Styles that American brewers just haven't nailed

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by OneDropSoup, Feb 7, 2013.

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  1. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Or, alternatively, "Should American brewers stick to American styles?" I've talked before about how there are so, so few good American-made dubbles (Ommegang's is about the only one I like). I'm now sipping on a Doppelbock by a brewer not so far away & thinking the same thing - Troegs & Thomas Hooker are about the only domestic breweries that make decent Doppelbocks. Any other styles you can think of that many American brewers have tried & very few have pulled off well?
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  2. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2005 Minnesota

    most Belgian styles...they often come off as too sweet and boozy, or just odd in flavor
  3. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Victory makes a doppel that beats both of those.

    I think America brewers do a job in most styles, but there is a serious lacking of English styles being replicated in the US
    fx20736, Starkbier, JimKal and 2 others like this.
  4. BB1313

    BB1313 Poo-Bah (2,756) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio

    I think alot of American brewers don't exactly nail the "Tripel" style, but they still end up being tasty beers..
  5. EdH

    EdH Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2005 Utah

    Yeah--Most U.S. made Tripels are too sweet, for sure
  6. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,409) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    Cost is a factor, too. Even when you can name a pretty good version (let's take your Doppelbock example- isn't Hooker like $4 a bottle?), they are still more expensive and still not as good as the comparable continental examples available over here.
  7. RPH2327

    RPH2327 Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Clearly, American brewers have yet to master the IPA.
    Tut, fx20736, Adamshmadam and 4 others like this.
  8. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,586) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)

    Lots of terrible American Quads.
  9. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Okay, so there are three good ones. Those are the exceptions that prove the rule, not really what I'm going for here.
    ThirstyFace likes this.
  10. PeterJ

    PeterJ Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 California

    And even when they make a good one, they price it as much (if not more) than the real thing.
    daviddoughan likes this.
  11. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    If you operate by the whole "quads aren't a real style" paradigm, what do folks think of American-brewed BSDAs?
  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,913) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Grand Teton in ID makes a kick ass Doppelbock called Double Vision. Best domestic DB I have ever had. Dubbels? I quite fancy the New Belgium Abbey Style.

    More to your point, I find Milds and Bitters lacking with a few exceptions.
  13. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,053) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    German lagers, Alts, and Koelsches; UK cask ales (all of them); Czech pilsners and darks.

    (Of course there are exceptions: two I can think of...New Glarus and Olde Mecklenburg on the German side, for example.)
  14. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    I've never had an American-brewed quad that held a candle to the Belgians. Everything else I can think of I've had ones that I liked almost as much as (or more than) the original.
  15. GennyCreamAle

    GennyCreamAle Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2009 New York

  16. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    And how many have attempted making a gueuze? What's the swing:miss ratio?
    dennis3951 and youbrewidrink like this.
  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,363) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Apis Quad last summer in CO was excellent.
    dachp and stuart3368 like this.
  18. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,913) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Umm...Boulevard BBQ?
  19. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Initiate (0) May 29, 2011 Florida

    Biere de Garde
  20. jplopez21

    jplopez21 Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2012 Illinois

    Everyone keeps posting American quads and while I agree that most American Belgian style ales are horrible representations (allagash comes to mind). I'm gonna have to give a nod to three philosophers and sixth glass. Unibroue makes awesome Belgian style ales, but they're Canadian so I guess they don't count?
    Andygirl likes this.
  21. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Eh, why not? Moreso looking at "new world" brews, styles made outside of their country of origin, so Unibroue counts as much as Allagash or Ommegang.
  22. Loganyoung

    Loganyoung Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2011 Georgia

    The bruery rueuze. Never had it but have heard good things about it, not quite world class though.
  23. Chaney

    Chaney Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2006 District of Columbia

    Märzen/Octoberfest. Sure, I like the one New Glarus makes and the Great Lakes is just okay. To me, Hacker Pschorr and Ayinger owns the fall season.
  24. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,586) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)

    There are some decent US ones that I've tried, but they usually depart from the Belgian aesthetic through the use of adjuncts, bourbon barrel-aging, wild yeast, etc. I've had some fantastic Midnight Sun beers in these 'styles' (per BA): The Viking, The New Black, Venus, Because, Oak-Aged Monk's Mistress. The first two Bruery Christmas beers (barrel-aged or regular) were pretty solid as well.

    The ones from Unibroue are closer to the mark, but they've specialized in making those sorts of beers and have been doing it for quite some time.

    I think American beer is at its best when it is pushing the boundaries and being innovative rather than competing with hundreds of years of practice and tradition. Why kill yourself coming up with and perfecting a traditional Quad recipe when the best compliment you're going to get is "This tastes almost as good as Rochefort 10"? Make sense for beers that need to be fresh or aren't available here, but I can buy good Quads and BDSAs from Belgium at virtually any store in my market.
    morimech and corby112 like this.
  25. Thirstygoat

    Thirstygoat Zealot (563) Nov 22, 2012 Illinois

    Capital makes some interesting Doppelbocks.
    greg357, nickapalooza86 and Tashbrew like this.
  26. acevenom

    acevenom Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2011 Louisiana

    Quite a few home brewers would be flattered to be told their quad was almost as good as Rochefort 10 or equal to it.
  27. tehzachatak

    tehzachatak Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    As far as I'm aware, Rueuze is simply a blended barrel aged sour blonde, and is certainly not a gueuze. Allagash Coolship Resurgam is the only US "gueuze" I can think of - I am unclear whether Beatification qualifies, although it's certainly closer than Rueuze.
  28. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,586) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)

    That's fine if your goal is honing your craft and testing your skills, but from a financial perspective it doesn't make a lot of sense to operate a business that exerts a ton of effort putting out a product that is 70-80% as good as something already readily available.
    mattbk likes this.
  29. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,586) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)

    Beatification (Batch 2+) is a blended, open-fermented beer, as was Jolly Pumpkin Lambicus Dexterius. They don't follow the traditional 1,2,3 year blending schedule though (although neither do a lot of the special/one-off 'gueuzes' like J&Js, Lou Pepe, etc.)
  30. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,521) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    All of these plus a list of Belgian styles.
  31. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,586) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)

    How many Belgian quads are aged in bourbon barrels with cherries? :wink:
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  32. acevenom

    acevenom Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2011 Louisiana

    Oh I agree with you in part. If Rochefort 10 is your 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, then justifying a cost for a 7 or 8 on that scale by an American brewer may or may not work. Then again, something that is a 9 or 9.5 on that scale could be justifiable. Quads aren't cheap beers to make anyway, so getting a subpar quad is quite disappointing.
  33. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,521) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Also wanted to make a general point that is, surprise surprise, a negative. It's not that American brewers aren't trying or haven't tried. They have. And they can't. They can't succeed. There is a reasonable list of styles that can be gleaned from this thread, and I think it's a vocal minority at best that would insist that the Europeans don't have the upper hand on many/most of these styles.
    jmw likes this.
  34. Loganyoung

    Loganyoung Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2011 Georgia

    Oh, well I could be wrong. BA lists it as a gueuze and if I recall correctly the bruery lists it as one on their site.
  35. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,586) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)

    If there was something in the 8-9 range it might be worth making if just for the novelty of trying Trappist-style beers on-tap. However, I think the freshness 'advantage' is actually a disadvantage in this case, as the aging in bottles (in transport and on the shelf) cuts some of the heat off the Belgian versions.

    Sadly, many of my local brewpubs continue to make subpar Belgians (even Revolution and Three Floyds are guilty of this). They tend to linger on-tap, as people order samples when possible and then move on to the superior IPA and stout offerings. I'd rather they use the ingredients/barrels/fermenter time on things they do well.
  36. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (762) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

  37. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

  38. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

    Also, who cares? Let them brew their styles, let american brewers brew their styles.... we, the consumer, get to enjoy both whenever we want. I call that a win-win!
  39. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (6,539) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Define... "style".

    insert devil's advocate.

    I actually like quite a few of the American takes on certain "foreign" styles (German, Belgian), more so because they are just "different". The great thing in America is I can have the choice of both.

    One persons nail, is another persons red herring.
  40. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (6,586) Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)

    I don't find this particularly negative. It took Germans, English, and Belgians hundreds of years to perfect the styles they make best. American brewers have been trying for, what, 25 years?

    American beer has improved remarkably in a short period of time, but a lot of this is due to innovations like barrel-aging and engineered hops, and because the lack of established culture allowed for a more experimental approach to brewing. (Fruit in a Berliner? Why not? Bourbon-barrel age and add spices to a Doppelbock? Sure!) The sheer number of people in the US, and by extension breweries also expedites improvement times. Give the US another 75 years and perhaps they'll make some awesome cask milds and Czech-style lagers; of course you and I will probably be dead.
    raoulduke37 likes this.
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