If a new brewery tries something new and creative but uterly fails, do you think of them negatively?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by biiru_ojisan, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. biiru_ojisan

    biiru_ojisan Initiate (152) Dec 22, 2018 Japan

    Recently reviewed a creative beer from a brewery that just started fall 2019. It was labeled as a "Belgian Style Porter." I've never heard of such a thing, but I got a pour because I thought it was an interesting idea.

    The beer mostly sucked, but I feel that I need to give the brewery some credit for trying something creative when they apparently aren't very experienced.

    How do y'all feel about similar situations?
  2. mickyge

    mickyge Meyvn (1,022) Nov 1, 2014 Massachusetts
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    I was a baker for quite a while and I got bored making the same formulas day in and day out. I loved when I had time to experiment.
    I think a business gets stagnant producing the same thing all the time. Creativity and innovation are some of the keys to success, especially for a new or smaller business. Some things are gold some things are bust. I wouldn't fault a brewery or any business for trying but having established quality products should be first and foremost.
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  3. JediMasterLenin

    JediMasterLenin Disciple (302) Dec 25, 2018 District of Columbia

    I think failure is to be expected when starting out. How I would react to said failure depends on how often they seem to fail and how the brewery follows through. I would respect them for trying to tweak the recipe on a later release when they've solidified their lineup.
  4. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (531) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    If they charged full price for a failure, yes.
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  5. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,877) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    I like to view a brewery as a whole not solely on a bum beer or two. If a brewery produces really good beer and is consistent in their process then a few turds don't bother me at all. I actually like it when folks take a risk with odd items or roll with something off the wall, that is how great things are born thru experimentation. I think a lot of times people get tired of doing the core items so they make some crazy stuff for fun and figure hey you never know it could become the next thing.
    I know a lot of my local guys will, without question, give you a new beer if the one your drinking sucks, so its never an issue of lost cash either. I have had a few pints where it was not that great and just asked for a new beer and they were more than happy to do.

  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,426) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I give any brewery a second chance, and also some appreciation for trying something not normal. Maybe the brewer attained exactly what he wanted but you don't happen to like it.

    As for that second chance, I'd be focusing on their standard lineup to make a decision about whether a third visit is in you future.

    And since the brewery is new, I'd give them some constructive feedback too so that they can stick around longer.
  7. biiru_ojisan

    biiru_ojisan Initiate (152) Dec 22, 2018 Japan

    Pretty cool of your local breweries to be that chill. That's just solid service. I'm a bit hesitant to try that in my local area since I'm an expat and haven't quite picked up the local language.
  8. bwarner2015

    bwarner2015 Initiate (77) Mar 25, 2016 Connecticut

    I love creativity, but if it fails, the brewery shouldn't sell it. But I guess failure is in the eye of the beholder. I feel there are so many sub-par NEIPAs on the market because the brewers are pushing their creative limits. With such expensive ingredients, time and effort, the breweries just can't toss the batch, so they can it and sell it, even though it's just so-so.
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  9. DokiDokiLitFam

    DokiDokiLitFam Aspirant (207) Jun 3, 2019 New Jersey

    I agree with this sentiment, but...couldn't it be subjective as well? If there's somebody that happens to enjoy it, then it wouldn't be a complete failure. Different strokes and all. Unless it's just the most vile pig swill, in which case the brewery knows this and tried to make up for lost product which is disingenuous and greedy.
  10. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,877) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    Most of the places I hang out at or purchase from are very cool. I got to know the folks working there over time and they all are just great people. If I try something new and its just bad I will ask them if they can just get me a core item or such that the one I have is sort of not great and they understand. A lot of the places I go to are owned and run by a lot younger crowd so they sort of get it more than say a different gen that figured hey you bought it drink it lol.
    This is another reason I try and really support my local guys.
  11. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,877) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    Totally agree. One persons trash is another persons treasure. But yes if its just not drinkable or of so off putting then by all means pull it from sales.

    I can toss out a perfect example, Cider. I think it is the worst thing made, to me its beyond bad. But for many they love it, so that is a perfect example of what we are all talking about.
  12. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (955) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    A brewery is allowed to brew a beer that you may not like, that doesn't mean it fails. If other people enjoy it it's not a failure.
  13. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,678) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Boom! 100% this. Well...any price, really.
  14. NickTheGreat

    NickTheGreat Crusader (764) Oct 28, 2010 Iowa
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    THIS. I mean, if the beer was infected or something, that's a different story.
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  15. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,801) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    For me, I tend to agree with @dennis3951 - if the beer is "creative" and it just doesn't jive with you, or you don't think its good, thats different than releasing a objectively flawed beer.

    For example, last night I just had a sour IPA that was brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander. It predominately tasted like twangy mango juice with a strong cinnamon/nutmeg streak. There was nothing objectively wrong with the beer other than that I found it personally to be pretty unpleasant to drink. Someone else might drink it and love it.
  16. beerwego

    beerwego Initiate (44) Dec 5, 2019

    "Belgian Style Porter"....poor decision on naming that as such. It clashes.

    To answer your question, no. Experiments fail, and sometimes beers are ahead of their time...or behind. I don't require breweries to have a perfect portfolio, they just need to be very good at something
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  17. biiru_ojisan

    biiru_ojisan Initiate (152) Dec 22, 2018 Japan

    I completely agree with that sentiment. I wish I had other people with me at the time so I could have gotten more diverse opinions on the beer that started this thread. To me, the beer was poorly executed , but it could have very well have been a winner for somebody else.
    JediMasterLenin likes this.
  18. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,801) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    I am kind of curious - how did the beer "suck"? When I think of a Belgian style porter I think of essentially a porter using a Belgian yeast ... is that kind of what this was?
  19. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Meyvn (1,017) Oct 17, 2012 Texas

    How are you judging failure?

    Failure = you personally do not like the beer? Nothing wrong with that. If there are other options that I like, I'll continue to patronize their establishment.

    Failure = there is something fundamentally wrong with the beer? i.e. unintended off flavors? Well, that shouldn't have been served to the public to begin with. I'm much less likely to continue giving them my dollars.

    Similarly, sucking because you personally don't care for it is not the same as sucking because the beer was poorly made.
  20. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,411) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    5 things:

    A Belgian porter is nothing new. Such a thing is older than “craft beer.”

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    If a brewery sells beer that they think is a failure, then it's fair to think of them negatively.

    If you don't like a brewers beer, it's fair for you to think of them negatively, but not fair to consider it a "truth.”

    It’s perfectly reasonable to hate a beer from a brewer that also makes one of your favorite beers.
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  21. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (531) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Yeah, Riverwalk did this with a beer recently. Check out this description on Untappd. https://untappd.com/b/riverwalk-brewing-co-new-switcharoo/3456116 "Our bad, your good! Dry hopped with Barbe Rouge, Mosaic and El Dorado hops."

    I tried it first (bartender said it was a new pale ale from them) and sent it back thinking the tap was bad. But no, it was an awful hoppy 8% saison or some garbage.
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  22. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (452) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Allagash calls black a “Belgian style stout” and Van Steenberge, about as Belgian as you can get, makes Gulden Draak Imperial Stout so a Belgian style porter isn't something out of left field.
  23. beergoot

    beergoot Poo-Bah (5,077) Oct 11, 2010 Colorado
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    A single event is not something I would consider the brewery in a negative light (whatever the OPs criteria was for making that judgement).

    If their other products, their core beers (if they have them) are solid, then the Belgian porter was just what it is, perhaps a poorly made beer, maybe more likely something the OP personally didn't care for or was unaware of the style's characteristics. Like @zid points out, Belgian porters aren't a new thing.

    Give them some constructive feedback, too. I always liked the idea of brewers brewing what they like to drink but also, being a for-profit business, they need to know what their customer base wants or likes. It's a two-way street, so talk to 'em.
  24. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,738) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    I want to encourage creativity and learning, but yes - if a brewery puts out a mediocre or worst product in the name of creativity, it could reflect poorly on them. Context is important though. I will give local breweries a little more leeway in terms of where I draw that line since I can revisit without much effort. If the beer made it into retail stores, that means QC deemed it good enough to package and ship out - in which case it could ruin my impression of a brewery.

    Most of that lack of empathy is that beer can get expensive, and with so many other options, it's easy to look past a brewery that whiffed on a few attempts. I'm not going to take the time to drive to and spend money at a brewery where the quality is a gamble.
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  25. traction

    traction Devotee (485) Dec 4, 2010 Georgia
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    Agreed, if the brewers think a beer came out badly it is arguable it shouldn't be sold at all let alone for full price. I respect brewers who try to do unique things but when you are treading in unknown territory maybe sell single 16oz cans instead of four packs only? Just an idea
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  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    May I also ask what you think was ‘wrong’ with this beer?

    As has been discussed the style of Belgian Porter is not a new thing.

    In Charlie Papazian’s book Microbrewed Adventures (2005) he discussed a Belgian Porter brewed by Sterkens Brewery – branded as Sterkens Poorter. An extract of his discussion:

    “I accepted and immensely enjoyed their Porter. Not to be confused with American or British style Porter, this beer is velvety smooth, offering dark ale qualities not commonly brewed by other breweries large or small. Sterken’s Poorter has a “round” nutty malt character without any of the caramel or crystal malt flavor you’d normally expect in an amber or brown ale. Furthermore, despite its coppery color there is virtually no roast malt astringency. There is a slight touch of banana character in the flavor, but not pronounced or anywhere near the level of many of the dark abbey-style ales of Belgium.”

    Within the book there is a homebrew clone recipe for this beer and I made it (over a decade ago). I used Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II yeast to make this beer. I enjoyed drinking these beers.

    Perhaps this is just not a beer style for you?


  27. pjbear05

    pjbear05 Initiate (115) May 28, 2008 Florida

    I'll still patronize them, but they will hear my opinion, as it should be. One of my locals dropped a seasonal fave of mine for "something similar." Being wary, I decided on trying it as part of a sampler flight of 4. Good thing, because it was "something shitmilar". I told the beertender as much, politely. Customer input will decide if the new brew stays and/or the old one comes back.
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  28. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,870) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    A smart brewer does experimentation in small batches. If it comes out a mess (if the employees/owners all sample and agree its kinda a mess), you can serve it at a discount and it will disappear relatively fast or just opt to dump it and cut minimal losses (except for lost time), and spare the risk of bad press/marketing.
  29. AWA

    AWA Aspirant (280) Jul 22, 2014 California

    It depends. If it's something that at least sounds good on paper, I have no problem with a brewery trying something new. If, however, they thought that should do something stupid like add Lucky Charms to their otherwise decent stout, then they are totally dead to me.
  30. johnInLA

    johnInLA Champion (869) Jun 12, 2005 California
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    Generally speaking, if you don't fail your not trying hard enough. True inovation comes from experimentation, which is bound to fail on occassion. The alterative is playing safe, which rarely yields something exceptional.

    On the other, not acknowleging a failure, puts your integrity into question
  31. micada

    micada Disciple (306) Jul 13, 2015 New York

    Creativity is nice, as long as it doesn’t make them stop production on their good beers.
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  32. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,927) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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    No, i wouldn't hold it against them, especially a brand new brewery. Every brewery is gonna miss every so often, so, no biggie. But, if they have a history of failures, then yes, I will judge them.
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  33. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (142) Mar 15, 2014 California

    When you say "Utterly Fails" are you referring to something that would be wrong with the beer across the board like infection, off flavors, or lost carbonation? Or you just didn't like it and are being rather hyperbolic about it? You did admit to not having a wealth of experience with the style. I'm sure the brewery wouldn't have kegged it and put it out for consumption if they thought anything was failed about it. That being said, I've been to a brewery where all of the beer was nasty and they soon after went out of business because they had no business brewing in the first place. Not just my opinion they didn't go out of business on my word.
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  34. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,678) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Your 'other hand' is what it boils down to, in my opinion. It's not about experimentation or creativity, but about taste and judgement, and what you're allowing to be sold under your brand.
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  35. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (120) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    Just put it in a can with crazy designs and it will sell.
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  36. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (1,981) Dec 11, 2016 New York
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    No. Bad choices lead to learning, which leads to good choices. Life 101.
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  37. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (452) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Timely beer here.
    Just finished the first of a six of the Rodenbach/DFH collaboration Vibrant P'Ocean (https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/64/454895/).
    While this beer didn't "utterly fail" I'm sure it's not everything either brewery wanted it to be.
    All the same, I give the them credit for the attempt and it won't stop me from buying other DFH and Rodenbach beers and, hopefully, they'll refine the recipe and try again.
  38. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,906) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Good is good, bad is bad.
  39. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Disciple (392) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    No. I judge each brew one by one.
    Some styles I'm very familiar with, the classics. But something new? No I'll taste it first, a sample. That lets me know if I'll hate it, more or less. A flight glass next, that kinda let's me know if I really like it.
    If I like it? Give me a proper pint! Cheers!
    Encourage experimentation.
    Eat local. Drink local.
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  40. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,893) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Every beer except that first one made from barley and rainwater has been an experiment. So experiment away, brewers, hopefully with discretion and direction, rather than abandon and haphazardness.