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Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by SeaOfShells, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    Maybe I'm out of my league, but I never hear anyone talk about Stillwater. I stay away because the price of his beers are outrageous (as with Mikkeller and Evil Twin). A local shop carries a ton of Stillwater, but I've never actually seen anyone buy it. So I ask this; is there a Stillwater beer worth pulling the trigger on?
    Stinger80OH likes this.
  2. I really enjoyed the Stateside Saison a lot.

    I always think about getting other ones too, but inevitably end up getting something else when considering the price point.
    Errto likes this.
  3. Knapp85

    Knapp85 Champion (830) Pennsylvania Dec 25, 2009 Beer Trader


    In my personal opinion.

    I buy everything they put out at least once. Hardly ever twice but I love their labels and I feel that the beer is quite good also. It's nothing to give your left nut for but they're solid brews.
    bluejacket74 likes this.
  4. smakawhat

    smakawhat Poobah (1,310) Maryland Mar 18, 2008 Verified

    Enjoyed As Follows quite a bit, and Saison Darkly. oops Saison Darkly is retired.
  5. I've only had Existent on tap somewhere and really liked it. But I echo another post above, I keep meaning to try some of their bottles but pricing deters me.
    wrycon likes this.
  6. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    The labels are very eye catching.
  7. wrycon

    wrycon Savant (280) Minnesota Apr 22, 2009

    I really like Existent. It falls right into my taste wheelhouse. There's a store over the border in WI I hit semi-regularly and my first glance is at the Stillwater for Existent.
    WYVYRN527 likes this.
  8. Knapp85

    Knapp85 Champion (830) Pennsylvania Dec 25, 2009 Beer Trader

    Jaded is also a very good beer from there as well... just looking back at my notes.

    A Saison Darkly

    all are real good, maybe just do like one at a time instead of buying all at once.
  9. Thads324

    Thads324 Savant (410) Connecticut Jan 21, 2010

    Too expensive for what they are. Around here (CT) I can get a 750 ml of most of the great allagash beers for about $10 more, which is more quantity of IMO a better beer. 6-8 dollars for those small bottles is just stupid. If I'm spending that much for a small bottle ill buy Jacobite
    jimmy666 likes this.
  10. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Advocate (625) Maryland Feb 8, 2009 Beer Trader


    There was a heated discussion about Stillwater on that thread before. It got locked down, eventually.

    Bottom line for me, I enjoy the Stillwater beers that I do try. I really love Cellar Door in the Summer Months. However, I usually wait until local beer stores start marking them $2, $3, $4 off because they just don't move at those prices. I can't justify paying $12-$15 for a 750ml of Saison when so many other great examples are out there.
  11. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,215) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member

    I've tried a good number of the Stillwater beers, most of which are solid. Admittedly, I can't really think of any that I would call extraordinary, but most are interesting and worth checking out. Just my two cents, but most of the BA reviews for these beers strike me as pretty much dead on (though like anythinig else, I wouldn't put too much stock in any BA score that is based on just one or two reviews).

    My biggest complaint about Stillwater beers is the pricing. It's been pointed out to Brian S. (the brewer at Stillwater) that his prices are high, especially when one considers that most are contract brewed at the DOG brewery in Westminster, Md., with most priced considerably higher than their Belgian counterparts. It's often pointed out to him that the price for his flagship beer (the stateside saison) is nearly twice as expensive as the Dupont Saison here in the states. While the stateside saison is tasty, I don't think many consumers would suggest it's in the same league as the Dupont Saison.

    So far, I've heard little justification for that pricing, and the explanations provided by Brain S. have not been very convincing (at least not to me). However, perhaps he'll do a better job on this thread. Brian S. has a BA account, and my impression is that he checks threads about his beer pretty frequently (or at least whenever the subject comes up, which isn't all that often). Cheers!
    ericwo, bum732 and SeaOfShells like this.
  12. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    Which is why I can't pull the trigger when I can snatch up a Hennepin for half the price.
    fmccormi and jimmy666 like this.
  13. stonermouse

    stonermouse Savant (485) Massachusetts Aug 16, 2006 Verified

    Many of Stillwater's labels are designed by Lee Verzosa, a tattoo artist at Ghost Town Odditorium in MD. Just a bit of trivia for you... I love tattoos even more than beer, so this was an interesting note that I picked up at last year's EBF.
  14. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    I think the artwork is awesome. Thanks for the info.
  15. ncaudle

    ncaudle Advocate (690) Virginia May 28, 2010 Beer Trader

    the BA Stateside is one of my favorite brews.
    Saison Darkly (only when fresh) Outblack, Existent and Jaded are really good too.

    like Evil Twin, Stillwater is contracted to 12%. even though some of his beers are brewed domestically, they still have to go through an extra parties hands for distribution.
  16. C20Percent

    C20Percent Savant (335) Virginia Aug 24, 2011

    I've only ever had Stateside and thought it was kind of boring -- just better than average. I still have Cellar Door and Debutante at home waiting for drinking.
  17. I bought two of his beers recently (Folklore and Existent). I had the Existent a few weeks ago, and thought it was delicious. The Folklore I have had before because a friend couldn't stand it. I think it is great.
  18. As Follows is really good, Cellar Door..
    actually they're all really good.

    Not sure why the complaining about price. In MD they are like 8.99 -9.99 a 750. Some of the smaller beers are like 6 or 7$...so don't buy those. Meanwhile ALL the Evil Twin beers are outrageous. I guess its different in other states.
  19. I have never bought a beer from Stillwater, Mikeller, Evil Twin, Nebraska or any other gypsy/contact or start-up brewery who decides to charge >$12 for a bomber of their beer.

    Sure, Ive probably missed out on a few gems from breweries like that, but I've saved myself a bunch of money that I can spend on Lagunitas, Stone, Sierra, FW & homebrewing
  20. FWIW - In the Boston area, Stillwater ales are all $12 and up.
  21. Very well put.
  22. poopinmybutt

    poopinmybutt Savant (300) Nebraska May 25, 2005

    as follows is awesome and worth the money
    GennyCreamAle and larryi86 like this.
  23. Goosey

    Goosey Aficionado (240) Missouri Jan 18, 2012

    I love these breweries who focus on Belgian style brews and Saisons. When the weather starts getting warmer this brewery is always a sure shot when I'm done with barley wines and stouts for the year. This is the same reason I like JP and Vivant.
  24. bstill

    bstill Aficionado (205) Maryland Nov 29, 2005

    hello all.. thanks for the thoughts & conversation.. big changes are coming very soon with Stillwater.. i believe it will make many of you happy.. as promised, as soon as i could, i would ;)

    StoutHunter, kuhndog, ncaudle and 6 others like this.
  25. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Savant (435) Connecticut Jul 16, 2005

    While the beer is pricey, just make sure you understand why. For starters, the beer is contract/gypsy brewed, so cost is partially controlled by the brewery that brews it for Stillwater. Secondly, the beer passes through 12% Imports and then to distribution - so the price will go up a bit compared to other American beer.

    AS for quality, they make incredible beer, whether I love every single one or not. I'll continue to support it...especially if the price creeps down a bit as bstill seems to be hinting at...

  26. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    Now THIS is integrity. I really respect brewers who actually respond to feedback given. I'm infinitely more likely to buy a product if I feel like the company actually wants my money. Cheers to you.
    Schwantz and bstill like this.
  27. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,475) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    I have had a few of their beers and they have all been solid. It's just the price point that's killer.
  28. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    I picked up a growler of their Table Beer at Westbrook a while back. My favorite beer produced at that brewery so far ;)
  29. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    I do enjoy a good saison, so I think I'll pick up a Stateside this weekend and drink it during the game.
  30. larryi86

    larryi86 Poobah (1,045) Delaware Apr 4, 2010 Beer Trader

    I feel Stillwater makes great beers and I like to have something from them once a month. They are a little pricey but I feel it is worth it. The only stuff I haven't been a big fan of is the beers they put in bourbon barrels, but their wine barrel aged beers are great.
  31. socon67

    socon67 Champion (815) New York Jun 18, 2010 Verified

    I had a Stateside on tap this week. Good saison, and if their other offerings are as well done I'd look to try them at some point.
  32. hctap00

    hctap00 Aficionado (205) Maryland Nov 2, 2012

    I've only had a few Stillwater beers, and only on tap at Of Love and Regret in Canton (great place btw). Never purchased a bottle. Every one I have had has been very unique and made me think, "Wow, this tastes like no other beer I have had." Not necessarily my favorites, but all enjoyable. As Follows is probably my favorite.
  33. I've never bought a Stillwater bottle, but I almost always order it on tap when I see it. Their barrel-aged brews in particular are pretty stellar.
  34. jimmy666

    jimmy666 Savant (250) Maryland Jun 20, 2010

    IMO not worth it, too expensive compared to many comparable or even better beers even in MD.
  35. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Massachusetts Aug 13, 2007

    Haven't had a bad beer from them that I can remember, but I've only had a few due to price. Looking forward to the decrease.
  36. Debauched was excellent. But it's true, the price is crazy. I think I paid $11 for 12oz.
  37. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,215) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member

    Not to rehash the previous thread, but that's exactly my point. As consumers, there are a lot of options out there these days, so price and value are always going to be a consideration. As I indicated, I think Stillwater beers are intereseting and pretty solid, but typically they're not so wonderful (IMHO) that I want to forgo the opportunity to drink several other good beers, just to drink a Stillwater beer (it's all about opportunity cost).

    There may be plenty of good reasons why Stillwater beers are so expensive (I haven't heard them yet, at least not to my satisfaction), but that doesn't make my wallet feel any better when I'm forced to plunk down $11 or $12 for a 11.2 ounce stubbie of the Now and Then project. Sure it's a nice beer, but at least for me, I feel I can find a number of equally satisfactory options (or better options) for far less money. Until that changes, I probably will continue to drink Stillwater beers infrequently.
    jimmy666 likes this.
  38. I think Stillwater beers are unique and consistently very well made with subtlety and complexity, and I seek them out. Cellar Door is probably my favorite saison. Autumnal, Folklore, and Debutante were all great. Of Love And Regret was really good too if you can still find it.

    The price is high on some of them but so are a lot of beers from other good breweries. Stillwater has earned enough respect from me for me to try anything I see from them at least once. Some were not my thing (Existent, Table Beer) but they can't all be winners.
  39. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Advocate (745) Massachusetts Mar 17, 2009 Beer Trader

    Table Saison and Premium were good. Their other beers haven't swayed me from all the other great saisons locally made that are cheaper. I think it's pointless to pay more.
    jimmy666 likes this.
  40. From that thread:

    The fallacy behind that kind of comparison is that Lost Abbey and Russian River have huge reputations that are built up over years of producing highly-acclaimed beers (and not only their expensive ones, either) so they can get away with that kind of pricing (if the beer backs it up). Convincing someone to spend pricing comparable to a Lost Abbey or Russian River sour/Belgian style beer from a small gypsy brewery they might have never heard of is a much more difficult proposition.