BeerTwigs

    BeerTwigs Savant (255) New York Jan 8, 2009

    All press for craft beer is good press. I have been to both locations and I love both of their products. I haven't tried the Rebal IPA yet but Lagunitas IPA and Sucks are great beers. Unfortunately I also see a lot of old Lagunitas here in NY which is a shame, maybe the distributors should focus on product rotation and keeping their beer fresh. Jim is a stand up guy with a very corporate response. I will keep drinking beers from both... as long as they are fresh.
    cavedave likes this.
  27. Nail on the head. Not everybody in a large company is always on the same page. Sales reps work on commissions and the very nature of their job tends to make them a little more braggadocios than the average bear. They often say things that would give the executive team a coronary. The only thing shocking to me in any of this is that Lagunitas would be so surprised at any of this.

    The more craft beer grows, the more it's going to resemble any other competitive industry.

    I love Lagunitas beers and have nothing but the utmost respect for everything Sam Adams does. But they're still competitors who are going to be fighting hard for our dollars whether they want to or not.
  28. jmmy3

    jmmy3 Savant (335) Massachusetts Nov 30, 2010

    Yeah, but are you raging about it on your business' twitter? Guess you ain't doin' it right then!
  29. jmmy3

    jmmy3 Savant (335) Massachusetts Nov 30, 2010

    Love the idea. This should definitely happen. But don't steal any IPA secrets while you're doing it, ok Jim?
  30. The business' twitter is @lagunitasbruhws. Pretty sure Tony's just using his personal twitter, though it's definitely higher profile than the actual Lag account.
    EazyBeeze likes this.
  31. Kanger

    Kanger Savant (345) New York Sep 3, 2013

    I was just about to post something similar. An over-zealous sales rep maybe trying something unbeknownst to his manager.
    Plissken and CassinoNorth like this.
  32. I think we need a collaborative "Boston Sucks" IPA to mend the fences here.

    EDIT: To make sure I'm not misunderstood, I like both breweries though I do have a more favored of the two.
  33. Just a thought this post happened to resurrect: it's not hard to make an IPA, and there aren't really any secrets. ABI could make enough Pliny the Elder to flood the market without much effort, as could BBC, and many professional brewers could make essentially the same beer. There are reasons they don't, but none of those reasons are, "They don't know the secret." I think BBC's historical attitude towards IPAs specifically and American-style hoppiness in general is silly both from a business and a subjective point of view, but it's not my business: Jim Koch controls the company.
  34. azorie

    azorie Advocate (715) Florida Mar 18, 2006

    Interesting thought. I have seen the recipe for the Pliny floating around. You think someone would try it.
  35. A recipe for a beer is a ‘dime a dozen’. It is the specifics at the brewery (brewing process specifics, the attention of the brewers to their specific processes, etc.) that truly create the beer. I have no doubt that AB could create a world class DIPA (if AB devoted the proper resources to this effort) but I seriously doubt that AB could produce a Pliney the Elder. There are just so many variable to brewing for this to happen 100%.

    Cheers!
  36. azorie

    azorie Advocate (715) Florida Mar 18, 2006

    oh I agree if some 1 could make a pliney clone they would have and called it heady topper, ducks, its a joke.
  37. lic217

    lic217 Savant (385) Connecticut Aug 10, 2010

    I didnt like Toni's responses on twitter. I thought they were over the top. However, his first post in this message was well done and wish this was the way he explained his feelings about BB (rather then the tweets). Lagunitas makes great beers and BB are usually very average. Let the beer do the talking would be my advice.
  38. jdaddy

    jdaddy Savant (285) Pennsylvania Nov 19, 2010

    The whole undergrad, law degree and MBA from Harvard probably helps in the communication as well. It is very impressive that a billionaire would take the time to address this issue here on our little forum.
    nicnut45 likes this.
  39. one thing remains true that jim failed to comment on. the beer was indeed modeled after his beer.
    zestd likes this.
  40. jmmy3

    jmmy3 Savant (335) Massachusetts Nov 30, 2010

    I was being sarcastic, you've just reinforced my point.

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