Styles that American brewers just haven't nailed

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

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  1. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    That's great to hear. I'm out west and every gelato place I've been to has been quite the disappointment.
  2. Gatch

    Gatch Meyvn (1,253) Nov 29, 2006 Massachusetts

    Well, of course. I just think they make great lagers in the general sense of the style. What I have always wanted lagers to taste like. How I imagine them tasting in Germany (but even better there) as far as feel, smoothness, etc. As craft beer drinkers, we've waited a long time for a brewery that can churn out fantastic lagers and I think Jack's Abby has become that brewery. But I can't wait for the day I'm in a small Bavarian town drinking fresh lager out of a half liter mug...
    Giovannilucano likes this.
  3. Gassygunslinger

    Gassygunslinger Initiate (23) Dec 20, 2012 Maine

    Yeah, there's a difference between "you need to know the rules before you break them", and "you should strive to exactly replicate pre-existing norms". I went through art school. At no time did a teacher say, "Okay class, I want you guys to precisely mimic Da Vinci's style of painting..." I don't see why it's such a crime for a brewer to think, "Yes, these guys over there brew beer like this. But I think it might be slightly better if I altered this."

    It's a case of brewers aiming to be similar (but not precisely replicating) a style. It's not a case of brewers starting off going, "SCREW THE RULES! I'M GOING TO FERMENT BEEF BROTH AND APPLE JUICE!"
  4. jeremiahoden

    jeremiahoden Disciple (334) Apr 4, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    True english barleywine!
  5. ChanChan

    ChanChan Devotee (469) Dec 12, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

  6. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    I'm having trouble with the word 'nailed' myself, but...

    I think there is a quite a short list of styles that American brewers can say they have nailed, and it might be easier to list this than the ones they haven't. This includes most styles that start with 'American'.

    yyyyyyyep. It is a kind of fear borne of shortcomings and relabeled as 'innovation'.
  7. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Why would you want one when you can have the vastly superior American Barleywine?
  8. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    That is what they're doing.

    For years I've sought a superior replacement for my usual Celebrator or Korbinian, for example. There's a small handful of decent "ordinary" American doppelbocks that deserve to be on the same table. The majority of brewers do (what I personally see as lame) stuff like make one with Birch syrup, or Lapsang Souchong, or Chipotle, or Chocolate, or Cherry, or Maple, or Coffee. FFS most brewers just cannot make a classic doppelbock that is in the same league of Celebrator or Korbinian (it's not as though they can make something that one ups Celebrator and then consciously decide to make it even better by adding heavy doses of Lapsang souchong tea or whatever). To return to the analogy, they can't make a competitive Neapolitan, so they resort to "innovation" in making the BBQ pizza. That's one style example of the point that some of us are making.
  9. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,971) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    And as was probably brought up then, "American Hefeweizen" (American Pale Wheat Ale) has to be distinguished clearly from traditional "Bavarian Hefeweizen."

    I can understand not liking the American Pale Wheat (I'm no big fan), but it's its own style and was "invented" in this country -- difficult to say it hasn't been "nailed."

    On the other hand, breweries such as Sierra Nevada, New Glarus, Capital, Sprecher, Gordon-Biersch, and others have done a good job at creating good Bavarian Hefeweizen.
  10. Gassygunslinger

    Gassygunslinger Initiate (23) Dec 20, 2012 Maine

    While I respect your opinion, I just have to play devil's advocate... I wonder if sometimes it can be a case of accepted styles coloring one's preferences towards other styles. For example. In my experience, Belgian styles tend to be softer and more lightly hopped. Even in the case of a Belgian IPA, it seems to be softer than a traditional IPA. Is it a case of Belgian's not being capable of producing a traditional IPA? Or are their tastes more attuned to softer, more lightly hopped beer?

    I just wonder if a hundred years from now, there will be discussions by Europeans, claiming that there are so few of their breweries that can really nail a bourbon stout.
  11. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (447) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    This is going to sound weird, but I believe there will not be a Europe that we can recognize. With the mob alone in Italy, culture and tradition is killed literally by these criminals who do not tolerate such free spirited love for culture. Just my view point for the moment.
  12. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,971) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That's a great question, but I imagine it's more palate than capability.

    Over here, for instance, Bock beer developed into a certain profile back before and after prohibition -- and that profile wasn't exactly like German Bock beer. Today New Glarus' and Anchor's Bocks follow this style. I have to think that started as capabilities (and ingredients) and evolved into palate.
  13. jeremiahoden

    jeremiahoden Disciple (334) Apr 4, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    Because a 10 year old Thomas Hardy's developes in ways an American just can't.
    wesbray likes this.
  14. Handle

    Handle Initiate (145) Mar 16, 2009 North Carolina

    I'll have to disagree there. When it comes to barleywines, I greatly prefer the English take.
    litheum94 likes this.
  15. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    That's not disagreeing. That's just being incorrect. Sorry to hear about your palate :wink:
    Handle likes this.
  16. Gotti311

    Gotti311 Crusader (771) Mar 22, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    No one has even taken a stab at a lambic. Why is that?

    There are a lot of awful Wild Ales out there, I think American brewers need to make more headway in the Flanders arena also
  17. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Metropolitan has an alt that can hang with the Germans, especially since we cant get theirs fresh.
    steveh likes this.
  18. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    If you can sell it at 50-60% of the price, it might.
  19. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (850) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Personally, Chicago deep dish pizza is my favorite kind of pizza
  20. Pegli

    Pegli Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2006 Rhode Island

    It's a tasty casserole...:wink:
    commis likes this.
  21. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    It semantics (not this again), but I want to punch any brewer in the face who makes an American Wheat and calls it a hefeweizen. And twice for Widmer.

    IMO, a hefeweizen is a hefeweizen, there is no difference between an American and a Bavarian one, stylistically. If you use Chico yeast or Alt yeast or etc, dont put the word hefeweizen on the label.
    litheum94 and yemenmocha like this.
  22. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,315) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Allagash makes one, and they even have a coolship. JP makes on also.
  23. Gassygunslinger

    Gassygunslinger Initiate (23) Dec 20, 2012 Maine

    Given that lambics use wild yeast, I think it's safe to say that there will always be differences from region to region. Which I would imagine would make attempting them a bit difficult, depending on the area.
  24. Treb0R

    Treb0R Aspirant (232) Dec 12, 2012 Oregon

    From my perspective, America has brewed many styles of beer rather well... some more than others for sure. But the real question is, "What styles have international brewers not yet nailed?" Hoppy American IPAs would certainly be at the top of the list.
  25. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    I'm wondering how many examples of internationally-produced American IPA you have sampled. Brewers in the UK are quickly coming to terms with the styles that Americans insist are theirs, and there are many great examples of AIPA and ADIPA out there.
  26. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,971) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    You just can't handle it, can you? :grinning:
  27. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,971) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Oh, semantics argument again -- you're so full of... oh, wait -- we agree on this one! :grinning:

    I remember the first Widmer I had in Portland back in the mid-90s, saw it on the beer list at a pub and thought, "Cool, a Hefeweizen." Took my first swallow and said out loud, "What?" There was no real flavor -- this is false advertising and why I look at styles. I was hoping for a Hefeweizen and got a low-hopped Pale Ale.
  28. marquis

    marquis Crusader (744) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    I'm not at ease with the notion of "innovation"..this gives a misleading impression.The basics of brewing have been known for a long time and all the possible permutations and combinations have long been explored and exhausted.The present so-called traditional European styles are themselves the outcome of much innovation yet even these are continually evolving. What's new to brewing is fresh hop vatieties which introduce new flavour possibilities,
    Given modern transportation there's no reason why brewers in one country should make a better product than those in another.Malt, hops and yeast are freely available on the world market and skills can move around too.I have a feeling that much of the difficulty experienced by American brewers is through using bland domestic malt ; the old beermails I received from homebrewers seemed to emphasise that their beers were transformed using imported malt.I've seen what happens when top quality English malt was used in an attempt to replicate a German style beer; pleasant as it was it just wasn't right.
    My big love is cask ale and here the US is going to struggle.It really requires a large infrastructure with lots of people competent to serve it, and brewers who realise that its forte is in bringing out flavour levels in beers of quite modest strength.What you don't want is a cask to sell out on the same day because it's a novelty, its beauty lies in the development which occurs over time.
    corby112 and jmw like this.
  29. Treb0R

    Treb0R Aspirant (232) Dec 12, 2012 Oregon

    Can you name a few of these amazing, internationally-produced American-style IPAs from the UK?
  30. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    3 times for Widmer.
    steveh likes this.
  31. elfcounsul

    elfcounsul Initiate (153) Nov 6, 2008 Kentucky

    That's it. America gave birth to jazz. American musicians found their voice through jazz. Breweries are finding their own voice by riffing on basic themes.
  32. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    IMHO some of the best malts in the world, indeed my favorite base malts, come from North America. I'll stack the top quality malts from Gambrinus and Great Western (Canada & US respectively) up against any maltster in the world.
  33. Starkbier

    Starkbier Initiate (168) Sep 19, 2002 Maryland

    Harsh Ron! Ive had many excellent versions of those styles in the US of A. And not just from our brewery either!
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,971) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Point me to a Bavarian Helles, Munich Dunkel, or German Pils made with either malt. Love to see if they stack up -- and love it if they do.
    psnydez86 likes this.
  35. ColinStClaire

    ColinStClaire Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2012 Washington

    This. I'm all about enjoying beer. If it tastes good, I'm going to drink it, regardless of how authentic it is to said style. If I want an authentic this or that, I'll drink that. Innovation is what keeps things moving forward. That being said, I don't bash on a brewer (like Unibroue) for mostly recreating old world styles. That's what they are passionate about! So good for them. I suppose it comes down to what excites the brewer. If the brewer is passionate about his/her craft, whether it be a recreation or new creation, it should be supported IMO. If it sucks, well, they learned something. This is what attracts me to craft beer. It's real people making something special and expressing themselves. It's almost like music. Some bands want to sound exactly like Led Zeppelin, and others create something brand new. As long as they are passionate about it, it's all good!
  36. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I am not a lager brewer so wouldn't be able to comment on those styles with any intelligence. However, I use Gambrinus Pilsner malt in every Belgian I brew and it is a wonderfully flavorful malt.

    As far as English and American styles go, the days of "ZOMG FAWCETT MARIS OTTER" are long gone.
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,104) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Great Divide makes a vert tasty Doppelbock: Wolfgang Doppelbock.

  38. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    Thornbridge Halcyon, Brewdog Punk, Kernal IPA (insert hop name). To name a few.
  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,104) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Sly Fox Royal Weisse
    Victory Sunrise Weisee
    Victory Mad King Weisse
    Stoudt's Heifer-in-Wheat
    Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat

    psnydez86 likes this.
  40. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,971) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Funny, because I have an old friend who was brewmaster at a local pub and always used Belgian Pilsner malt in his lagers -- and they turned out great.

    BTW -- what the heck're you doing changing avatars in mid-thread? I didn't recognize you! :wink:
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