What happened to beer? Or to me?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ithacabaron, Jun 16, 2022.

  1. ithacabaron

    ithacabaron Savant (910) Jul 16, 2003 California

    I know I'm officially too old for my own good when I post something like this, but here goes.

    When I got into beer in the late '90s, there was a wonderful spectrum of styles on the market. With IPAs alone, you might experience the haunting, floral wonder of the English style; the bright, brash West Coast take of Stone IPA; balanced East Coast renditions like Hop Devil or Finest Kind, or malt-forward interpretations like Two-Hearted Ale. There was room for interpretation and experimentation too, with beers like Rogue's Brutal jamming as many Crystal hops as it could into the bottle -- classic ingredients, but turned up to 11. (Heck, it was so long ago, Rogue bombers were less than a fiver.) Good stores prided themselves on carrying variety, and they delivered.

    Then, as time passed, more trends appeared. Barrel-aged everything. Sours. The era of the boozy, cult-release collector's item (I'm sure I still have a bottle of Dark Lord somewhere in my cellar). Belgians never quite got their day in the sun (other than at Monk's Cafe in Philly), but that just meant there was more good stuff for those who were in the know.

    But there was always an exciting principle that the consumer was looking for a broad palate of experiences and could put their hands on them. In any good shop, the world of beer was laid out before you, and the journey was yours to decide.

    So I ran the gamut. I traveled to CAMRA festivals. I judged (and won ribbons) at homebrewing competitions across the US. I rode the wave of Pizza Port's Strong Ale Fest, and tapped casks at Friday the Firkinteenth.

    But at some point, it seemed like there were too many breweries, and that they all started to do the same thing. I had already seen one craft-beer crash, and expected another to separate the wheat from the chaff. But it never came.

    And when I go into beer stores nowadays, I just see rows and rows of the same cloudy, NE-style IPAs, collaboration beers between three different breweries with no one in charge, and most egregiously of all, the rise of the sugary, bloated, horrifying pastry beer. I'm faced with homogenization, trend chasing, and an industry that neither attempts to pay respect to the past nor tries to break out into a new paradigm.

    I write all of this because, tonight, I was in a store, bought this (https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/44129/608942/), and drank it. A collaboration, of all things. But I found it exciting and interesting. Bitter and gripping like the great West Coast IPAs of my youth, but dry and bold with a cleaner, more focused malt bill.

    The beers I mentioned at the top of my post are still on the market today. But they are no longer the vanguard, don't seem to be stocked many places, and have little place in what seems to be a rapidly narrowing spectrum. I don't like where beer is, and I'm not optimistic about where beer is going. But the brew I had tonight was a nice reminder of what I once loved.

    For those of you that are young, I urge you to "read the history books," so to speak. Try that beer that's been made by the same brewery for the past 20 years instead of chasing the latest and greatest thing. And for my part, I'll promise to keep trying new things and hope that I'll be delightfully surprised like I was tonight.

    tl;dr -- Old fart complains things aren't like they used to be. But he's not giving up.
    #1 ithacabaron, Jun 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022
  2. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,050) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    My dude, I still love my early 2000s type beers. Clear bitter ipa, clean saison, Porters, stouts, browns, etc. The shelves of my locals have kviek Porters, helles, wcipa, neipa, browns, Porters, stouts, sours, puls, tmave 13, Czech lagers, dunkels... well you get the idea. I'm drinking a big ass imperial stout right now. There is more variety on my shelves than ever before. I'm not sure what's wrong with California, but things have never been better on Colorado shelves.
  3. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Disciple (384) Apr 9, 2015 California

    Welcome to California.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,466) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I suppose I too am an “old fart’ since I have been drinking during the same time periods and FWIW your observations are pretty spot on but I will add the IBU wars of the 2000’s to the list (e.g., Green Flash Palate Wrecker).

    Yes, ‘back in the day’ there was indeed a greater diversity of craft beer products on beer retailers shelves as opposed to today where they seem to be dominated by Juicy/Hazy IPAs, Pastry beers, Fruited Sours,…

    Permit me to dissect this situation into two sectors:

    Packaged beer retail vs. brewery taproom retail

    I live in the Philly area and I am fortunate that many (most?) of the small, local breweries are offering diversity of choice at their brewery taprooms. When I go out to drink it is mostly at brewery taprooms where I can order beer styles like Helles, Pilsners, Vienna Lager, Saison, Schwarzbier, Kolsch, and many others. Yes, there will be Juicy Hazy IPAs (and ‘regular’ IPAs) and Pastry Stouts on tap as well but with a dozen plus beers to choose from there is a nice diversity of choice. And if I want to. I can purchase those beers in cans to take home to drink. If I so choose I could continue to enjoy drinking craft beer at home with never purchasing beer at retailers like supermarkets, etc.

    Distributing Breweries - Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

    ‘Back in the day’ Sierra Nevada provided a nice diversity of beer products. Yes their flagship beer was (and still is?) their Pale Ale but you could also buy a Stout and Porter (with no adjunks added), Hefeweizen, Pilsners, Spring Variety Pack, Fall Variety Pack, etc. from them. But for business reasons they have in the past few years discontinued their diversity of products and for the most part they could change their name to IPA Brewing Co. if they wanted. This seems to be a response to retail (e.g., supermarket) business conditions. Is this new business strategy more profitable for Sierra Nevada? I would guess so but I am not privy to those details.

    I suppose a ‘conclusion’ I could suggest here is that if a beer consumer is looking for diversity of beer style choice, they should spend their money at small, local craft breweries; at least that is the situation in my area.


    P.S. And for the ultimate choice in beer styles, brew your own beer. Last evening I enjoyed drinkin my homebrewed Belgian Dubbel and my homebrewed Czech Dark Lager.
  5. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,416) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    There are a lot more beers and brewers in stores today vs 20 years ago.

    I still find all the classic styles in stores including old school ones, but now you just have to look a little harder on the labels and cans for the new brewers to find those west coast IPAs, Belgians, ESBs etc. I find them hidden amongst the majors fruited sours, BA pastry’s and Hazies.

    Beer is more expensive these days but the classics you mentioned generally are lower priced.

    Collaborations - Maybe it is just me, but I’m finding collaborations these days to be much improved compared to collaborations say 10 years ago. Now it doesn’t seem the brewers hold back, and many collaboration beers are better that each independent brewers same style beer. In the past, I always felt collaborations were a step down in quality more offer than not.
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  6. dele

    dele Initiate (110) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    To a certain degree I can't blame the local breweries that pop up for chasing the trends that are current when they enter the market. They need to sell a lot of beer quickly to make it work, and they need their profit/pint to be as high as it can to pay the rent and the staff. Fine.

    It's the nationally distributed craft brewers that really bother me with their turn away from history and variety toward homogeneous shitty IPAs that are never fresh enough to enjoy properly anyway. Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are the worst offenders, but there are plenty of others. These breweries used to pride themselves on living their values first, and seeking profits second. No more. When I toured New Belgium in probably 2017, the chipper tour guide swore on all that was holy that "we're different, we don't chase trends, we do what we like and we always will." She also said they'd always be employee owned. We know how that turned out.

    Just yesterday I was in the beer store looking at the Sierra Nevada. My choices were Pale Ale, Torpedo, Hazy Little Thing, Big Little Thing [WTF?], Powder Day IPA, and Summer Break IPA. That's right, 5 IPAs and one Pale Ale. No variety pack, no lager, no stout, nada. And only two of those beers are worth buying (Pale Ale and Torpedo). The others are just poor imitations of what local brewers are doing. No wonder they sit on the shelves for months.

    And now Sierra has the gall to scream out "Summerfest is back!" on social media. Just taunting their former customers. This beer is only "back" if you're willing to pay more than double what it cost before they ditched it, and only if you live in Pennsylvania or something. I've bought a lot of Sierra and gotten plenty of others into beer by telling them to try Sierra's great offerings across all kinds of styles. Do they value me as a customer? Nope. They're happy to sell their stale hazy IPAs to people at the grocery store instead. Well, those people aren't gonna buy their products forever. They'll soon be buying hard seltzer or alcoholic cannabis water or whatever the next trend is. Meanwhile, I'd have been buying Summerfest and Ruthless Rye and Tumbler and Porter the whole time, and would keep doing it my whole life, if only they'd let me.
    #6 dele, Jun 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022
  7. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,742) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    So a large brewery with more overhead, exponentially more employees, potentially smaller margins, and the need to appeal to more customers doesn't get the same leeway to brew what the market demands? :thinking_face:
  8. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Crusader (766) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    I'm with you here. I've been into craft beer since the late 90s, and the "Golden Era" for me was probably 2007-2016. When Stone/Dogfish Head/Victory/Troeg's/Sierra Nevada etc. ruled. Admittedly, I enjoyed the hell out of the beginnings of the haze craze. Going through bombers of Trillium IPAs was simply an epic experience. Over time, I've felt with the addition of 100s of mediocre breweries quality has suffered. These NEIPAs are frequently overhopped, overhyped, astringent as hell and frequently undrinkable. Now with all the heavily fruited sours, milkshake IPAs, pastry stouts etc. they're losing me.

    But..at least in these parts you can still find traditional stuff. It's just a little more difficult, especially when it comes to basic porters, brown ales etc. I've been seeing local breweries dive into these styles as well, with pretty good results. So all is not lost.
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  9. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,363) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I'd suggest that's more on the local store's beer buyer and/or distributor than it is on SN directly.

    IOW, they are stocking the styles that people in your area are buying.
  10. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (4,625) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    I know there are a LOT less classic imports. Sitting here drinking a bottle ( unskunked ) of Pilsner Urquell. Even at 3 months old its far superior to 90% of American craft pilsners. And cheaper
  11. ithacabaron

    ithacabaron Savant (910) Jul 16, 2003 California

    I think this is part of the issue -- while I am sure you can still find a classic ESB or a porter or brown ale on the shelf in some areas (and yes, it's much harder in CA), a big issue is that those styles seem to have been abandoned by brewers that are "innovating" and creating new beer. There's still so much to explore and further evolve with traditional English styles, or Belgian styles, or German beer, but it just seems like the market doesn't have an appetite for it.

    Incidentally, the same thing happened with wine during the same period; you went from a wide range of availability and styles, to the Robert Parker-ization of wine (big, sweet, overextracted), which wrecked the CA industry for a decade, homogenized wine coming out of emerging wine countries, and even influenced some old world producers. And now we have the whiplash over to the natty wine trend, where people willingly fork over $30 for a bottle of raspberry juice spiked with battery acid.

    I'm optimistic that there will be a back-to-basics approach soon in both industries, but in the meantime, I guess I should be happy that bottles of Avec Les Bons Voeux and Loire Valley reds remain relatively cheap . . . when you can find them.
    #11 ithacabaron, Jun 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022
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  12. ithacabaron

    ithacabaron Savant (910) Jul 16, 2003 California

    I think there is something to the fact that long-established brewers in the Northeast have their traditional portfolio to fall back on, and that there is a demand for greater variety there (not to mention Europe being only six hours away means better access to the classics, and in good shape). But CA craft has been a wasteland for a while.

    And again, clearly there are plenty of people buying and enjoying these beers, or they wouldn't sell, and breweries wouldn't keep copying them. But they're just not for me. And that's okay.

    I just wish there was a bit more balance in the market, and that younger beer drinkers had the exposure to the wide range of styles and producers that I had when I got into the hobby. I have a feeling there are plenty of potential porter drinkers out there, but they just don't know it yet!
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  13. budsNpils

    budsNpils Initiate (151) Aug 6, 2021 Texas

    We have a super wide variety of beers here in Texas. Just depends on what your looking for, course we don't see much stuff from up north but that's slowly changing. Iv been able to find a bunch of classics tho. They just aren't always fresh unfortunately.
  14. ithacabaron

    ithacabaron Savant (910) Jul 16, 2003 California

    Absolutely. I am not saying that breweries need to cater to old-timers like me (this is a business, after all!), but I do wonder whether younger drinkers are getting shorted on having a proper and wide-ranging beer education.

    And there are a few areas where I have been really impressed by the innovation on the market. The N/A (less than 0.5% ABV) sector these days is a revelation, and there are some really great and interesting things being developed. Sure beats the old days of "O'Doul's or water?" when you weren't drinking.
    #14 ithacabaron, Jun 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022
  15. LesDewitt4beer

    LesDewitt4beer Meyvn (1,182) Jan 25, 2021 Minnesota

    At some point one realizes, for some things, the chase is better than the catch. In my eyes, largely, the craft beer scene expands and contracts. Agriculture, production, sales, the whole thing. It's Mr. Toads Wild Ride with entities coming and going sometimes very quickly. The bottom line is profit. IMHO it's encouraging to see the sheer amount of breweries opening and the smart looking count of beers on retail shelves. Distribution has changed including imports to the USA. We saw changes when the EEC and EU expanded. Business relationships and business models change. Lots of companies merging. We can't find brews we used to buy 20 yrs ago. To the point of the OP, though I can't speak for their region, I have to seek with passion some of the "old classics" that seemed to have faded away but are still out there. In fact there are a few historic breweries that have been pulled from the rubble and resurrected. One from Cincinnati, OH is Wiedemann's. The Bohemian special brew Golden Pilsner is quite good. When my local or regional beer scene feels stagnated a road trip finds me some great ol' beers. They're out there! and finding them is incredibly satisfying. Cheers!
  16. beer_beer

    beer_beer Defender (620) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    Yeah. In the case of NA beers there definitively isn't a it was better back then!
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,466) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Hmm? :thinking_face:

    I wonder if we will be reading about a Trademark infringement thing in the near future?


  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,466) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, I suppose there is indeed a geographic area aspect to this.

    In the Philly area the packaged beer retailers are predisposed to carry the 'hyped' beers (e.g., Juicy/Hazy IPAs, Pastry beers, Fruited Sours, etc.) but the small, local craft breweries tend to have a good diversity of beer choices. Perhaps this gives the small, local craft breweries a competitive angle here? This aspect certainly works for me.

    Do you have a theory on why things in California are different from the Northeast, Philly area, Hill Country Texas,...?

    Whyteboar likes this.
  19. LesDewitt4beer

    LesDewitt4beer Meyvn (1,182) Jan 25, 2021 Minnesota

    Doubtful. I'd hit that YGP!
  20. ithacabaron

    ithacabaron Savant (910) Jul 16, 2003 California

    I think it comes down to market share. Philly and Hill Country are still beer towns, first and foremost. Always have been, probably always will be. The fact of the matter is that beer in CA has to compete with wine, weed, and alcohol from East Asia (sake/soju/baijiu) in a way that it doesn't in other parts of the country. With less market share, there's not as much room for variety.

    Geographic proximity has a lot to do with it as well. Just as I wouldn't expect a big sake scene on the east coast (Japan to Philly is 16 hours away), you can't expect to see a ton of classic european beer (CA to London is about 11 hours) out west. And without good, fresh examples of the classic styles, there's not a lot of inspiration for brewers out here to try out their own interpretations.

    Plus, it's freaking hot out here. Not a ton of people are looking for Brown Ale when it is 100 degrees out (although I've always thought that Milds can make fantastic warm weather drinking).

    It's really fascinating to learn that this might just be a CA problem, rather than a national trend.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,466) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, I suspect that it is not just a CA thing. And as I discussed in my first post to this thread, even in the Philly area (where you mentioned "beer town") the diversity of beer products is somewhat 'fractured' with greater diversity at small, local craft brewery taprooms as compared to packaged beer retailers (e.g., supermarkets, Retail Beer Distributors, etc.).

    One other portion of the retail sector that I should have discussed in my prior post is Craft Beer Bars. Prior to the pandemic I would often visit local Craft Beer Bars but after the lockdown(s) I just got out of the habit of visiting. I suppose that part of the reason I do not visit Craft Beer Bars frequently is their bias of taps to hyped beer styles. A Craft Beer Bar could have 20+ taps but the vast majority of those taps would be for hoppy beers (e.g., Juicy/Hazy IPAs), Fruited Sours, Pastry beers, etc. And while a tap (or two) may have a 'tradtional' beer on tap this overall tap selection thing is not appealing to me.

  22. cid71

    cid71 Initiate (143) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey

    It’s just the market If everyone wanted brown ales there would be more brown ales. But they don’t. Heck the biggest growth in lower alc industry has been seltzer. Nothing could be blander. But that’s what people want. Low cal, low alcohol, inexpensive goes down easy inoffensive get buzzed products and I say let them enjoy it. When I was 20 I didn’t have a favorite beer. Just the one in my hand. As long as someone makes what we like just be the outliers, I like be on the fringe anyway
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  23. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Poo-Bah (1,800) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois

    ^^^ This. The large breweries, retailers and distributors want SKU consolidation. For SN fans, that means SNPA, Hazy Little Thing, and a rotating seasonal SKU (Oktoberfest, Celebration) is your access. Period. Distributors and stores don't give a fuck if additional SKUs sell, give us your two or three best, and that's what we are carrying. They rely primarily on national data sets. Regional or local big box beer buyers don't have a choice, WalMart/Target/Albertsons etc. headquarters dictate what stores are getting. That changed fast the past several years, and accelerated once COVID hit.

    Supporting smaller independent stores gives you a slight chance to get additional options, the former only if the distributor wishes to carry the product. Many times, the large distributors are perfectly happy starving out all but the top 5-10 volume brewers in their book. My local store is willing to take in a pallate plus of beer / guaranteed order, and the distributor responds "No, we choose not to sell that beer/sku. No, we are limiting / not adding skus. BTW, do you want to try this new Haze sku we just brought in?" GFY

    Reyes Blue House distributors across the country suck ass. They bought up a majority of the breweries (via their Windy City purchase) in the Chicago and many purchases of other distributors in California, likely impacting @ithacabaron 's access. On the flip side, the Red Houses aren't looking to move much beyond their AB book. Perhaps Founder's and a couple other high volume brands they own. I can't buy 3 Sheeps here (besides Cashmere Hammer) or Central Waters (besides certain BA stouts) in Illinois, the BA stouts solely because the Big Box store (Binny's) demands they carry the BA stouts in Illinois

    If that weren't enough, the top national breweries (AB, Molson Coors, Koch Truly Beverage Co,) add SKU blockers, say variety packs of their large selling products, just to prevent other brewer skus from being added to big box shelves. Not to mention the SKUs added for their in house seltzers.

    All of these factors are why big beer will always control nearly 9 of 10 beers sold, same as big corporations controlling just about every other product sold in Amerika. You want options, don't buy through big boxes / amazon, support your quality local stores and producers. Spend the extra buck for a six pack, it's worth it in the long run.
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  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,466) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And you can add purchase the beer directly from the small, local craft brewery to that list. As I commented above: "If I so choose I could continue to enjoy drinking craft beer at home with never purchasing beer at retailers like supermarkets, etc.".

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  25. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (3,127) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    I'm only going to assume what this thread turned into because I'm tired of reading it, but I do like what you said here; You are open to trying and even enjoying new beer styles, but you clearly prefer the "classics".

    I'm definitely a big NEIPA and BA Stout fan. I love trying new beers.

    But I will never not buy Sam Adams Octoberfest during the fall, or Sierra Nevada Celebration during the winter. And if I can't find anything I want, but don't want to leave the store empty-handed because I'm incredibly awkward, I'll just get SN Pale Ale or Founders Celebration and be perfectly happy.
  26. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Crusader (700) Mar 19, 2012 California

    I don't disagree with you. I miss the larger variety of Belgians, browns, and strong ales. Still, I have found smaller, local breweries such as Clandestine Brewery in San Jose (not a mecca for beer sadly) who do all those styles and more. Morgan Territory in Tracy. Broken Boundary in Honolulu. They are out there, just a little more work to find them. I still support the FW, SN, Maui Breweries, but just a little less than in the past.
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  27. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (467) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    I loved the 90s beer scene. I love today’s beer scene.
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  28. kp7

    kp7 Initiate (100) Feb 8, 2021 Massachusetts

    To augment and agree with a couple posters above: it seems like we are in a positive feedback loop. Brewers and distributors do market studies to see what the trends are, they then brew and stock those trends which increases the percentage of trendy styles on the shelf, higher shelf space percentages and prominent placing increases market share, ad infinitum until there is a disruption.

    I'm not a fan of overly hopped beers (pale ales are usually more than I can take, let alone nx IPAs), so I can't wait for thr disruption that breaks us out of that loop. I do my part by supporting those craft breweries who do make traditional styles or thoughtful variations of them.
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  29. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,153) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    i feel like an aspect that hasn't been mentioned yet is investors. most breweries, i would venture to say, have investors (it's the lucky few who don't). and with downturns resulting from the pandemic and a number of other market factors, it's likely investors are pressuring these breweries to "make what sells." and what they are seeing sell are, well, all the styles listed above. what they are not seeing, imo, is the longer-term picture. these trends, like all others, will eventually fade. and the brands who set out to be, say, the belgian specialists or the wild ale specialists or the lager specialists who turned to the trends to make a buck will have their brand diluted. but it's hard to argue with the folks who funded you when they want their money back and the markets are tough....
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  30. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,537) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    We need your input in this thread: https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/na-abv-0-5-beers-2022.664128/ because many of us are still trying to find good options. I have some that are acceptable, but I'm still searching. Let's hear your experience.
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  31. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,348) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader


    I’m completely with you. I’ve been saying for years that more isn’t always better. We’ve been inundated by a flood of mediocrity and gimmicky copycating mascarading as creativity. The glory days of American craft beer are past us, it will come back around, but I imagine it will be a long while.

    In the meantime, there’s plenty of good German classics just waiting to be drank.
  32. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Poo-Bah (1,800) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois

    Agreed, my post was limited to addressing the larger players and portfolio shrinkage.

    I typically buy direct from breweries. However, I occasionally buy from grocery stores for out of town beers my local craft beer stores don't carry, such as Oberon 12 packs, Founder's (4 Giants), and a few other breweries I like such as Tighthead (far suburbs).

    Chicago is blessed with Dovetail and a few suburban breweries dedicated to lagers. Spiteful and Goose Island typically have ESBs available, and I have four places serving cask nearby, so I'm covered. Sadly, I don't think it's the typical situation across many smaller markets.

    Also, solid points @herrburgess regarding investors expectations, especially when it comes to the mid and larger sized craft breweries which turned to VC or bank loans to finance expansions. Our local Une Annee does a good to great job with their Wild Ale and Belgian beers, but like Monkish in Torrance, they largely pivoted to selling NEIPAs and pastry stouts under a second label Hubbard's Cave. I still enjoy my visits, but stick with what I (and they) like brewing.
    #32 ChicagoJ, Jun 17, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2022
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  33. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (565) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    I put your key conclusion up top -- I agree with most of your comments. You might lack the perspective of a real oldtimer. Back in the early 70s, the bars and liquor store shelves in San Diego (where I lived then) were stocked with AALs, almost exclusively. Even finding a drinkable AAL was considered a triumph. We did settle on Ballantine Ale (Falstaff) and Pabst Andeker for home consumption. Unlike now, when you found a likeable product then, you could count on it as a go-to beer, sticking in the market for a few years, until the brand changed hands. Now there are more "better" beers among the trendy ones, but they will be rotated off the shelves before I buy another sixpack. Gotta roll with the punches.
    #33 moodenba, Jun 17, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2022
  34. BigIronH

    BigIronH Meyvn (1,440) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Wow, we really have to talk about this once a week don’t we? What can be said that hasn’t been already? Things change. I miss the square body pickups you could buy in the 90’s but the 2023 Trail Boss ain’t half bad either. Find what you can enjoy and buy it. I promise its out there in one form or another, whether it be local or imported or distributed from a neighboring state. I swear if I have to read one more post about this subject I’ll puke. Cheers.
  35. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (467) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    couldn't agree more - most epic beer scene the planet has ever known - more creativity and science and talent and options than ever before - and somehow that's not good enough.
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  36. BigIronH

    BigIronH Meyvn (1,440) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Yeah. Because there’s more NEIPA’s on the shelves than there were in the ‘90s. I hate to be insensitive but, cry me a river.
  37. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    I tried reading through this thread, and I'll have to maybe come back to it at a future date, or not.
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  38. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (482) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    More breweries I think in some ways is part of the problem. But maybe it's just too much beer or always been a problem. Other day I searched all over looking for a pilsner, finally found one 12 pack of Jack Abby and it was over 6 month old. Ended up getting some VonTrapp amber.

    Definitely breweries like SN just doing IPAs and so many just focused on hops or big stouts, I guess that is what is selling, but other stuff harder to find or aging as not enough turn over. I probably should buy more German imports but try normally to buy American made
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  39. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Disciple (384) Apr 9, 2015 California

    I kinda call bullshit cuz i had been tryina buy BA or reggie Narwhal for a while checking their online store cuz it isnt on shelves here .. guess what isnt and what is available?
    Guess what narwhal they did have available online? A silly ass peanut butter one.

    Ive written SN off and many california breweries for this reason. I think i spend more time trading than buying beer here now.
    Only shit i am happy drinking is Speedway and Old Rasputin
    Even the BA Imperial Stout game is garbage . Filled with hype chasing people just like the shoe collectors so they can flex on instagram ,reselling for an insulting amount or on here "look at me-ing"
    BigIronH likes this.
  40. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Disciple (384) Apr 9, 2015 California

    Ima start one next week.