A brewery's standard lineup vs. their special lineup

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Ricelikesbeer, Nov 21, 2012.

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  1. Ricelikesbeer

    Ricelikesbeer Zealot (578) Nov 29, 2006 Colorado

    Do you guys ever find that some brewery's have incredible beers that are rare or unique, while producing a so-so or kind of "blah" normal lineup of beers? I find a few CO breweries to fall under this category.

    Avery in Boulder has an amazing array of barrel aged beers, sours, and strong ales, and I probably wouldn't rate any of their normal beers higher than a B or so.

    New Belgium's Lips of Faith series is amazing, and I'm really not impressed with their other beers. I find them to be slightly outdated as far as what we know about Belgian brewing today.

    Any you guys think falls into the same category? Agree? Disagree?
    Zach136 likes this.
  2. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Between Avery and New Belgium, you listed two of the greatest examples of this that I can think of.
  3. joshclauss

    joshclauss Aspirant (243) Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Ithaca Brewing has this same phenomenon, but I'd argue to the death on Avery.

    ...and not just because I'm pimping it in my avatar.
  4. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    I think Avery IPA is outstanding, and underrated. I don't know if you put Maharaja in with their 'normal' lineup or not, but it is one of my favorite double IPA's. I don't think it's 'rare or unique'. It's just a seasonal, IMO.

    As far as New Belgium... well they put out a nice glass.
    ericwo, alexipa, FTowne and 1 other person like this.
  5. Brew33

    Brew33 Crusader (748) Oct 24, 2007 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    New Belgium is a great example.

    I'd disagree with Avery. I've found their sours to be hit or miss while Ellie's Brown Ale, Hog Heaven, and Avery IPA are excellent examples of their respective styles among others.
    nanobrew likes this.
  6. sherm1016

    sherm1016 Initiate (199) Aug 10, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Central Waters here in WI. Their regular line up is serviceable, but forgettable. However, their barrel aged stuff is phenomenal IMO.
  7. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Meyvn (1,471) Aug 14, 2005 Colorado

    Most of your regular line ups are beers that are appeasing to the masses and are easier to reproduce. Your seasonals are a bit more "beer geekish." Plus sours take a long time to produce.
    thirstygator likes this.
  8. crusian

    crusian Crusader (743) May 14, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    imo, cisco is one also... deschutes too.
  9. spark3148857

    spark3148857 Defender (647) Dec 4, 2010 California

    Southern Tier. Only the 2XIPA and 2XStout really impress me, but the Blackwater and Imperial Series has some incredible offerings.
  10. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (417) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Flower power rocks
  11. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,244) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Funny enough, Great Divide (another Colorado Brewery) seemed to agree with you a few years ago.
    Going back to the mid to late 2000's, their line-up consisted of beers like Hotshot ESB, St. Bridget's Porter, Bee Sting Honey Ale, & Ridgeline Amber.
    However, maybe 4-5 years ago they started dropping those and ended up creating a pretty geeky line-up of rotating Yeti beers and massive brews featuring strong styles from all over the world.
    It seems to have worked out for them, but I'm not sure everyone can do that.

    Fat Tire and Sunshine essentially allow New Belgium to break even or lose money on their other items. Avery's line-up of rarer beers are all priced to the point that I'm not sure the regular market would touch them. I don't think going geek-crazy is the way to go for everyone.
  12. Resuin

    Resuin Meyvn (1,287) Jun 18, 2012 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I might get slapped for this because I know a lot of people are big into the Deschutes year-round stuff, but I guess what I'm saying is that the Deschutes' "special" beers seem to be in a completely different class than their "normal" beers. Not to say their year-rounds aren't good, but I immediately thought of them when I saw this thread.
  13. eyeenjoybeer

    eyeenjoybeer Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2011 Seychelles

    Sun King's regular lineup is pretty forgettable.
    However, they seem to make some decent special brews, the best of which mostly end up at festivals or paired dinners.
  14. luisc123

    luisc123 Initiate (173) Oct 20, 2011 California

    This is what I think of Firestone. Not that their year rounds are "bad" but their special/seasonals are out of this world.
    Resuin and TWStandley like this.
  15. cid71

    cid71 Initiate (135) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey

    Flying Fish Exit series terrific but several of the regular offerings so-so. Although they just made exit 16 a regular so I'm sure they know what's most in demand
    WassailWilly and dennis3951 like this.
  16. joshclauss

    joshclauss Aspirant (243) Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I agree. But I feel like the weight of their standard-bearers is just there for show. Then, you compare the quality of those against things like Brute, Le Bleu, and the rest of the Excelsior series, and the gap is about as wide as they come. I'd say that the gap is larger just as much because of how good Brute/Le Bleu/Thirteen are as it is that the standards are so boring.
  17. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,230) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico


    Their regular lineup is pretty forgetable (at least the few regulars I have tried) but their bombers and special releases that I have tried have all been pretty fantastic. I might be a broken record on this but their Menage et Trois is one of Colorado's hidden gems.
  18. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (517) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    If you can say this about Firestone Walker, you can say this about nearly every brewery. In my opinion, their year-round lineup is top-notch for their styles IMO. Union Jack is by far my favorite IPA plus Pale 31, DBA and Double Jack, Wookey Jack, and Reserve Series Porter are above average.

    Just because FW's seasonals and specials are world class doesn't diminish their regular lineup.
  19. Ricelikesbeer

    Ricelikesbeer Zealot (578) Nov 29, 2006 Colorado

    Yes, you nailed it. I remember a few of those too. (I'm also from CO) but I still think Great divide's everyday lineup isn't bad. (I enjoy claymore, hoss, and yeti of course). But I wouldn't consider chocolate oak aged yeti part of their normal lineup.
  20. Ricelikesbeer

    Ricelikesbeer Zealot (578) Nov 29, 2006 Colorado

    And to clarify, I guess I meant a brewery's flagship beers being their "normal lineup". Avery's demon series, dictator series, and heaven and hell series I would all consider to be more special or adventurous.
  21. Ricelikesbeer

    Ricelikesbeer Zealot (578) Nov 29, 2006 Colorado

    I think Deschuttes has a great year-round normal lineup. I'd drink inversion, mirror pond, and black butte and Obsidian all day.
    TheJollyHop, TongoRad and beertunes like this.
  22. ant880

    ant880 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2010 New York

    Would Boulevard fall into this category? I ask instead of state because my only experiences with them have been their Smokestack Series (Saison Brett, Long Strange Tripel, Sixth Glass and Tank 7) and I have throughly enjoyed each of those. I have heard from several BAs, however, that their regular lineup is not great at all. I have not personally had anything from their regular lineup so I cant confirm.
  23. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    I would actually argue the exact opposite for Avery, good regular 6 pack lineup that I buy often, with special releases that are just ok, but very overpriced.

    I like New Belgium's regular lineup and their LOF beers, both are quite good with some misses and some hits.

    FW is fabulous all around.
  24. luisc123

    luisc123 Initiate (173) Oct 20, 2011 California

    Union Jack, Pale 31, DBA, and Double Jack are all "meh" to me. Sorry bout it
  25. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Then add on top of those their limited releases, The Abyss, The Dissident, Black Butte Anniversaries, and Mirror Mirror....This is what makes Deschutes world class in my opinion.They nail it with every beer.
    beertunes likes this.
  26. FTowne

    FTowne Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 Missouri

    I think that Single Wide, 80 Acre, and Bully are all fantastic beers that I buy on the regular. I personally wouldn't include Blvd in this category.
  27. Sarlacc83

    Sarlacc83 Crusader (752) Mar 2, 2008 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Except the Stoic and every variation thereof.
  28. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Sarlacc83 likes this.
  29. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (517) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Then there's something wrong with you. Just kidding. We all have different tastes.
    glaze3 likes this.
  30. Brunite

    Brunite Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2009 Illinois

    To put the reverse spin on the discussion...

    One brewery you could never say this about is Founders. Kudos to them for that!
  31. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (490) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Am I going to get flamed when I say Goose Island?

    Goose Island!
  32. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,023) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Brooklyn. Just about everything they do in a big bottle is great but their regular lineup is among the most lackluster.
    musicman7070 and rlee1390 like this.
  33. lester619

    lester619 Zealot (524) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I think Happy Heron and Glacial Trail deserve a little better than serviceable. Just sayin.
  34. beerborn

    beerborn Initiate (0) Jan 22, 2012 Georgia

    Agreed, ST's normal lineup is alright but the blackwater series is outstanding IMO
    fujindemon74 likes this.
  35. Trevdawg

    Trevdawg Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2012 New Hampshire

    Captain Lawrence
  36. Brunite

    Brunite Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2009 Illinois

  37. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (490) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

  38. Brunite

    Brunite Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2009 Illinois

    Yes. It was the English style IPA. That is a crappy link that I used!

    Here is the PDF of the results. Category #48.


    And yes; I know taste is subjective. But the results at this event, as discussed ad nauseum here a few weeks back, do count for something.
  39. alexipa

    alexipa Devotee (439) Oct 7, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    If you are counting their trinity lineup and seasonals, then I call shenanigans. If you are counting their 5-6 other beers (IPA, ellie's, white rascal, out of bounds, etc) then that's fair. They are meant to appeal to the broader market so they can continue putting out their barrel aged, sours, strong ales for so darn cheap.
  40. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    I'm going with Troegs on this one. Their seasonals or bigger beers are better than their regular 4 that you can find in their mixer & year round.
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