Coming Home to Local Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by fx20736, May 17, 2017 at 12:34 AM.

  1. fx20736

    fx20736 Meyvn (1,003) Mar 7, 2009 New York

    30 years a beer drinker-the last 10 mostly craft. When I started drinking craft it was English, German and Belgian beers. Later I discovered domestic craft from New England, the Midwest and California. Now, I find that I prefer buying beer brewed in NY State, especially stuff brewed within 50 miles of my home. It's not that I feel that local beer is better, rather I think it is a desire to support my neighbors. I've taken a few brewery tours, met some cool people and would rather give my money to them rather than someone hundreds or thousands of miles of away. sometimes I put this preference over buying some proven top notch favorites. Who else feels this way?
    nater919, BJB13, utopiajane and 7 others like this.
  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,864) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If it's equally enjoyable and fresh, local gets my money.

    But I don't pass on beers brewed elsewhere just because they aren't local, especially when there's no local counterpart.
  3. bbtkd

    bbtkd Champion (849) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota

    I will certainly be sure to try local beers of the styles I like, but I won't buy them over out-of-area favorites unless they are better. To me, being local does not add to the taste, it has to stand out on its own merits. I've had a couple of locals that I'll get again, though they're not in my top 20.
  4. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (263) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico
    Beer Trader

    Mediocre local beer is not fun for me anymore. Competition is too stiff. With that, locals now produce some of the best I have ever had.

    I feel bad for those who may have only one or two local options that sort of suck. Support them but at the same time, try to encourage a better product
    Alexmc2 likes this.
  5. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Meyvn (1,419) Aug 10, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    I could drink California beers for the remainder of my life and be completely satisfied, except for Founders beers such as KBS, Founders Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard, Imperial Stout, Porter, Curmudgeon, Sumatra Mountain Brown, these I will always seek out and enjoy.
  6. NotAlcoholicJustAHobby

    NotAlcoholicJustAHobby Zealot (577) Jun 13, 2015 Vermont

    Buying local is a first world problem for me....
    Geuzedad, rronin, bostonvert and 2 others like this.
  7. bbtkd

    bbtkd Champion (849) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota

    I like locals such as Oskar Blues, Founders, GI, Prairie, etc. They are all locals to someone.
    Geuzedad, rronin, GrumpyGas and 2 others like this.
  8. kool-aid

    kool-aid Initiate (165) Apr 3, 2017 Vermont

    Well, I do feel my locals are freaking amazing and definitely love to support them. Even the most dive-y bars have something worth drinking and going to shows means enjoying a Heady or SOS alongside the music.

    Still, it's exciting to get out of state brews, especially on draft, and I always love to give them a try. It's like a road trip without having to go very far or spend gas money.
  9. Kriztofuhr

    Kriztofuhr Initiate (196) Mar 6, 2017 New Hampshire

    I think I'm more of a "region" guy. New England/ North East beers always seem much more traditional and balanced to me (compared to west coast), and that's usually what I look for. All of my favorite breweries are relatively close to each other (Dogfish Head, Smuttynose, Allagash, Ommegang).
    Junior, Chipotle and kculrich like this.
  10. RandyCongdon

    RandyCongdon Initiate (138) Nov 23, 2016 Nevada

    I buy regional beers, but most of the local brews aren't as exciting as those in 2 surrounding states.
  11. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (372) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I tend to give locals the nod over their more far-flung counterparts but that's easy enough to do with the options at hand in MA. If I lived somewhere with fewer good local options this policy would likely be subjected to review and revision.
    BJB13, Geuzedad, Junior and 1 other person like this.
  12. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Aspirant (215) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio

    I like to support locals (estimate 60% of my drinking), but subjective quality is always the determining factor if deciding between beers I've already had.
    BJB13 and Junior like this.
  13. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Meyvn (1,330) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    I support all the local breweries that can/bottle. While I've visited a few of the other draft-only places, I just find it difficult to set aside a time to drive downtown and get a beer. Between training, working, and training - sometimes the only time I can drink a beer is 9 PM after a track workout. I won't be driving around looking for a beer at that point.

    Martin City is perhaps one of my favorite local breweries, and the one I've tried the most offerings from. I've dedicated entire NBS days just to what they are doing. It's not necessarily because they are the best in town, but rather they can 6pks and bottle in bombers quite frequently. So it's easy to snag some of their offerings and drink them at my leisure.
    BJB13, Geuzedad and Junior like this.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,677) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I buy a lot of locally produced beer but a big factor here is that I have lots of high quality breweries in my area. If this wasn't the case I would likely be buying non-local.


  15. Squire123

    Squire123 Meyvn (1,166) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Of course I want to support locals be they brewers, bakers or others. Yet I have to ask if they want my support don't they have a reciprocal duty to support me?

    Last week I spotted a fresh batch of a local imperial red ale which I have reviewed and rated 4.06. This label was first introduced in a 4 pack of 16 oz cans for $6.99, now it's offered in a 4 pack of 12 oz cans for $10.99.

    Within arms reach was a 6 pack of 12 oz Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Red which I have reviewed and rated 4.08. The price of this one was $8.99.

    So, two brews that I like equally. I can have either 4 for $10.99 or 6 for $8.99. Which of these brewers is supporting me?
    #15 Squire123, May 17, 2017 at 2:40 PM
    Last edited: May 17, 2017 at 2:45 PM
  16. HopsDubosc

    HopsDubosc Initiate (170) Apr 24, 2015 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    I could happily subsist on a diet of beers within 59.6 miles from my home (amended to include HF) with the caveat that I could continue to enjoy "local" beers when travelling. One of my favorite things to do is visit other states and try their brews at the source.
  17. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (117) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    MA drinker here. So Many good, fresh local options. I buy Rodenbach and Sierra Nevada for stuff not local , that's it. Some VT stuff when traveling for mt bike stuff. Most within 50 miles. Smuttynose, Harpoon, Jacks Abby, Notch, Cambridge Brewing, Nightshift, Wormtown, Wachusett. etc. And world class. Newer one like Castle Island, Exhibit A, Building 8 are great too. No CA stuff.
    kculrich likes this.
  18. tlema1

    tlema1 Meyvn (1,220) Nov 19, 2008 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I don't care if it's brewed on Mars, if it's good, I'm drinking it over the mediocre local breweries in my city
  19. RogelioRodriguez

    RogelioRodriguez Initiate (149) Nov 7, 2015 California

    Tell the local brewery to shove it.
    tzieser and Squire123 like this.
  20. Jaguar10301

    Jaguar10301 Initiate (141) Mar 1, 2010 Maine

    I like the idea of being part of a community and here in Maine and Portland specifically we have a great selection of breweries. I'd prefer a little less obsession with IPA's but thats the industry as a whole (I love IPA's for the record just not that every email from my bottle shop has 7 new IPA's, I like SOME variety). Still I am happy to buy local beers if they are good and I guess would prefer to do so over something similar out of state... I also like to travel though and love exploring other beer communities..
    Junior and LeRose like this.
  21. LeRose

    LeRose Savant (936) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    I am a mixed bag. I believe in the idea of supporting local, but as I have said many times in similar conversations I have been disappointed too many times to say I will strictly drink local beers. With the distribution in my home area, I would say I am mostly a regional drinker. That said, I will not shy away from buying/trying something from elsewhere just because it isn't made around the corner.

    When I travel, I at least try and pick up some in-state and local beers to try. At home, I have pretty much decided who's good and who isn't.
  22. tzieser

    tzieser Crusader (782) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    For the most part the local stuff is fresh and therefore tasty so that's what I typically buy. I won't buy a beer just because it's local though. It has to be as good, or better than other beers on the shelf.

    Unfortunately you can't always buy local when it comes to not-so-trendy (on BA) styles like Adjunct Lager or Malt Liquor. You'll usually have to support Big Beer if you are looking for one of those....
    bubseymour likes this.
  23. ovaltine

    ovaltine Meyvn (1,115) Apr 6, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    If I lived in Decorah, IA or Minneapolis or Chicago (which in my world includes Gary and Munster, IN), I'd probably drink nothing but local.
    Scott17Taylor likes this.
  24. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Aspirant (252) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm squarely in the local camp. If I'm traveling, I'll always opt for a beer local to that city/state, otherwise, it's usually an Arizona beer for me. I do occasionally get excited about a beer from an out-of-state brewery that I make it a point to try (e.g., every release from MT that makes it to AZ, fresh hop beers, etc.), but that is usually limited to only a few purchases per season.

    That means that if I ever move out of the area, I'll be buying all new beer. I believe that almost every part of the country has some great local beer, and I'd emphasize the superior freshness that local places tend to provide over name recognition.

    Although, the majority of my consumption couldn't get more local - it's brewed right at home! ;)
    BJB13, sharpski and Junior like this.
  25. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (158) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    I travel a decent amount for work and these days rarely find a place where the local beer isn't good to great. At home I drink mostly local because there are so many options, I also consider local to be anywhere in New England. I'm not exclusive to local though either but I do prefer local, all things being equal.

    @Squire123 brought up a good point with price and I'm not sure I'd limit it to local. Its pretty easy to find large distribution beers that are as good or nearly as good as some smaller breweries who charge 2-4 time more for a similar product. I've spent $12-16 on some bombers which aren't any better than a 4 pack of some of Founders releases at the same price or less. The bomber sells out quickly and you can pick up something equivalent pretty easily at your leisure. I think the industry overall is still trying to figure out what the pricing model is for small distribution beer. Wow beers are getting easier and easier to get, there's got to be some pricing pressure beginning to start.
    BJB13, Junior and Squire123 like this.
  26. Riff

    Riff Devotee (486) May 12, 2016 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    Mixed bag. I have a couple of local brewers that I like to purchase from and I'm usually willing to give anything a try once, never know if one is going to surprise you. However I don't limit myself to the locals. Too much good beer out there.
  27. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Meyvn (1,022) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Decorah only has 2 breweries, both incredible, but I would still mix it up a lot.
    I'm in Des Moines and I make the effort to get to every local brewery at least once. We're becoming an incredible beer city for only having a half million people. We have madhouse cranking out very good sours and 2 awesome BA stouts, one maple breakfast stout and one Mexican, cinnamon and chilis. We've got 515 killing it with IPAs and pale ales, confluence just being good all around and exile with some very nice berliners with average core beers. There are a few breweries that aren't great and they don't really get much of my business. You still have to be good not just local.
    ovaltine likes this.
  28. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (1,871) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I don't give bias to beers based on distance from my house. Quality and price are my only deciding factors. But I love stopping in nanos to sample. Embrace the social beer culture. It's fun.
    Junior likes this.
  29. WV_Charles_Homebrew

    WV_Charles_Homebrew Initiate (111) Wednesday West Virginia

    When I first moved to WV at the tail end of 2004, local was not even an option, unless you brewed it yourself at home. Not a single in-state brewery. And you couldn't buy anything craft that was not SABL. It was a beer wasteland. Still probably would seem like one to most of you compared to the fantastic options many of you enjoy. But it has gotten steadily better, and has practically exploded in the past couple of years. Some of those are middling affairs though--I now have the option to be choosy. I drink local as much as I can, when the quality is there. Greenbriar Valley Brewing (my personal fave), and Big Timber are the best options with local distro that I have found and I support them as much as I can, and Dobra Zupas is an awesome local brew pub. Its finally become possible to enjoy great local beer, aside from the stuff I brew myself, but the offerings are still far too anemic for local to make up even close to half of my purchases.
    BJB13, cavedave, Junior and 2 others like this.
  30. bostonvert

    bostonvert Initiate (113) Feb 24, 2017 Belgium

    100% true
    I summer in VT and study in Brussels so I'm basically in beer paradise all year round!

    Whenever I'm traveling I always pick up local stuff, I love the never ending quest for interesting beers. I stop by 3F, Cantillon and the other lambic breweries atleast once a month and always keep track on new local breweries. So much good stuff from Brasserie De la Senne, Brussels beer project and so many more not to mention Hill, Longtrail and the Alchemist. There is just to much to keep up with!
  31. RogelioRodriguez

    RogelioRodriguez Initiate (149) Nov 7, 2015 California

    Fresher beer is generally better, so sticking with a 50 mile radius is a smart choice. But it can be said that certain production reaches a bigger volume and that beer sits on the shelves longer.

    Big box stores will have larger stocks and if it doesn't move, usually give preference to mainstream products that move. What is good, is to support small beer specialty shops. They have lesser inventory and rotate more frequently small production runs.

    I don't think it's reasonable to suggest bigger or smaller are necessarily better. For me, I want to support small production breweries that make something special and complex to drink.

    Sadly the standard procedure for little breweries is be arrogant and make comparable styles to what is already on the shelves and expect us to bend over backwards to support them.

    Just because you are small and your margins are tight doesn't mean I want to support you. I want exceptionally complex beer, if the price is higher it should reflect the actually process of bottle conditioning, lagering or barrel storage...yeast management what ever.

    But when I see a whack and serve style ale....something that fermented quick and went to the keg quick, I just don't feel compelled to pay more for a less than a remarkable style. I am bored of craft beer because it is all too redundant.

    The little guy wants to guilt trip us into thinking they make a better product because it's more local. But that has little to do with the fact that the same grains and hops are used...from the same massive ingredient supply houses.

    But yes, it is generally nice to have a supply of smaller volume producers in a tight radius making fresher beer. Then you know at least it won't be too old.
  32. Daveshek28

    Daveshek28 Initiate (108) Nov 10, 2015 New York
    Beer Trader

    Honestly, 90% of the beer in my fridge is currently local. When you have Finback, Singlecut, Grimm, Other Half, Sand City, Interboro, LIC Beer project access, there is almost no reason not to go local! It's all super fresh too, instead of the "shelf turds" you find at most beer shops.
  33. bonsainut

    bonsainut Initiate (13) Oct 23, 2014 California

    As long as local brewers focus solely on IPA's I will happily drink imported lagers :)

    Hey I know ales are cheaper to brew, and overhopping your beer hides cheap ingredients and nasty off-flavors (hence why the Brits used it for shipping their product to India half the world away) but the IPA bum-rush in the market has gotten ridiculous.
  34. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (1,749) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    But Craft Beer is all about increasing your choices ;).
    woodchipper and herrburgess like this.
  35. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Meyvn (1,226) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    I don't know as I prefer local over other equally as good beers. I do my best to try beers from a newly opened place or even visiting the taproom. Each beer, no matter where it is from, has to grab my attention and be a good beer.

    Luckily Seattle has an abundance of breweries that produce good/great/amazing beers year round and gets some great distro options in too.
  36. Junior

    Junior Aspirant (258) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I guess I am more in the fresh camp. I buy local because I can get it fresh, if they are good/great. Even with Bells and Founders I usually stick to seasonal releases as these are likely to be fresh. Two Hearted is only year 'round that I buy regularly from those two. I think the only two beers that I have bought in the last year or so that have a national distribution or from outside of my region are Enjoy By and Born Yesterday. I support local breweries when traveling as well.

    Also, I prefer to support local. I'd rather buy from a local hardware store than Lowes or Home Depot. I don't. remember the last time I went to Walmart. I support local restaurants as well, especially when traveling. They have so much more to offer IMO. And usually you get the best of both worlds, great local food and great local beer.

    For me a lot of it has to do with being an educated and conscious consumer. If my local source can provide good value (not necessarily the lowest cost) they will get my business ahead of the national or regional source.
    bostonvert likes this.
  37. bonsainut

    bonsainut Initiate (13) Oct 23, 2014 California

    Don't get me wrong - I like local and I like fresh. When I lived in Germany 85% of the time I was drinking one of a number of lagers brewed within 20 miles. But taken as a whole, I think the US craft beer scene is way too IPA-centric for me. And nothing saddens me more when I go to a local micro-brew and half of their offerings are variations on IPA's.
    JBogan and Kriztofuhr like this.
  38. IBUBrew

    IBUBrew Initiate (128) May 6, 2017 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    I love to support local business, but as others have said, I try to go for something new (to me), or a brew I know I'll like.

    It just so happens that most of those beers, new and ones I like, are being made within a couple hours of me.
  39. rronin

    rronin Initiate (177) Jul 4, 2005 Washington

    I live in the Tacoma/Seattle/Everett megalopolis. Drink Local and Drink The Freshest IPA Possible is a near religious obsession around here. For myself, I don't drink much IPA and where my beer is brewed isn't that big a deal.
    bonsainut and cavedave like this.
  40. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (268) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

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