Jim Koch Weighs in on Hop-Bombs

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by AlcahueteJ, Apr 25, 2013.

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  1. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    I guess that depends on what your definition of "good" is.
  2. RichardMNixon

    RichardMNixon Zealot (515) Jun 24, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I'm going to go out on a limb and assume most of the people saying this sort of thing have never made an IPA.

    By all means though, if it's so easy, start up a brewery and run Russian River out of business.
    Longstaff, mjshearer1, jrnyc and 10 others like this.
  3. DavoleBomb

    DavoleBomb Poo-Bah (2,463) Mar 29, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    My definition is "better than average."
  4. ant880

    ant880 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2010 New York

    Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion and different tastes are what make the world go 'round, but I do believe a list of ratings like that should result in the cancellation of that dude's Beer Card
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  5. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2012 Maryland

  6. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Aspirant (233) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Do you think Jim will read this thread? I know most brewers at least lurk on here. I just imagine Jim as going around feeding beer to his employees, coming up with ideas for his next seasonal, and just walking around being a legend.
  7. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (968) Mar 17, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Ignoring evolution in your industry is how a huge business can eventually fail. If IPAs were so easy to brew then we'd all be drinking Heady and latitude 48 wouldn't suck
  8. cran852

    cran852 Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2009 Nebraska

    Disclaimer - I am not a huge fan of the new uber hoppy beers, and I like SA products.

    BUT, I totally disagree with Koch on this analysis. Different uber - hoppy beers are not one dimensional. There are a million different flavors going on, and the levels of aromatic and taste pleasure are potentially endless. And, Scotch drinking is not a good comparison. A better comparison is drinking high end cabernet sauvignon where there is at first a similarity in each one, you can spend a lifetime disecting the differences.

    And, hoppy beers is the first real opportunity for beer to enter the interesting world of yearly vintage differences. Sure beer has historically been a product that relied on industrial consistency, but not every beer has to fall into that category.
    JuliusCaesar and TongoRad like this.
  9. highdesertdrinker

    highdesertdrinker Disciple (382) Nov 5, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Somebody send that man an "Enjoy by 5-17-13" and get his ass straightened out!
  10. kdb150

    kdb150 Zealot (501) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    It's not that you can't have it, it's that the vast majority of them don't. Heady is about the only one that you can properly say has a depth and complexity of flavor. Some others, most notably Hopslam, provide a more balanced experience which allows the malt to come through and be more than just hops.

    However, people seem to lose their shit over just about any heavily hopped beer. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but it misses an awful lot of what beer is all about. And the discussions and ratings on this site totally back up the assertion that many craft beer drinkers are focused on hops and, though Koch didn't say this, bourbon barrels. Two things which cover up a lot of what the flavor profile of beer should be about - malt and, more importantly, yeast.

    Jim Koch might not be the best mouthpiece for this viewpoint, as his company makes many poor attempts at brewing more "interesting" styles. But I can understand why brewers would be somewhat frustrated that there isn't a wider appreciation of what malt, yeast, and adjunct grains/sugars can bring to beer, and that the highest ranked beers are in many cases beers which are made to deliberately cover up and minimize these aspects of the beer.
  11. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    You need to get out more.
  12. LCB_Hostage

    LCB_Hostage Initiate (0) Jan 30, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I'm curious how you think this discussion has benefited Koch. Yes, he got people talking, but from what I can see, most of the people think his comments were pretty dickish. The old adadge "there's no such thing as bad publicity" really isn't true. Getting people talking about how they think you're an a-hole doesn't sell a lot of your beer.
    bsp77 likes this.
  13. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    The brewers that are frustrated that there isn't a wider appreciation of what malt, yeast, and grains/sugars bring to beer are IMO :sunglasses: extremely bitter :sunglasses: that others just came along from nowhere with their hopped up recipes and people are worshiping them. Again, the article reads like a big ole bundle of sour grapes.
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  14. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    "Most people" aren't the people on this site. A Boston Globe interview and a Boston.com article aren't aimed at us. Tons of people hop on his dick and peddle his nuts over everything he does. This won't be received everywhere like it is here, I promise you.
    dan027 and cmmcdonn like this.
  15. Smitty1988

    Smitty1988 Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I would respectfully disagree. If Jim Koch was offering me advice on how to start a successful brewery I would listen to him, and consider all he’s done in this industry, but trash talking a style of beer which he does not produce isn’t his expert opinion… Its his form of marketing his product.
    johnnydicfore likes this.
  16. BottleCaps80

    BottleCaps80 Defender (606) Jan 12, 2013 Iowa
    Beer Trader

  17. kdb150

    kdb150 Zealot (501) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I get out plenty. Haven't had any of Hill Farmstead's IPAs, but I have had both Plinys, which are quite extensively slobbered over. They are not complex beers in any sense of the word. So what am I missing, exactly?
  18. kdb150

    kdb150 Zealot (501) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    And the wealthiest, largest, and most successful craft brewer has sour grapes . . . why, exactly?
    dan027 likes this.
  19. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Yeah, I tried that line of thought the last few years of Al Davis's life when I'd watch the Raiders make the worst possible draft picks in the 1st round. . .

    You can be at the forefront for quite awhile, but it doesn't mean you always have a good grasp on the present or future.

    Now don't get me wrong. I don't think anything he said was "wrong". I just found it ironic that his hoppy beers fall more likely than not into the "just there" category vs. excellent. He's made a lot of different ipa's, after the hoppier trend had been around for a decade or so. . .
  20. drgarage

    drgarage Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2008 California

    That you're basing the idea that an IPA other than Heady Topper can't be complex based on two beers that even their brewer wouldn't call complex?

    Again, almost nothing else is going to be as complex as a vintage aged geuze, but that doesn't mean any style is inherently simple. It's all about the intent and the work behind it.
  21. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    What Jim Koch said. There's about 100 of them that are excellent. That's what you're missing.
  22. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I think that's the biggest control factor in this whole experiment that is BeerAdvocate! :wink:
    sergeantstogie likes this.
  23. djsmith1174

    djsmith1174 Disciple (343) Aug 21, 2005 Minnesota

    Why continue to drink/review hoppy beers if you know you're going to dislike them? The attempt to knock them down is not going to have great effect when the rdev is -78.8%. :astonished:
    ant880 likes this.
  24. Smitty1988

    Smitty1988 Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I think he has sour grapes cause he didnt think of it and do it first! Sure he might just sit back and count his money, but look at the top rated Beers here. Of the 250... How many SA. His flagship beer has an 85, whereas Stone's flagship is at a 94. He is passionate about beer, thats why he cares, and is "bitter" (no pun intended)
  25. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    Ask him. I didn't interview him or else I would have had a follow-up after that mini-rant.
  26. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,045) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I like these quotes from the extended interview:

    "A lot of brewers now go straight from home brewing into making a chili-chocolate-chipotle porter or whatever, and it’s like . . . well, just fucking make a good porter first, and understand what a porter is instead of trying to re-invent it."

    "It’s more difficult for me to take inspiration from colleagues or other people in the industry than it was. Now it’s more about new yeasts, new bacteria, new ingredients, different types of wood, etc. But we’re not trying to slap people across the face with flavor and intensity. Just make succinct, enjoyable beer."

    Oh wait...those are from Shaun Hill.
    cjgiant, jmw, Bung and 5 others like this.
  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (716) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I can see why some are angry, his tone may be a bit harsh. But his main point is true. If IPAs were so difficult to nail, how come so many dominate the top 100? Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen is in there, how come hefeweizens aren't dominating the ratings?

    Sure Jim doesn't brew a top 10 IPA, but what large brewer does? Hoptimum certainly isn't cracking the top 10.

    Is it possible IPAs are just easier to like? Enjoying a well crafted pilsner, or bitter on cask as much as an IPA, takes patience and time in your craft beer journey. I enjoy a fresh Weihenstpehan Original or Hefe just as much, maybe more, than a Heady Topper.

    Jim Koch doesn't make Heady Topper, but he does brew Noble Pils (and Cream Stout and Boston Ale :slight_smile:) and that's impressive to me.
    mdillon86 and yemenmocha like this.
  28. dan027

    dan027 Initiate (0) Mar 28, 2011 Pennsylvania

    It always amazes me how many people love to shit on Sam Koch and BBC. This guys is extremely passionate about beer and has done more to help bring good beer to the market than most could dream of doing. I can understand why some people might take exception to the way he comes off in this interview but to me it seems more like he's taking a shot at newer breweries that open with a lineup that consists of a handful of super extreme beers and maybe seem like they're just trying to cash in on the extreme beer craze rather than making beer because its something that they're passionate about. I would also be very surprised if MANY other established brewers don't share this opinion and why shouldn't they? I can certainly understand how they could feel that this kind of thing cheapens the craft they're so passionate about. I really like Sam Koch and I think he makes some terrific beer but he also makes some beer that I don't care for and I'm ok with that. I appreciate what he's done and firmly believe that he will continue to help good beer grow and thrive.
  29. GuzzLah

    GuzzLah Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 Illinois

    I don't see how brewing a tasty IPA makes someone less passionate about brewing beer.
  30. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    I guess I should stop liking hops so much. On second thought, no.
  31. GuzzLah

    GuzzLah Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 Illinois

    I wish I bought Sam Adams beer, so I could stop buying it.
    davelag likes this.
  32. Gerbs2

    Gerbs2 Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2013 Iowa

    I'm watching the draft and drinking a Ruination IPA and I'm happy as hell.
  33. dan027

    dan027 Initiate (0) Mar 28, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Not remotely close to what I said. I love IPA's and think there are plenty of great ones and I'm sure most of the brewers are passionate about them but if I open the doors to Face Puncher Brewing Co tomorrow and my lineup is a super hoppy IPA a big, even hoppier DIPA that boasts 500 IBU!! A bourbon barrel aged barley wine coming in at 13%!! And a vanilla-chocolate-chili imperial stout aged in bourbon maple syrup barrels it seems like a money grab, no?
  34. GuzzLah

    GuzzLah Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 Illinois

    Which of the 2000+ breweries in the USA are doing that?
  35. dan027

    dan027 Initiate (0) Mar 28, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Unfortunately (for me anyway) I'm not familiar with every brewery in the US and I don't even know that there are a ton out there that are doing this but that is the impression I was left with from that interview and as someone posted earlier it appears that Shaun Hill feels the same way. There was also another thread earlier this week with an article from an industry insider who pointed this out as a problem in the industry. I'm just blown away at how offended everyone is by this interview and how it seems people are taking it personally. It's only his opinion and the way he feels, not everyone needs to share it
    imbibehour likes this.
  36. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,328) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    (It seems you combined Sam Calagione and Jim Koch into a mega-BA-lightningrod, which I suppose is understandable.:wink: )

    I'm pretty sure I get the main point about the attention-getting part of our culture these days, particularly with startups; and as Herrburgess pointed out above, Shaun Hill is saying some of the same things. But, I still am not so crazy about his dismissive attitude towards a style that I enjoy as much as any other, and think has more than earned its place in the brewing world. I guess that's what happens when one talks too much in generalities as he seems to have done in the piece- people who are reading your words start to imagine their favorite beer listed among the ones you are deriding, and will tend to react pretty negatively.
    dan027 likes this.
  37. xanok

    xanok Disciple (369) Aug 13, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    *Checks Stone's flagship beer*

    It's an 88. What beer do you think their flagship beer is?
  38. GuzzLah

    GuzzLah Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 Illinois

    Shaun Hill makes some extreme beers. One of his beers is 300+ibu and gets great ratings. It has one of the highest IBU counts of any beer. Sounds like hypocrisy to me.

    I don't get the impression anyone is truly offended by what Jim Koch said. They are merely pointing out it was a douchey thing to say for someone in his position.
  39. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,045) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Guess BAs aren't as violently passionate about porters or something... :wink:
  40. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,328) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Shhh- I can still get Sinebrycoff off the shelf- let's keep it that way.
    Onenote81 likes this.
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