Bulljagger of Portland ME closing

Discussion in 'New England' started by mkabull, Mar 20, 2013.

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  1. mkabull

    mkabull Disciple (385) Nov 2, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I was really bummed to see this news yesterday via their Facebook page. They said Bull and Jagger are going there separate ways and the brewing equipment is already up for sale. It is unfortunate they are closing and I will miss their beers. I wish them luck in future endeavors and I am glad to see Tom Bull was asked to still make the Big Claw Pilsner (at some other brewery).
     
  2. codasnap52

    codasnap52 Aspirant (258) Jan 24, 2008 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    That's a shame. Last time I was visiting Maine my friends and I had some time to kill before the Allagash tour so we decided to wander around the industrial park. Maine Beer Co was open, but they were in full on production mode and we were only able to kill a few minutes there. After wandering to the backside of the building we found two very amiable guys brewing out of one of the garages. They invited us in and allowed us to sample a couple of the beers of Bull Jagger Brewing. It was a nice little spot and the brewers seemed like great guys. Not the most life-changing beers, but solid offerings for the styles. I wish them the best on their future endeavors.
     
  3. Bowdoinbeerboy

    Bowdoinbeerboy Zealot (526) Sep 28, 2006 Maine

    Agreed, it is sad to see them go. Best wishes to them both!
     
  4. dasenebler

    dasenebler Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    Definitely sucks for the employees and fans, but to be honest, I'm not surprised in the least. The quality was never there in the beer. Most of their offerings had serious flaws both stylistically and QC-wise.
     
  5. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2009 Maine

    And lagers are a tough market niche. It's pretty rare we hear people raving about the latest all-lager brewery (or almost-all-lager-brewery).
     
  6. dasenebler

    dasenebler Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    Very true, with Jack's Abby being one of the odd few. Then again, they brew mostly highly-hopped, non-traditional lagers. Still waiting on that North East craft brewery that makes exceptional and TRADITIONAL German/Czech lagers. This is what Bull Jagger marketed and yet woefully failed to deliver on. It's unfortunate but true that a simple, low-ABV and high-quality craft Lager is a foreign, dare I say, obsolete concept to most craft beer drinkers.
     
  7. ChickenSandwichCarl

    ChickenSandwichCarl Initiate (145) Aug 29, 2012 Maine
    Beer Trader

    Gneiss Brewing Co. is opening soon in the Limerick/Limington area. I met him when I was filling a growler atRising Tide in November and he is doing all German styles and very traditional. He was a really nice guy and I'm looking forward to it. Not a huge fan of the lagers, but I'll be giving these a shot for sure
     
    wy1dsta1yn and theo871 like this.
  8. Chowdahead

    Chowdahead Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    I would say exceptional and traditional styles are fairly obsolete for most beer styles produced in the US these days. Don't see too many exceptional but traditional British IPAs, bitters, stouts, etc. made by US craft brewers. Even most quality US made saisons and other Belgian styles are non-traditional in some way. Almost everything has some kind of twist on it or else it is difficult to get noticed in the crowded beer market.
     
  9. dciBA

    dciBA Aspirant (258) Dec 23, 2007 Maine
    Beer Trader

    Can't say I'll miss the beers but still sucks to see someone have to give up on their dream. I loved the idea of Bull Jagger, a local lager brewery, but sadly the beers just never delivered.
     
    Chowdahead likes this.
  10. Chowdahead

    Chowdahead Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    Unfortunately I think we are going to start seeing a lot more small breweries close down in the coming years as the people whose brewing skills aren't quite up to par or those who may make solid beer but don't have the business skills to turn a sustainable profit are thinned from the herd. Considering the sheer number of breweries out there right now combined with the ridiculous amount currently in planning it's going to be interesting to see who sinks and who swims.
     
  11. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2009 Maine

  12. duchessedubourg

    duchessedubourg Aspirant (231) Nov 2, 2007 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    I really enjoyed having some local lager to drink in ME, but frankly, several VT brewpubs make great, fresh lagers so I will get my fill of them here on tap. Growlers available, but no bottled ones yet.
     
  13. ToasterChef

    ToasterChef Initiate (0) Mar 26, 2008 Maine

  14. TomBull

    TomBull Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2013 Maine

    Greetings Beer Lovers~

    Tom Bull here. I wanted to post directly to this thread and dispel so much misinformation about the closing of Bull Jagger. As we announced Tuesday, Bull and Jagger are going their separate ways. In no way does this mean that I have given up on my dream of building a craft brewery dedicated to traditional German, Central, and Eastern European lagers.

    Under the circumstances, and in order to move forward with my life and plans, the Bull Jagger chapter must be closed. In less than two years, Bull Jagger brought four new Maine craft lagers to market, and based on current customer and retailer demands, I am hard at work finding a new partner or partners so I can keep brewing quality craft lagers and avoid any interruption in availability.

    I will keep you posted on my "next chapter." Don't count me out for Shelton Bros. Festival either!
     
  15. ToasterChef

    ToasterChef Initiate (0) Mar 26, 2008 Maine

    Glad to hear it!
     
  16. TomBull

    TomBull Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2013 Maine

    P.S. Fresh Big Claw packaged (bottles and kegs) this week. There are more styles lagering, which will be packaged, sold, and served up fresh. Get it while supplies last.
     
    mkabull likes this.
  17. mkabull

    mkabull Disciple (385) Nov 2, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I can't wait for the next chapter. Cheers and good luck Tom.
     
  18. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    I'd argue that Jack's Abby is doing precisely this. They make a lot of beers, some are traditional and some are not. They're more widely known for their hoppy and experimental stuff, but they certainly do balance out the portfolio.

    Fire in the Ham, Copper Legend, Saxonator, Maibock, and a few others are all very respectable takes on traditional styles. In fact, I'd go so far as to say Fire in the Ham is the best rauchbier made outside Bamberg...
     
  19. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Devotee (495) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts
    Subscriber

    It does seem like a tough market niche, but I'd list Trapp, Prodigal and Jack's Abby as a few breweries in New England that are brewing very good lagers. Granted, not all of those are easy to find at the moment, and Jack's Abby is probably known more for their non-traditional lagers. I love the idea of a small lager brewery making an approachable, easy-drinking, low-ABV and modestly priced lager for the local market. I never got to try Bull Jagger and I'm not sure if they meet that description, but I love the idea.
     
  20. dasenebler

    dasenebler Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    I've had several JA beers and they were all very hop-forward, with the exception of Smoke & Dagger. Jabbybrau drank like an American XPA to me. Hoponious Union and Kiwi Rising were decent, but they did neither the American hops thing nor the traditional Lager thing terribly well. I'd rather drink a stellar IPA. There's nothing uniquely lager-like about those beers-- they might as well be hoppy ales. I respect your opinion, but I don't think I'll ever be convinced that JA is a traditional style Lager brewery. I'll have to try some of the beers you listed though. Cheers.
     
  21. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Devotee (495) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts
    Subscriber

    I won't argue that most of what I've tried (and my favorite beers) from Jack's Abby aren't traditional lagers, and I like a traditional lager, but it seems like there's a different standard for lager breweries as there is for ale breweries. You never hear anyone complaining or commenting that an ale brewery doesn't brew traditional styles, but I often hear the critique or observation (and I've made them myself) when a lager brewery doesn't brew to traditional styles. I like a good traditional English-style ale from time to time, and a good traditional German-style lager as well, but I also like seeing breweries these days creating new and innovative American styles, or at least new takes on older styles. Obviously there are more ale breweries so this is happening a lot more with ales, but I'm glad to see breweries like Jack's Abby doing the same thing with lagers too.
     
  22. dasenebler

    dasenebler Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    I'm not complaining about JA: I'm criticizing them. They make good beer, I just don't get the highly-hopped lager thing. Lagers need to ferment for weeks and condition for months in order for the yeast to ferment and clean up undesirable compounds. Sure, you can late-hop and dry-hop the hell out of a lager, but I don't see the point. The hop flavor and aroma keep going downhill while the beer sits in the fermentation or conditioning tank, especially if you're using American hops whose aromatic oils are highly volatile and vanish like a fart in the wind after a month. I'm all for creativity, but the above just seems like a waste of hops. You'd be better off taking this hop regime and applying it to a beer that can be consumed soon after fermentation, say, an ale. Like I said earlier, I'd love to try some of JA's other brews a la Smoke & Dagger, which I thought was excellent. Prost.
     
  23. DrewShal9

    DrewShal9 Initiate (0) May 18, 2011 Massachusetts

    Best of luck Tom and looking forward to your future endeavours!
    Cheers,
    Drew
     
  24. neophilus

    neophilus Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    I thought their Baltic Porter was excellent would have liked to try it again some time, haven't been to Portland much in the last year.
     
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