Breweries that have exceeded your expectations

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by LCB_Hostage, Feb 21, 2013.

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  1. LCB_Hostage

    LCB_Hostage Initiate (0) Jan 30, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Someone recently started a really cool thread about breweries that just haven't managed to impress you despite having a good reputation. I thought it might be fun to look at the question from the other direction now. So, what breweries make beer you weren't that excited to try at first, but now you're glad you did?

    First on my list has to be Victory. As a SE Pennsylvania resident I just always took them for granted. Their beer was everywhere and it was always priced so reasonably that I figured it had to be sorta second tier. But I can honestly say, I've never had a Victory product that wasn't good to great, and I've tried a lot. The do everything well, and I can't figure out how they can keep their prices so low and still make money.

    Second would probably be Troegs, for many of the same reasons listed above. Plus, I've come to really appreciate their willingness to bring some west coast hopmania home to PA.

    So, what brewers brought an unexpected grin to your face.
    jjchristiano likes this.
  2. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2012 Maryland

    In before HF HT 3F blah blah blah
    TheMonkfish likes this.
  3. Mercury4040

    Mercury4040 Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2012 California

    Alpine Beer Company hands down. The brewery is about the size of apartment and you can drive by about a hundred times and never notice it. No fuss, just great beer. The best IPA's in the world are born in that little shack.
    BrianTheBrewer30 likes this.
  4. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (281) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    Oskar Blues has those funky looking cans that kinda put me off but I tried their beers and I really liked them.
    Blueribbon666 likes this.
  5. Nectar

    Nectar Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2013 New Jersey

    Uinta- specifically their crooked line series. Labyrinth is just great.
    Kmccabe33, haruspexvic and afrokaze like this.
  6. mecummins

    mecummins Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2012 Illinois

    There's a new local brewery in Chicago named Begyle Brewery that I got to try as a recent fest. I had barely even heard of them before and gave their stuff a shot mainly because there wasn't a line in front of their table. They ended up having some of my favorite pours of the whole fest. They dry hop all of their beers and the owners took the time to discuss why they chose certain flavor notes over others in the beers they were serving. I'm excited to find a few bottles now to try again.
  7. Pgarand

    Pgarand Initiate (121) Jan 8, 2009 New Hampshire

    Jack's Abby in MA is a new favorite of mine. They have only been around for a couple of years but continue to make one great lager after another.
    cincysig and BostonHops like this.
  8. harrymel

    harrymel Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2010 Washington

    afrokaze likes this.
  9. SanFranJake

    SanFranJake Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    SNBC, FW, Stone, Bell's
  10. Wilb

    Wilb Initiate (0) Oct 18, 2011 Michigan

    This week, Maine Brewing. Peeper, Mo, Zoe and King Titus have all been very nice.
  11. Jacurdy60

    Jacurdy60 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2013 Massachusetts

    Back Forty in Gadsden, AL. I am from Alabama, and don't expect much from our breweries because AL is one of the worst states to live in if you appreciate good craft beer, but Back Forty makes some fantastic beers. If you have the means, try their Naked Pig Pale Ale, Freckle Belly, and the Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale
  12. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    As soon as I saw the thread title I thought "Victory". To me they don't make the best beers on the street, but to me they make some well crafted brews that are readily available at a lot of supermarkets and bottle shops around here at a crazy low price. They seem to cover a lot of turf in terms of different styles and somehow seem to always come up with a product of good to excellent quality (Storm King and V-12 are foolishly cheap for how decent they are.)

    Thanks OP for starting a positive post!
  13. Ericness

    Ericness Initiate (186) Nov 21, 2012 Massachusetts

    Another Jack's Abbey vote. I remember randomly trying them when I first started seeing them in bottles and was greatly impressed. Everything I've had from them that's followed that I've liked too.
  14. Arbitrator

    Arbitrator Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2008 California

    Sante Adairius
    afrokaze likes this.
  15. HopsintheSack

    HopsintheSack Devotee (452) Apr 17, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Alesmith. They have a great core line up first and experiment later. Every beer they make is a great representation of that style.

    Some of these new up and coming breweries do it all backasswards. The first beer they make is a nitro, chili pepper IPA, but the base IPA itself sucks.
    teamwiggum likes this.
  16. cway2031

    cway2031 Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2013 Illinois

    +1 Uinta
    bifrost17 likes this.
  17. jhhollier

    jhhollier Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2008 Louisiana

    Clown Shoes, the artwork on the labels and the name choices kinda threw me off but the beers are all very solid IMO. Really enjoy Hoppy Feet 1.5, Chocolate Sombrero, Muffin Top and Third Party Candidate.
  18. jjchristiano

    jjchristiano Aspirant (263) Sep 24, 2009 New Jersey

    Flying Fish and River Horse. Two Jersey breweries that whenever I get one of their offerings, I find them always of high quality. If I see them on tap in a local joint I always take one.
  19. Anker13

    Anker13 Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2011 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Great Lakes. All their beers are super clean and true to the style. In terms of consistently great overall quality, they're almost as good as Harpoon
    TomTwanks likes this.
  20. DHS1029

    DHS1029 Aspirant (252) Feb 14, 2013 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Pipeworks, a local here in Chicago. So far everything I have had from them has been phenomenal! I love it
    Zuidman likes this.
  21. semibaked

    semibaked Zealot (573) Mar 27, 2007 Illinois

    Russian River
    Firestone Walker
    Drie Fonteinen
  22. TomTwanks

    TomTwanks Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2011 Ohio

    I second GLBC. Some of the best lagers in the country for sure...and I've never had a bad product. Anything dark or malty they got it on lock down...and alchemy hour is pretty stellar!

    Edit - Almost forgot Columbus Brewing Co - every beer they make is phenomenal!
  23. BrianTheBrewer30

    BrianTheBrewer30 Aspirant (211) Nov 17, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Jack's Abbey. Such wonderful things happening in MA.
  24. RblWthACoz

    RblWthACoz Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Ithaca. Mostly because I remember the days before Brute, and etc.
    Anker13 likes this.
  25. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (580) Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Industry Beer Trader

    Sante Adairius is my new homer brewery. Pretty much one homebrewer and his wife doing their thing, but the beer is unique and almost always excellent.
  26. Tballz420

    Tballz420 Meyvn (1,187) Mar 4, 2003 Minnesota

    Dont over look victory, one of the best breweries pound for pound.
  27. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,667) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Toppling Goliath from Iowa
    hardy008 likes this.
  28. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Yes, to this. Oskar Blues arrived in Ohio shortly after Sixpoint's arrival & after being disappointed w/Sixpoint's stuff I had tread lightly w/Oskar @ 1st but I've enjoyed everything that I've had Ten Fidy, Old Chub & Lil Yella Pils being frequent purchases.
  29. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    You beat me to it. I live in Seattle and have only had their stuff through trade, and it's all been outstanding.
    Durb777 likes this.
  30. BCarder

    BCarder Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Massachusetts

  31. n2185

    n2185 Poo-Bah (1,911) Apr 14, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I could list dozens of great breweries, but much of the time they are simply meeting expectations rather than exceeding them. I'm not surprised when I get a great beer from Stone or Founders or Bell's or Russian River. It's just what I've come to expect.

    For surprising breweries, Lagunitas probably meets the criteria. I had always thought of them as a brewery that makes decent, but cheap, beers. Nothing of theirs particularly offended me (until Cappuccino Stout), but none wowed me either. Then I had Little Sumpin' Sumpin', Sumpin' Wild, and Sucks and was really impressed by all three.

    I recently made a cross-country drive and detoured a decent bit just to go through Kernville. We stayed in a lodge that was not but maybe 50 feet from the brewery. I had high expectations from the brewery and they were definitely met, though oddly not by the beers I was expecting. I tried Just Outstanding right away and while it was certainly good, the 5th Anniversary/Winter Ale and Class V Stout were the two that impressed me the most. All-in-all, an awesome experience. Plus they sell reusable cloth six-pack bomber carriers with their logo! That's just about the handiest damned beer-related paraphernalia I've bought since my keychain bottle opener.
  32. DHS1029

    DHS1029 Aspirant (252) Feb 14, 2013 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I you need more pipeworks and want to trade let me know. Right now they are on fire and churning out brand new batches every 2 weeks. Plus I can think of a few west coast offerings that we don't get here that I would want :slight_smile:
  33. atomic

    atomic Disciple (332) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    We only just started getting them in Chicago and everything I've had from them has been great. Really enjoyed hop henge and chain breaker particularly. I can really drink chain breaker all day.

    But double second on the pipeworks. I actually know one of the two guys behind it and when I saw he stared a brewery I was pretty excited but had little faith it would be successful. Man how wrong I was. It's not even been a year since they opened the doors on their facility and they have a longer list of solid beers under their belt than most well established breweries.
  34. haruspexvic

    haruspexvic Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2012 Illinois

    great lakes
  35. mudbug

    mudbug Defender (612) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

  36. Jonada

    Jonada Champion (841) May 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Great Divide's beers pretty consistently exceed my expectations
  37. Kmccabe33

    Kmccabe33 Aspirant (216) Nov 4, 2011 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Jack's Abbey, and I can't even get it down here. I thought no way Hoponius Union was as good as people said, but boy was I wrong. Could drink that by the gallon.
  38. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (2,568) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Dark Horse. Didn't know much about them, but I have had some nice beer from them.
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