How “Far” Beer Has Come…

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by RaulMondesi, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (3,944) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    At work the other day, a coworker asked me to grab more cans of the French Toast beer, so I went into the cooler and thought that I grabbed some. When I brought them to him he said to me, “These are the Waffle beers.”

    French Toast beers, waffle beers… How far is too far? And let’s not forget this goodie that we also have:
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,130) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    "How far is too far?"

    Well, each beer consumer will have their own personal perspective here. I am guessing I am 'old school' in that I prefer to drink beer flavored beers vs. the contemporary beers brewed with 'adjunks'.

    Oh well, to each their own!?! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,878) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    And beers that are hazyardous to my palate. Will no one rid me of this meddlesome style?
  4. beerjerk666

    beerjerk666 Poo-Bah (2,997) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
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    All these pastry stouts and fruit slushee bombs have definitely jumped the shark.

    Interesting and fun to try, but when it comes to this: waffle or French toast or bacon and egg beer or whatever...maybe we've really gone too far? Past Oz and over the edge of the world?
  5. DCH

    DCH Aspirant (225) Jun 12, 2013 New York

    I only drink hazy waffle beers
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  6. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,843) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
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    Ok, so I “disappeared” from the beer thing for a while, came back and yeah in the last 2 years a lot has changed. Some of the things people are making seem like they’re trying to get as crazy as possible instead of just making great beer. I’m not really a fan of most pastry stouts or milkshake ipas, but hey I can still find what I want.
  7. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,439) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    OP, Pancakes beers were in the cellar? I usually get those confused more with French Toast beers than Waffles beers anyway. But yeah, I can empathize with the mix up.
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  8. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (3,944) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    Btw - if you can’t read it, the picture I posted was of an Imperial Peanut Butter Hefeweizen.
  9. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,636) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Craft brewers used to use the Reinheitsgebot as part of their identity in order to separate themselves from "macro" beer. "Craft beer" was about what wasn't in the beer - corn and rice. Eventually, craft brewers began to use the Reinheitsgebot in the opposite way - as a symbol of tyranny that other brewers subscribed to. It was seen as censorship. The script was flipped so much, that the term adjunct became essentially redefined in the process.

    Throughout that journey, the craft beer world failed to see the Reinheitsgebot as something deeper than just ingredient prohibition. The Reinheitsgebot doesn't prevent people from using certain ingredients, it defines what beer is. It sets a framework. It draws a line, and once that line is crossed, that beverage is no longer "beer."

    Taking all of that into consideration, is it any wonder that we've now reached a point where we are struggling with the question that the Reinheitsgebot answers? Is an alcoholic fruit smoothie-like beer a beer... or is it a fruit smoothie? Never before has the expression "beer flavored beer" been so embraced on BeerAdvocate. The monster was created and now it's run amok.

    And if we only focused on the Reinheitsgebot as ingredient prohibition, craft brewers would show its oppressiveness by scoffing at the fictional need for a "purity law" protecting consumers from unhealthy ingredients. The counter narrative was that it really was a way to maintain ingredients for bakers while creative Belgians were allowed to use natural cherries in their beer. But look at where we are today. I would imagine that some craft beer pioneers would think that craft brewers using artificial flavors in their beer is a sign that craft beer has collectively lost the plot.

    None of the above is meant to come across like the thoughts of an old man who doesn't want change for the sake of change. It's not pro-Reinheitsgebot either (even though it reads like it). I just find the story arc interesting. (I got my third script/story comparison in.) But on a personal level, I don't like the idea of beer turning into a blank canvas to mimic other foods. That devalues its identity in my eyes. Beer isn't the canvas, it's the painting.
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  10. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (4,381) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Probably as far as it went 5000 years ago when beer was probably made from left over bread and other baked stuff
  11. hbbeeremptor

    hbbeeremptor Aspirant (296) Aug 12, 2018 California

    I may be misremembering here but back when BA had a magazine, I do believe there was an issue whose main article was about German craft brewers in opposition to the Reinheitsgebot laws because it limited their creativity. So they had kind of speakeasy levels of brewpubs set up to bend these rules and deliver fresh, interesting beers to the German public who were interested in it.

    While there are plenty of merits to something like the Reinheitsgebot, it is also limiting in a sort of authoritarian way. Some creativity in an endeavor like beer is a good thing.

    The cost of limitless creativity is that some things will get added to beer that are more a matter of "could" rather than "should" and the line of what beer is gets very fuzzy. Sort of Jurassic Park levels of experimentation and mucking about.

    Not to get too pedantic here but there is strong evidence to suggest that beer making lead to agriculture and by extension bread making, not the other way around, as was previously believed.

    Still a very fair point, I'm sure people have been throwing all kinds of weird shit in beer and proto-beer to see what's good or interesting, for as long as it's been made.
  12. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,621) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    Well reasoned and very well stated.
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  13. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (8,935) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Imperial Peanut Butter Hefeweizen? Get the fuck outta here! Never heard of that brewery, but they need their license revoked.
  14. BigIronH

    BigIronH Champion (844) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
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    I personally don’t have a “too far” defined in my mind. You could say it’s because I’ve just recently got into this hobby a little over two years ago. I try new things all the time. Some I like, some I don’t like. I’m definitely not a “purist”. I like smoothie sours, I like pastry stouts, I like “milkshake” IPA’s. I also appreciate the simpler aspects of other styles and drink them frequently as well. I imagine new styles will continue to come out, I imagine I will keep trying them.

  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,287) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, the boring old beer, why weren't brewers innovative before craft beer came along?

    Geez, I remember when the geekery was outraged about the lime wedge in the neck of a bottle of Corona. (Well, that version of beer geeks may have been the fathers of the current batch...:grimacing:).
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  16. Amendm

    Amendm Savant (983) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    I think the big question is How "Far" will Beer go.
  17. LesDewitt4beer

    LesDewitt4beer Zealot (509) Jan 25, 2021 Minnesota

    Yes. I believe very far but we can't forget where we started from. I posted a thread titled Back To Basics and this point was talked about. Cheers!
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  18. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,729) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    We're in a very interesting time for beer. I don't hate anyone for making/drinking beers like these as long as the stuff I like doesn't suffer. Hell, I'm guilty of drinking dumb stuff here and there myself. The one thing that worries me is that in various FB beer groups you'll see people judging beers based upon whether they have certain adjuncts or have been in a barrel. So much so that anything that doesn't/hasn't is viewed as lesser. Not just in $ value, but quality. Fortunately, it seems like the ultra-traditional places seem to get a pass, but it's hard to tell if that's just because lagers are cool right now.
  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,147) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    The only thing I can think to say is, ugh.
  20. imtroy703

    imtroy703 Devotee (411) Nov 13, 2009 Tennessee
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    A beer out of reach from my hand it too far
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  21. JimKal

    JimKal Zealot (523) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    Well, it is great that you can still find what you want. But between the hazy IPAs, ciders, and seltzers; I'm finding it a bit hard to find what I want: pilsners, ESBs, porters, bitters, nice hoppy beers in the 5.5 to 6.5 ABV range.
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  22. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,281) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Every time I think beer is not beer anymore, someone makes an English Dark Mild or Schwartzbier that blows my doors off...
    #22 slander, Oct 8, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
  23. teal

    teal Initiate (81) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    I'd like to think that beer and style fads are cyclical. I'm not big on a lot of what's "in" right now but I can find things I like and enough of them that it wouldn't be a bad idea to curtail the volume I drink.

    That said - much like BMC bland beer seemed to create an uptick in homebrewing, to get flavor. I hope the explosion of beer that doesn't seem to appeal to a lot of palates here would lead to an uptick in homebrewers - mostly to make those good beers in traditional styles.

    The far out stuff described here doesn't seem to sit around long - that is, the waffle beer I saw in the cooler by brewery X in July - no longer exists. It's been replaced by a waffle beer by brewery Z and that one likely won't be there in November - so to speak.
  24. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (2,056) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    Let it go, like other things it works or it doesn't. Some people like this (proof being Martin House in Arlington Tx, check out their list of beers here). I have been so busy lately that I have fallen into mainly just drinking a few new beers every now and then, but mainly my beer fridge has been packed with Harpoon IPA (when I can get it fresh) and whatever good pilsner I can find. I will mix in the occasional hazy pale, ipa but due to current work hours I can't have anything heavy weight during the weekday.
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,130) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    FWIW that is what I do. I have an Oatmeal Stout in the primary right now and next week I will be brewing a Brown Ale. There are not many Oatmeal Stouts and/or Brown Ales on my local beer retailers' shelves.

  26. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Disciple (361) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I'm probably the anomaly here, but my habits work for me. Last year I reviewed about 135 different beers, which seems like a small number until you recognize that it means about 40% of all the beers I drank last year were new ones to me. I love trying different beers and since my local Trader Joe's carries a nice ever-changing selection of beers AND they sell them one can at a time I get to satisfy my itch for variety very easily. Investing in one can of weirdness that turns ot to be a "one and done" won't break the bank and the wife loves to try those odd ones with me so it is a fun exercise.
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  27. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (491) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    That's exactly what I thought.

    That's a Stout.
    Clearly these fucktards are ruining beer. It never ends.
  28. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Defender (665) May 5, 2015 Illinois

    As long as i can buy my Centennial and Old Rasputin, i don't care what they do with the rest.
  29. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Defender (687) Mar 28, 2009 California

    As long as there are breweries like Pizza Port, Beachwood, Sierra Nevada, Firestone, Bierstadt Lagerhaus etc I am ok with all those crazy beers. It’s like when I go to Starbucks. They sell more syrup and milk than they do coffee. I still get my americano or drip and I am good with that.

    I like my beer to taste like beer and my coffee to taste like coffee.
  30. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,197) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Eighteen years ago, these would have been all the rage among the sliver of the adult drinking population drawn to the FMB (flavored malt beverages, c.f. “Alcopop”) segment, but pilloried by “serious” beer hobbyists - including many BAs, hereabouts.

    Now, the distinctions are almost completely irrelevant, and there is more of an: “All malt beverages are good, all beer is good, even when it plays loose and free stylistically.”

    It’s a completely different world!
  31. Leighton_

    Leighton_ Initiate (32) Jan 31, 2021 Minnesota

    For all the jaded old-heads who are worried about this 'ruining brewing',

    The only thing that will ruin brewing is that attitude, flavored beers exist for a lot of reasons.

    They're hugely popular and they're even popular with people who 'don't like beer'. That's a huge expansion of your customer base and for smaller brewers can be the difference between staying afloat and going under. You might be salty that your local brewer has 4 taps of fruity beer but just know that whatever beer flavored beer you're enjoying that day was probably funded by it.

    Not only does the fruity shit do great with people who 'don't like beer' it also has a tendency to be a gateway to enjoying beer. When more people are choosing seltzers, demand for beer is waning and the market is at saturation creating new customers is important. Getting someone to try a smoothie beer is one step closer to them trying a hazy IPA which is one step closer to them trying a pale lager. I've seen it first hand as a beer buyer, getting a regular who buys only seltzers to try something different which led to the next thing and now with some regularity they buy beer flavored beers

    Despite the prevalence of many uninspired beverages churned out on a weekly basis by brewers who are engaging in more parts mixology than true craft brewing you still find excellent examples of brewers producing meticulously crafted experiences; the same we expect out of any beer flavored beer.

    My favorite example of this currently is Modist Brewing's S'More Mallow?

    Like every other smores beer it gets the marshmallow, chocolate, graham cracker, lactose and vanilla treatment, but unlike the majority it takes the form of a freakin' smoked lager. Instead of being a rich high abv mess it takes the form of a crisp quaffable beverage. Superb balance of rich smores flavor against crisp zesty pilsner and the hint of smoke is the small touch that makes you reminisce about burning marshmallows over the campfire.

    Is it kind of frustrating how the industry is appealing to young-adults who want jamba juice and have zero concept of craft beer? Absolutely! But crafting a delicious beverage that has depth and complexity it is really the beauty that craft brewing is all about is it not? Who cares if they get their trying to make lucky charms and kool-aid, like any other facet of craft brewing it's about attention to detail and quality of product.
  32. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (115) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey

    At some point a beer crosses a line and becomes a flavored malt beverage.
  33. beergoot

    beergoot Poo-Bah (7,519) Oct 11, 2010 Colorado
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    Luckily, Wiley Roots has just the beer for you...


    ...then, too, Wiley Roots makes some of the sweetest, most ungodly syrupy beers around...but this lager is top notch...
  34. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,141) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Yeah there is a lot of silly sounding beer around right now. But there is still more beer that sounds good to me at the beer store than I have the capacity to drink. Plus, the silly stuff is actually kind of good sometimes.
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,130) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yup, and every individual is going to draw that line differently.

    Since I am not a fan of 'adjunks' being added to beer I likely would have a conservatively drawn line here.

  36. Manta200

    Manta200 Poo-Bah (1,836) Apr 14, 2018 Kentucky
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    I will never forget the day when I was back in Germany at my sisters. I open the fridge and see a Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen. For me, a big Hefeweizen fan, it really crossed the line.
    On the other hand...
    I have mixed Hefeweizen with Coke (Diesel) or with banana juice, and Altbier with Coke (Krefelder). So I can't look down on the brewers that put other "stuff" in beers.

    We all have to figure out what we like and everybody's palate is different. Over the years I have had hits and misses in the (craft-) beer world, but always enjoyed the road I travelled.
    Nothing is "too far" but I can tell you one thing, that Blue Ice Cream shit I will never have again.

    Prost BA's, I am having another Oktoberfest now:sunglasses:!
  37. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (2,947) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    I've been on a weird kettle sour kick lately. Oozlefinch, etc...

    The beers are just ridiculous, but fun to try once.

    People can like what they want. You can get what you want anywhere.
  38. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (460) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Beethoven was asked this very question pertaining to music of the day in 1800. Everybody said it was over - all the great music has been composed.
  39. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,843) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
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    Yeah, I have 0 issues finding decent lagers, Hefeweizen, porters etc. I also travel all of Iowa for work, so I end up close enough to cross into Wisconsin for NG beers, occasionally go to KC for KC beer co stuff etc. got it pretty good.
  40. Spade

    Spade Initiate (92) Mar 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I've had that peanut butter hefe. Much better than I expected, and while I wouldn't seek it out, I also wouldn't turn it down if offered.

    I don't get too excited over the "weird" beers that seem to be trendy in recent years. When I started seeking out "better" beer in the early 1990's the general feeling among the people I drank with was that most towns or neighborhoods needed their own breweries or taprooms. We appreciated the quality, or "craft beer", to coin a phrase... So long as I can travel hither and yon and find some locally-made beer, I won't get upset over these small businesses making oddball brews and maybe filling a niche and staying profitable.

    On the other hand, if you can't make a good lager, then we have nothing more to discuss.
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