Good (not great) breweries

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MetalMountainMastiff, Jan 23, 2013.

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  1. brewsader

    brewsader Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2012 New York
    Beer Trader

    only posting cuz i see blue point on this thread several times--keep an eye on them. word on the street is once they get their cans going at full capacity, they're going to turn to some more creative stuff.
  2. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    I have. I've had it at the brewery itself too. It is NOT a Hefe-Weizen. It is an American Wheat, and it's an insult to minimally knowledgeable beer enthusiasts to still call it a Hefe-Weizen anyway.

    They do make a Bavarian style Hefe-Weizen that was on tap at the brewery only and it was fantastic.

    No American Wheats for me.
  3. jrbuckt

    jrbuckt Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2012 Illinois

    The Bruery?!?! Which of their beers have you had? Never had anything from them that wasn't well above average.
  4. mdvatab

    mdvatab Zealot (574) Apr 5, 2006 Indiana

    Brewers take slight liberties with the names/styles of their beers all the time, as you're probably well aware. Sounds like this bothers you quite a bit. It also sounds, though, that the flavor of an American wheat is just not your thing. Nothing wrong w/ that. I think Widmer Hefe is a delicious representation of the style, tho, and don't think Widmer should get an "F" for this brand.
  5. mdvatab

    mdvatab Zealot (574) Apr 5, 2006 Indiana

    Very interesting. I had no idea. So it's an American Wheat fermented with an Altbier yeast? Where did you get this info?
  6. Casedogg43

    Casedogg43 Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    # of great breweries < # of average breweries by a large margin. 10-1
  7. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,382) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Articles about Widmer. They spent time at Uerige. Talked to one of them.

    Look here for Wyeast 1010, yeast tools.
  8. cjoc83

    cjoc83 Aspirant (282) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    +1 for PBC. They only brew 2 beers I really like, the Joe Coffee porter and their Shakamaximus stout. The rest of their stuff is very mediocre. The Newbold IPA in particular is pretty bad.
  9. jwheeler87

    jwheeler87 Aspirant (226) Oct 27, 2011 Massachusetts

    Samuel Adam's most of what they make is solid and consistent, but nothing they make (besides utopias) is super mind blowing. They're products are always drinkable though. They also have good options when bringing beer to parties with people that aren't super into beer, and when a draft/bottle menu is lacking at a restaurant.
  10. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Our disagreement is lighter than it might seem, but this is seriously more than a slight liberty with the name.

    Also, it's not a "delicious representation of the style" because it isn't that style. (assuming you were referring to Hefe-weizen and not American Wheat).

    The whole point of the American Wheat "innovation" is to take out the flavors. It is a reduced flavor beer. It's analogous to adjunct lagers as examples where they wanted to take out all those flavorful hops & bitterness from real pilseners to make a less flavorful beer than the original style, made to appeal to people who don't like the taste of (real) beer. The banana clove is a core part of what makes a Hefe-Weizen what it is. So to deliberately castrate it in flavor and then call it the same thing is a real slap in the face to the authentic examples of the style.

    I don't dispute whether you or many other people like American Wheats. I, and many others, are just damn tired of seeing American Wheats labeled as Hefe-Weizens. Widmer isn't the only guilty party, but they're probably the most famous and oldest guilty party in this regard.
  11. RobertColianni

    RobertColianni Zealot (528) Nov 4, 2008 Pennsylvania

    There are too many of you saying Widmer Brothers, now. I'm suspect that it has nothing to do with their beers and everything to do with InBev purchasing their brewery. If the InBev buyout isn't what bothers you, you obviously haven't had Nelson O'Rye-ly AIPA or X-114 AIPA.
  12. baha773

    baha773 Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2008 Missouri

    Magic Hat seems to be hyped but nothing stands out to me.
  13. philbe311

    philbe311 Poo-Bah (2,005) Jan 21, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I would argue that 90+% percent of breweries fall into this category... Perhaps I set the bar too high, but I can only think of one or two brewers (Alesmith & Founders) that I consider to be great...
  14. smogfood

    smogfood Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2010 Wisconsin


    I had high hopes when they came out with the Unchained series, but even those have been fairly unremarkable. I do grab the Maibock when I see it, and their Octoberfest is pretty good, but for the most part I feel they're a middle of the road brewery.
  15. ferillo

    ferillo Defender (657) Sep 12, 2009 Massachusetts
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Cambridge Brewing Company
  16. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,293) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    A-B (pre-InBev merger) bought a minority share of Widmer in 1997 but they don't own the brewery. With the Redhook-Widmer merger and creation of the Craft Brew Alliance company in '08, AB's percentage of the combined firm is around 36% (according to a 2008 Beverage magazine article) - enough to get them booted out of the "Craft" designation by the Brewers Assocation, but still not complete ownership.
    RobertColianni likes this.
  17. mdvatab

    mdvatab Zealot (574) Apr 5, 2006 Indiana

    I meant it's a delicious representation of the American Wheat style.

    Come to think of it, I can see why some beer geeks might call it silly to label an American Wheat a "Hefeweizen". And the motives of a brewer, whether innocent or sinister, are very interesting to consider. The fact remains, though, that this style was created, Widmer Hefeweizen came into existence (maybe the timing is reversed), and the rest is history.

    I don't care whether the Widmer brothers sought to castrate the esters from the Bavarian wheat beer to in some way ensnare the masses with their toned-down wheat beer. Quite honestly, I think Widmer Hefe has a wonderful flavor, and is one of the best looking beers in a glass that I've seen. I think similarly about fresh draught Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat.

    No big deal. You don't like American Wheats. I do.
  18. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier Poo-Bah (1,844) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey

    And I don't buy their flagship beers either because they are/were consistent in their sub-par quality. Trust me, I drank their beer, batch to batch, on a daily basis for a year a couple years back. Exit 16 was surprisingly quite tasty the first time I had it, summer '10. The next time they brewed a batch (Philly Beer Week '11), it was not of the same quality (despite baseless objections to the contrary). It was thin, depth-less, and astringent. Perhaps it is back to its original quality right now - I wouldn't know, I haven't had it in awhile. Like I said, they have a new facility now, and I wouldn't be surprised if their beers have improved.

    That said, Exit 16 is certainly one of their better beers. I consider it a "fluke" because I feel most of their other available beers are more or less truly lame. Having two beers that are enjoyable out of a lineup of 8 or 9 available annual offerings does not qualify you as a "very good" brewery. Go ahead and sample their flagships and seasonals and decide for yourself. They have produced some fine beer in the past and it is a colossal head-scratcher as to why they don't include them in their core, annual output...
  19. DovaliHops

    DovaliHops Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I'd have to say Flying Dog, 21st Amendment, Speakeasy, Dust Bowl, and Rogue. Step up your games, bro. J/k... keep up the good work and try to keep up with Russian River, Bruery, Ballast Point, Port, Lost Abbey, Green Flash, Founders, Alesmith, etc..............
  20. gtermi

    gtermi Meyvn (1,214) Apr 21, 2010 Texas

    I would have to say Full Sail. I like their beers, but they don't make anything I love.
  21. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (838) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)

    As a Brit who's only dipped into the American craft scene via the beers available in East Asia I'd say Sierra Nevada, Rogue, Anderson Valley, Sam Adams and Lost Coast.
  22. dgherm

    dgherm Devotee (489) May 29, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Victory does some great stuff available only draft and cask, does that count for something?
  23. mdvatab

    mdvatab Zealot (574) Apr 5, 2006 Indiana

    I'm going to say Upland because of their non-sour offerings. In order to move from being a good brewery to a great one, they either need to bump up their game in non-sours or just focus on sours, get rid of the others, and give us more of what we want! I look forward to dropping by the brewery every time I'm in Bloomington, but they're usually out of sours, and their regular stuff is all that's left. I've had their wheat, pale ale, IPA, brown, and porter, and they all taste like mediocre homebrews. Such a shame, because their sours are fantastic!
  24. cjoc83

    cjoc83 Aspirant (282) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I actually ran into a girl representing FF and doing tastings of their beers at 2 different locations within a month (one was at Reno's in Exton, the other at Brew in south Philly). She mentioned the new facility and said that they were "completely revamping the beers and the labels" (hence the new label art, which is a big improvement IMO). The Red Fish, Exit 16 and Abbey Dubbel were all pretty good. I have had their flagship beers way long ago, and I was definitely not impressed.

    I do agree that they should include all their Exit offerings (by far their best beers) in rotation. And as far as the Exit 16 quality when I last had some (about 6 or 7 weeks ago), it was really good. Hopefully the new facility will facilitate some more and better offerings.
  25. ThisWangsChung

    ThisWangsChung Poo-Bah (2,764) Oct 15, 2011 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Who the hell hypes Magic Hat? They're pretty much the butt monkeys of craft breweries on BA...
  26. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier Poo-Bah (1,844) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey

    Yeah, I'm hoping they get better as well. It would be nice to have one really dependably good local (Philly) brewery on the Jersey side with a solid lineup. It's a shame they have such a bad rep among many I know whom are drinkers of good beer. But, from what I've experienced with their efforts, I feel at least my criticism is hardly unwarranted. Best of luck to them.
  27. Raime

    Raime Meyvn (1,303) Jun 4, 2012 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands
    Beer Trader

    Arcadia Ales. Their Hopmouth and B-Craft Black were good ( not great ), But none of the other beers I've had by them were memorable. And Hop Rocket was the worst IPA I've ever had.
  28. runfoodrun

    runfoodrun Aspirant (229) Jun 18, 2008 Minnesota

    I wish Smuttynose distributed to MN. Finest Kind is my favorite IPA along with Surly Furious. At least I can get in WI.
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