What are the biggest improvements in craft beer over the last 10 years?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by herrburgess, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Oldstate

    Oldstate Initiate (60) Jul 10, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Yes, Gaffel is what my Wegmans has stocked. It tasted a bit stale and I’m not sure there was a date or at least I missed it or didn’t understand the code. I feel that may have been the brand we tried in the 90’s too. These European breweries need to send cans here. I just picked up some Sam Smiths in cans to try. Pilsner Urquell in a can is unbelievably good. At least Sam Smith’s isn’t in clear bottles anymore
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  2. marquis

    marquis Crusader (770) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Done. Thanks
    IPAExpert69 likes this.
  3. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,003) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Those Sam Smith Organic Lager cans were amazing.
    Oldstate likes this.
  4. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California

    OK @islay you have solidified your position as grumpiest of the old men. And if you limit your claim to chain retailers and liquor stores, and you insist the traditional styles must be new recipes from small brewers, then you may be correct that there is some displacement of traditional beers for sweeter styles.
    But if you have access to quality bottle shops, or you have no problem getting your porter from a company that's a decade plus old and has had that porter (insert other traditional and style, lagers of any high quality seem to be slower to arrive in the US scene) since their finding, or you are willing to get beer in Crowler/growler form, or you happen to live in one of the better two dozen markets in the country, then your complaint basically boils down to complaining about the music these damn kids are listening to.
    Yes there is an influx of new beers that charge premium prices for products that push the boundary of traditional beer flavors deep into the fruit and dessert realms. And yes that influx attends an influx of new beer drinkers who prefer these sweeter styles to the more bitter and subtle flavors of some traditional beer (I would note that fruited ales, radlers, and Rick caramelly dark Belgian beers have been around and expressing these flavors for a long time). But the only damage done is you have more shelf beer too ignore and your less likely to find a new buddy sitting at the bar who will wax poetic with you over the virtues of dark milds and properly made kolsch. Not the end of the world or the death of beer
    rozzom, Ranbot and AlcahueteJ like this.
  5. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    What exactly is a "bottle shop"? In Minnesota all we have are liquor stores. Some of those stores have good beer selections. Do the terms 'bottle shop' and 'beer store' simply refer to liquor stores while ignoring the fact that those stores sell other things too?
    muck1979 likes this.
  6. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,304) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Bottle shops specialize in selling beer. More selection. They typically sell mostly singles/four packs/six packs. They order the harder to find beer not typically found in retail. The ones around here have a few draft lines and also sell growlers/crowlers.
  7. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,323) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

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  8. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    But are they actually liquor stores?
  9. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,578) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    In NY beer is sold only at supermarkets, where wine and spirits aren't allowed to be sold, or at beverage stores where beer and cider and can be sold, but no wine nor spirits. We don't usually call them bottle shops in this part of the state (beverage stores is more common) but that is what it means in NY.
    rozzom and KarlHungus like this.
  10. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (48) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    Absolutely this: I'm old enough to remember getting excited when someone who had been west of the Mississippi River brought back a six of Coors!
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  11. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (266) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    I'm guessing they don't sell liquor, so no
  12. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,304) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    In PA they are generally found as an add on to a supermarket or a restaurant. In more affluent areas there can be stand alone bottleshops(mostly in the city) but many of the stand alone ones have been closing in recent years due to the buy local brewery can releases

    I suppose a liquor store could dedicate an area to have a bottle shop per say depending on if state law prohibits the aforementioned examples.
    KarlHungus likes this.
  13. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    That seems like a failing business model. At least it was for the one guy who tried it in Minnesota.
  14. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (266) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    Do you have wine shops?
  15. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    As far as I know all stores that sell alcohol sell beer, wine and spirits.
  16. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,872) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    No, in PA Liquor is only sold at State owned Wine and Spirits stores.
  17. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,057) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    I remember drinking that Nut Brown Ale at JH's in Cambridge when I lived in Boston! I even wrote a review of it... in August 2004. And, apparently, liked it enough to take home a growler of it.


    Brings back some great memories that I haven't thought about in many years. Amazing that a beer can do that, and hard to believe that was so long ago.
  18. Mvsmvs92

    Mvsmvs92 Disciple (378) May 31, 2011 Ohio

    it,s learning from some of the best from the experts that post here and on the international forum.I am talking about someone teaching us all about the brews that we enjoy and dislike.Thank you all ,cheers
    cavedave, AlcahueteJ and PapaGoose03 like this.
  19. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,432) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    To me a 'bottle shop's is a generic term for a good beer store, and from state to state they may also may sell wine and spirits. However, various other terms are used regionally or maybe exclusive to a state.

    Here in Michigan, and other areas of the Great Lakes states, 'party store' is the term of choice, which is a misnomer since most don't carry any party supplies such as balloons, paper plates, etc. But you can get beer, wine and spirits in many other types of stores such as c-stores, supermarkets, department stores (Target carries beer and wine in a modest amount), and other types of stores.
  20. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,003) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Well, if you swing by there this fall it will be a Wachusett Brewery tap room.

    And here in MA we call them liquor stores, bottle shops, and "packies" (short for package store).

    These all carry wine, liquor, beer, cider...etc.
    Jacobier10 likes this.
  21. muck1979

    muck1979 Initiate (64) Jul 3, 2005 Minnesota

    I've been quietly wondering this for years. I assumed it was regional terminology for a liquor store. Thanks for asking.
    KarlHungus likes this.
  22. Crapulent-eh

    Crapulent-eh Initiate (29) Mar 27, 2019 Ontario (Canada)

    Not on probation?
    Auto Alström "Mediation" been lifted?!
    Oy Vey...
    FatBoyGotSwagger likes this.
  23. Crapulent-eh

    Crapulent-eh Initiate (29) Mar 27, 2019 Ontario (Canada)

    The Alström Overlords have relaxed their censorship?
    Miracles never cease... lol.
  24. islay

    islay Aspirant (266) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Yeah, I'll sometimes refer to "bottle shops" in the Beer Talk and Beer News forums (as opposed to the Midwest forum) to refer to stores that sell beer, be they liquor stores, beer and wine stores, beer-only stores, grocery stores that sell beer, etc., and, yes, usually I mean a place that emphasizes craft beer as opposed to a-case-and-a-handle kind of joint. I just want to keep the conversation generic and understandable to people throughout the country and beyond. In Minnesota, in practice, we have only liquor stores (aside from the many 3.2 outlets), and "bottle shop" isn't a term that many people use in the Midwest, but it seems to have some broad national understanding (or so I thought). Given the popularity of cans, "bottle shop" is something of an anachronism, I suppose.
  25. elliot23

    elliot23 Initiate (109) Jan 27, 2009 Montana

    So much public knowledge available to brewers on better brewing practices and better recipes and now more and more great beer is readily available close by. I don't even buy much beer in the store anymore since I can get it fresh from local breweries around my state.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  26. islay

    islay Aspirant (266) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    I'm far from a "traditional styles guy." I love style-busting, uncategorizable, boundaries-pushing, highly flavorful beer. But I love it in the context of the very broad set of flavors historically associated with beer, not flavors employed to cover up, distract from, and replace those flavors. One of the problems with The Great Sweetening of the last half-decade indeed is that it has crowded out traditional styles. But another very big problem is that it has distracted from, drawn resources away from, and crowded out innovation, experimentation, and creativity outside of The Cloying Trinity (NEIPAs, pastry stouts, fruited kettle sours). So much R&D and brewer learning has been poured into making beers ever juicier, more sugary, and hazier, and the craft beer customer base has so heavily favored that approach, that there is less time and money available, and less commercial inclination, to push the boundaries in other areas. That phenomenon is exacerbating the consolidation of styles into "the third category" (to quote myself) and further diminishing practical variety.
  27. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,297) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    This isn't a criticism or objection, but you've evolved and built up your passionate stance into a religion. Part of me likes it, but for your own good remember to come up for air every so often. :slight_smile:
    readyski, stevepat, rozzom and 7 others like this.
  28. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (194) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    It's an odd experience for sure. 2 weeks ago I was in a store and they identified a fake ID from a "customer" in front of me in line. Kid went to run but metal gates shut at the entrance, and police were called. Kid given some sort of underage or something, PA state stores don't fuck around.
    LuskusDelph and drtth like this.
  29. L-Space_Traveler

    L-Space_Traveler Initiate (66) Jun 2, 2013 Colorado

    I agree with both of the above, in the sense that yes, I feel that the IPA category is becoming "diluted", but also that there are still many good, original-style IPAs out there.

    Have to take issue with this one - I tend toward a knee-jerk reaction to reject the trendy, so I'm really glad that I discovered IPAs before they became trendy - I like many types of beer, but the hoppiest, bitterest ones are my favorite. And if people do like them "sweet" and "fruity" who am I to care - I just don't drink those kinds. I also don't like wheat beers. Taste is just about what you like, and I think it's great that just about anyone can find something to like; no-one has to like everything.
  30. Kinsman

    Kinsman Champion (837) Aug 26, 2009 California

    I'm not going to fault a brewery or taproom for catering to this market, it's just frustrating to see a tap list change from one with 5-6 different styles or interesting beer that I want to try to just 1-2. The particular local brewery I referred to earlier is still the best game in town, and there are other bars with excellent tap lists so there's always something to drink, but the selection isn't quite what it was a year or two ago. Overall, as craft beer has become more mainstream, breweries I think have, by necessity, become more beholden to trends. My guess is that 10 years ago, their average customer was more knowledgeable about different styles and willing to try new stuff. Now, any bro that walks into a tap room just scans the list for whatever IPA and could care less about trying an ESB or whatever
    Ranbot and herrburgess like this.
  31. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,578) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Wait. Did I get that right? Holy shit, man, what an awesome solution! You really have to start spreading that idea to others more often.

    Don't like that style? Don't drink it. Drink a different style. Love it!

    Hard to imagine that hasn't occurred to others, but reading through the posts on this site it apparently has not occurred to many people.
  32. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (818) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    All this chat about “traditional” IPA flavors as if Pliny et al have been around for centuries....
  33. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Out here the term refers to a store that specializes in high quality beers. People also call them beer stores. They are often attached to/include a beer bar. They usually sell singles as well as 4/6 packs. There are also liquor stores that will sell everything. And gas stations and grocery stores also sell beer, wine, and liquor. It's a model that seems to do all right in CA, although there are also plenty of liquor stores that also have a good beer selection
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  34. JSullivan

    JSullivan Initiate (24) Aug 18, 2010 Massachusetts

    Reissdorf Kölsch is in cans, at least here in Mass. I've also found St. Georgenbrau Kellerbier recently.
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  35. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California

    The problem with this theory is that there are also more lager only breweries than ever in recent history in the US today. And they are certainly experimenting and developing unique beers in this space. I get that it is frustrating that such a preponderance of new breweries/new distribution focuses on these hip styles but I still contend that you are being fooled by the dilution into believing that there are somehow less non neipa/pastry stout/kettle sours than before when in fact there are more beers available that don't fall into those styles than ever before. It's just that if the selection for all other styles has doubled the selection of those 3 styles has gone up ten fold. I can now access more variety in every style of beer (except bitter, of which I have seen the one packaged version I used to drink gone while a local that doesn't package has arrived, so a wash) than I could 10, 6, 3, or 1 years ago. Of course, my access to your 'cloying trinity' has exploded from essentially zero to between 30 and 60% of the selection at a given store.

    Again, I contend that your problem, or at least the source of your frustration, is in the parallel explosion of patrons at good beer sources who don't really care for the wider world of beer and are obsessed with one or all of those newer styles. And I agree that it has made the available beer dork conversations with strangers at bars/taprooms suddenly less than nearly 100% interesting. But that is not the same as the disappearance of older beer styles.

    And like I said in my earlier post, after experiencing a store that did mirror your complaint (although to be fair I had never been there before so it's entirely possible that 3 or 10 years ago there would've been zero decent beer available) I could understand how, if that was your local store selection it would be very frustrating. And if that is your local situation then I feel for you. But for me, and many of the other people who have responded to you, this is absolutely not the situation. There is more variety both in terms of SKUs and styles, than ever in my lifetime and your trinity just add three more to the options.
  36. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (266) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    This is 'murica! Where houses built in the 1800s are considered "ancient"!
  37. meefmoff

    meefmoff Defender (634) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Since you're in California, don't you mean the 1980s? :sunglasses::stuck_out_tongue:
    AlcahueteJ, Ranbot, stevepat and 2 others like this.
  38. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,619) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I agree for the most part, but British beers/styles have most definitely decreased.

    The Bombardier cans are a step in the right direction, mind you, but there could be a whole lot of steps to come.
  39. meefmoff

    meefmoff Defender (634) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Since you're keyed in to the history here could I bother you to give a sense of how you've seen things progress on this front over time in your experience? I definitely see that British beers lag well behind German and Belgian styles at bottle shops and breweries in my area but I don't have a good sense of what the heyday was like and when/how quickly it started to change.

    One thing that I clearly remember in the 90s was that the 3 or 4 big brewpubs in Boston all always had a cask option or two on offer (RIP Commonwealth Brewery). These days a cask option is the exception/treat. And I've discovered that I love dark milds but even at Nerax we're lucky to get even one or two of them.
  40. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California

    That is true. And I am on the younger end of things so in my drinking life there was never really any British options (turned 21 in 2008 and started really exploring beer in 2009/10) so I don't feel a decrease, just a persistent absence
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