GABF Winners: Rants n Raves

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by beertunes, Oct 13, 2012.

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  1. SP23

    SP23 Initiate (147) Aug 21, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    The judges did not feel that any of the beers deserved a gold. Style guidelines play a big part in judging.
  2. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,318) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    A quick look showed that 4 other breweries in Wyoming won medals, one would think that some have homegrown talent. :slight_smile:
    HopHead84 likes this.
  3. mweso2000

    mweso2000 Disciple (389) Apr 10, 2010 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Funkwerks. Visited the brewery this summer. They make some seriously tasty beers. If you are ever in Fort Collins check them out.
  4. SudsandBuds

    SudsandBuds Initiate (0) May 15, 2007 California

    Not sure I would classify Cafe Racer 15 as sweeter/maltier...
  5. jacewg

    jacewg Defender (609) Jan 7, 2012 District of Columbia

    Maybe not in the grand scheme of things. I was referring to my preferences. It would be incredible if it were a touch drier. Just my opinion. I still really liked it.
  6. HopHead84

    HopHead84 Poo-Bah (3,190) Nov 29, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Ah, I didn't notice the others. I'm sure some of them are Wyoming brewers. I've only skimmed the results.
  7. wonderbread23

    wonderbread23 Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2009 New York

    There is a huge difference between what is popular and tastes 'good', and what fits best into a beer style description within the structure of a blind tasting. BTW, Devils Backbone is making amazing clean lagers. They deserved their medals. They just don't get a ton of hype since they're doing lager primarily and not BA beers, hop bombs, or sours.
    ncaudle, hopfenunmaltz and SalukiAlum like this.
  8. erway

    erway Initiate (153) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico

    While I completely agree, have you seen what the cost on the "Enjoy By" from Stone is? There's a reason. There is NO way to ensure the freshness of hop character that you all look for in an IPA. We can guarantee a level of freshness as far as O2 is concerned, but that being said.. how much do you want to pay for beer? I live in a 1,200 sf house. I am not rich and neither are most of the brewery owners I know. I have recalled beer, and so have most of my colleagues, but how fresh do you want your beer and how much are you willing to spend?

    Your analogy of food is kinda ridiculous IMO. Beer has killed a person 4 times in the last 100 years and that was from the barley used, not the age of the beer. The FDA could give a shit less what the food smells or tastes like. Brewers do care what our beer smells and taste like, but we can only do so much without charging an astronomical amount for our beer.
  9. Findog

    Findog Initiate (122) Nov 28, 2006 Colorado

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the judging is blind. The fact that Michigan, or South Dakota, or this brewery or that brewery only won a single medal is irrelevant. Why does a beer win a gold medal one year, never to be heard from again? Pallets change, agricultural products change from year to year based on moisture, heat, etc. Celebrate the the winners. It gives me new beers to search out and try. Cheers​
    beertunes likes this.
  10. SalukiAlum

    SalukiAlum Disciple (335) Dec 19, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I don't think they vote for their favorite beer in each category, rather the best beer that fit that styles category, ummm okayyyy
  11. SalukiAlum

    SalukiAlum Disciple (335) Dec 19, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I love the awards, lot of fun! Introduces me to new breweries and beers! But I know what beers I like and who to trust. But if I can I love to taste some winners and see what I think. Often I agree, sometimes I don't. Evereyone has a different pallate.
  12. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    I'd happily pay more for better beer, and fresher beer is better beer. The kind of people who care about extreme freshness (beer geeks) are exactly the kind of people who are generally not hyper price sensitive. (Some are, but as a group we are generally not) Bottom line - if it's a choice between a $9.99 6-pack of IPA that is 3 months old, and a $12.99 6-pack of IPA that is 1 week old, I'm going to happily choose the 1 week old version despite the 30% higher cost.

    My food analogy has absolutely nothing to do with getting sick, and everything to do with freshness and flavor. Somebody else brought up regulation, that wasn't my argument. A stale loaf of bread from the bakery tastes about as good as a stale beer, but the day old bread gets discounted, whereas 4 month old beer is still priced as if it were fresh.

    I get that there is a cost to it, but eventually consumers are going to wise up to the importance of craft beer freshness. So someday it isn't going to be an optional thing, as breweries who choose to ignore freshness (for whatever reason) are going to seal their own fate.
  13. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (966) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Industry Beer Trader

    No amount of increase in price will be able to guarantee week old beer from breweries distributing from across the country. So aside from price (and I'd bet the increase would be more than you think) the drawback of demanding extreme freshness would be not seeing brands available everywhere they are now. It would also serve as a huge hurdle that would keep most (esp small) breweries from growing much. Also keep in mind that three months is still within the end range of freshness for most breweries...
  14. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    I'm ok with brands toning down distribution. In fact, I've always been fairly critical of breweries over-distributing. I'm not even a "buy local" nazi or anything like that - I think the mid-tier craft breweries just struggle with supply chain and freshness issues, and it is a pretty big issue in the craft world. As I mentioned earlier, Stone does a great job, and they are about as far away from Boston as a brewery can be in this country. As does Sierra Nevada. Likewise I'm willing to bet Sam Adams does a great job on the west coast.

    Net-net, the really small local guys seem to do a pretty good job, and the big craft beasts do a pretty good job... it's that middle 80% of the market that struggles.

    Three months is 'ok' on some hop forward beers, but, to tie this tangent back to the point relevant to the thread - there is a very good reason why breweries don't provide 3 month old IPA samples to the GABF judges. They know the beer does not taste nearly as good at 3 months, they just try to pretend to consumers that it does.
  15. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (966) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Industry Beer Trader

    Like I said on growth the issue at hand would prevent it for all but the biggest players. Maybe you don't care but many people out there are demanding more options, and specific breweries. If a brewery wants to grow they have to expand their distribution footprint in most cases. This growth isn't always just for the sake of making more money - it pays for better facilities and equipment. A $2 million bottling line is more efficient and can package beer so it stays fresh better/longer than a $30,000 line. A $250,000 centrifuge will make better beer than the $20,000 filter, etc.

    Not trying to really argue over fresh being better - ideally you'd get your way. But I think there's a happy medium that allows for growth but maintains a consistent product on shelves. That does start with the brewery - bottle dates, working with the distributor, checking in on accounts - but it ends with the distributor enforcing the brewery's wishes and the retailer abiding by dates/requests/etc. Plus, if the consumer refuses to buy old product then the retailer/distributor will eventually get the message.

    It's no secret that fresher beer is better. Any brewer will tell you to drink their beer fresh if possible. I don't think anyone is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the consumer by putting a 3 month freshness date on their beer. Most beer is perfectly drinkable at 3 months, though yes, not the same as it was at 3 days or 3 weeks. Additionally, it's a better comparison to pit 3 month old DIPA to 1 month old DIPA, since for many breweries the average consumer won't buy/drink/or finish off a sixer until an average time frame of closer to a month old than a week old.

    In any case, I don't see why anyone is questioning the logic behind entering beer as fresh as possible into competition. It makes sense and isn't against any rules. Homebrewers would do the same. Farmers would do the same... I'd hope you'd do the same.

    I won't get into all the details now but look up the submission deadlines vs the dates of the competition. The judges may have been seeing beer closer to what you're arguing for than you think...
  16. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Most breweries are only entering a hand full of beers, in many occasions they may not enter any. I beer that wins a gold may never be entered again.
  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,318) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Then there is the aged beer category. Didn't Bells win for an old Expedition Stout last year? Maybe no bottles left?
  18. DallasBeerfan

    DallasBeerfan Initiate (152) Dec 23, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Category: 47 Classic English-Style Pale Ale, 29 Entries
    Gold: Royal Scandal, Peticolas Brewing Co., Dallas, TX
    Silver: Gayle Force Pale Ale, Wind River Brewing Co., Pinedale, WY
    Bronze: Hurricane Reef Pale Ale, Florida Beer Co., Melbourne, FL

    I volunteer pretty much weekly at Peticolas Brewing Co. Here in Dallas. So glad to hear they won gold! He's a start up Brewery that released their first beer this past January, and he definitely deserved it! If you're ever in the DFW area you should definitely try one of his beers. Not only does he have the Royal Scandal, but he has an amazing Imperial Red Ale, the Velvet Hammer. :slight_smile: Cheers to great craft beer!
  19. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I would not be surprised if they did not have enough bottles to submit again. I know they were attempting to get and exemption to enter a 1988? vintage of Cherry Stout, they were a bottle short of the requirements.
  20. erway

    erway Initiate (153) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico

    Well... I think Sierra Nevada kinda throws that last statement out the window. What they have done is to simply not make much of any beer that relies on enormous hop aroma and focus intensely on QA/QC ensuring their beer tastes pretty damn close 6 months out to what it tasted like the day it was packaged. And that's a route to go if you have millions to spend on equipment and personnel. I love that when I was in Oxford and was sick of drinking buttery, sulfury cask ale, I could go into a bodega, pick up a 9 month old 24 oz. SNPA that was sitting on a warm shelf, and be pretty damn sure it was gonna be the ticket to a pretty flawless American craft beer. I was right.

    And as far as a shelf life here we're not talking 30%. If distributors were told "You have 4 weeks to sell this" they would not pick it up. Simple as that. If you could get them to pick it up, it would not be a 30% markup. Again, look at pricing on Stone's Enjoy By.

    Most breweries, including mine, check packaged air levels and/or Dissolved Oxygen levels and make a good educated guess as to how long the beer will stay "shelf stable". Some of us plate the beer to check for bacteria and wild yeast as well, but if this is an issue, brewery in question has a lot bigger issues than shelf stability. The biggest single tool a small brewery has is the palates of the brewers. We torture our beer (hot cold, repeat. Force aging basically) and if we really don't like what were tasting, we will stop selling the beer. That being said, there is NOTHING any brewery can do about the loss of dry-hop aroma other than keeping the beer cold. Once it is out in the market there is little that can be done to ensure this as well.

    So as an educated consumer, I would be purchasing my beer from places that I know keep the beer cold. I would be checking for packaged on dates or at the very least, best by dates, and yes, I would be trying to get the freshest beer possible.

    That being said, know this, there is no brewery (ok, there's one) that is going to start recalling what it believes to be perfectly good beer after 1 month in the package because it knows that hop aroma has diminished (and if and when they do, they will mark it up to cover such a campaign and they will market the beer as such). We all know hop aroma diminishes. All we can do is encourage everyone to keep it cold, encourage you all to drink it as fresh as possible, and put enough hops into the beer to ensure that it does have a good hop aroma and presence for the entirety of it's brewery determined shelf life.

    What I believe breweries need to pay better attention to, is not just how old the beer in the store is, which is certainly important, but how that beer will age over that shelf life. I'll give my neighbors Marble Brewery a lot of credit for this... With pretty rudimentary equipment, shortly after they started packaging, they were doing such a good job that they were getting beers on the shelves that were shelf stable for 4-6 months in industry standard numbers. (again, talking packaged air here) So, they give their IPA a 3 month shelf life. Well I have had that beer when it is 7 months old, and it was a fine beer. Was it fresh? No. Did the hop aroma pop? No. Did it taste bad? Absolutely not. I have had MANY beers from other breweries that did not do nearly as good a job and after 3 weeks in the package, the beer was buttery cardboard. To me, that's the kind of lack of QA/QC that would get a brewery into serious trouble with the intelligentsia, but alas, many of those beers are the one's so sought after on the beer sites.

    Now, which would you rather have, a 3 month old IPA that was competently packaged, or a 2 week old IPA that was packaged with so much O2 that most brewery texts would say that it has no shelf life? I know which beer I want to drink. Having packaged on or best by dates is all well and good, but the breweries ability to package their product without ruining it is far more important.
    beertunes likes this.
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