What "hype breweries" are actually worth their hype?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Beer_Stan, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (121) Mar 15, 2014 California

    Wondering what breweries in your respective areas are hyped up with lines for releases and sought after offerings but are actually worth it for the beer and not the FOMO, vague hype, or "scarcity"? And which ones aren't? What are the top worth it hype breweries and the worst in your area?
  2. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,603) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Glad to say my three favorite locals are anti-hype breweries, all of them would be choices for a thread about "under the radar" or "best kept secret" breweries.

    That said, I do think Equilibrium deserves every bit of the praise/hype they get, and if it wasn't for an underfunded beer budget I would drink way more of their NEIPA..
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  3. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,541) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Most popular breweries around here are La Cumbre and Marble, both deserve the love they get. Bow & Arrow is starting to get some attention as well, again well deserved.

    The one brewery that seems to have itself a nice size following that I just don't get would be Quarter Celter, though, admittedly, based on convenience its one I have started stopping into lately. Wonder if that will change my opinion and perspective after a while? My bet is that it will.
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  4. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,939) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Burial and Resident Culture, both are simply outstanding one Asheville, the other Charlotte .
  5. beersampler6

    beersampler6 Meyvn (1,236) Apr 4, 2018 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Here in town, that would be Founders.

    Within 2 hours' drive of here? 3 Floyds in Indiana.
  6. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,331) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    In people's areas? That's like asking a farsighted fisherman the size of his catch.
  7. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,350) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Fremont, modern times, weldwerks, comrade, alchemist, hill farmstead, dry dock all come to mind. Russian River too. Oh, Kane also. Scherlakerla as well.
  8. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (121) Mar 15, 2014 California

    Should I have said immediate area?
  9. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,364) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Anyone who hyped a brewery already has too much invested effort. Whether it be just drinking the beer and being blinded by the hype. Some fall into to the stand in line every week and spend way too much so they rationalize their efforts through hype. A lot are so deep into trading that they hype the beer ratings to trade their hyped beer in a hyper saturated scene. Either way there is not much honesty when it comes to hype.
  10. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,331) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I was joking... but I'm just saying that I'm not sure how measured your responses will be when asking about worthy "hype" and folk's locals. Sometimes the outside perspective is the better one. :slight_smile:
  11. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (268) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    A lot of hyped breweries feel like true one and dones. But that's as a trader/outsider who may visit once every 2-3 years

    At the end of the day, the buzz after three hazies is all the same

    My answer. None are worth it if it's a huge burden and trouble to obtain.

    Made a solid effort to hit up HF, Obtain OH cans, hitup TH. Suarez. Hudson valley. Equilibrium. All very good but worth the huge effort? Maybe my patience is lower but I'm headed back to the NE next month and have no true incentive to revisit anybody, or even seek stuff out. What comes, comes.
  12. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (823) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Does Suarez qualify as a hype brewery? When I think of a hype brewery I’m thinking of breweries with cleverly scheduled/marketed releases, that draw a regular and large line of cooler-toting beer geeks. The beer being released will be NEIPA / pastry stout / some sort of “sour” 95% of the time.

    From my experience Suarez doesn’t fit that at all - I mean their two most commonly released 16oz cans are pilsners. They’ve yet to make an NEIPA. HF is borderline. Other Half definitely is - and I personally think they are one of the ones that really do deliver (on the aforementioned styles). But to @zid ’s point I live less than a mile away so take that with a grain of salt.
  13. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (268) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Suarez prices are hype riddled, if nothing else. $16/six or four. Them and HF have flavor profiles so subtle, I just don’t know anymore. I can drop half that locally and be happy. But somehow driving out to the Sticks is some type of religious experience?

    Production breweries are catching up. I hope the consumer can see some of these lighter styles aren’t some magical recipe. The big boys can do them too.
  14. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,603) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    I recommend folks make no great effort to obtain Suarez.
  15. Doma

    Doma Initiate (33) May 19, 2019 California

    It happens with hobbies, it takes time to put them into proper perspective.
    Hype around a brewery was a middle part of my beer journey. I started with buying what was available locally. Then, got deeper into the entire beer stuff and started looking for better and the best beers that were harder to obtain. I was going for beercations, trying not to miss any hyped brewery on my itinerary. Hype become a yardstick of judgment, sometimes more than my own tastebuds. Slowly I came to realize that the differences between hyped and not-hyped beers are quite often subtle or just imaginary. Then, since all of it took some time, I got older/busier/more tolerant and willing to simplify what doesn't have to be that complicated. Now, I'm back to my well known stores and happy to buy beer locally. It's just beer.
  16. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,776) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    $16 a six/four is on the low end of the cost scale in the North East (for smaller scale craft breweries). Everything costs more in the area. Cheapest cheeseburger up here will run you about $18.
  17. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,521) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Give me the list of breweries in question, and I'll be glad to voice opinions about the one's I can vouch for which I feel are more hype driven vs. legitimately awesome.
    GreenBayBA likes this.
  18. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (721) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    For me TH is not even close to the hype they get. While I find most of their beer good I have never had one I wanted to go back to. The can prices are stupid, never made that purchase. I have not gone over to either place in over two years. The fermentia or wherever it’s called is just a giant noise bouncing room that pumps out expensive beer with descriptions that are so insane. I did love to hear customers quoting the menu with tastes they only read about.

    The hype machine was working over time there, not sure if it is as crazy any more.

  19. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,347) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    In my area .... there are no hyped breweries.

    Back in New England, I'd gladly say Hill Farmstead is worthy, followed by Alchemist and Tree House. I don't know if any of the Maine breweries would be considered "hyped" at this point (MBC used to be, perhaps, with Lunch, followed by Dinner), but they're worthy. Same with CT - I wouldn't call NEBCO hyped, and Beer'd - completely worthy - is still mostly under the radar.
  20. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,490) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I agree with Founders being in this hyped-but-worth-it category which was mentioned above, but even more fitting to the OP's specs would be Bell's. Always a great visit for beer and food, and when a special release occurs, nobody knows about it, thus the line for the beer is hit-or-miss depending on how quickly the word gets out and how many and how quickly locals can respond. Tours of the Kzoo brewery as well as the large production facility in Galesburg (about 10 miles away) are also a treat.

    I'll also add Short's to the discussion. It's a great place to visit for beer and food. Frequently they have 'Private Stache' releases of barrel-aged beers that create excitement (I don't know about lines because I've never gone due to distance from home), and I'm pretty sure these beers are often still available in their store for days after the release.
  21. Sirnickatnite

    Sirnickatnite Initiate (197) May 20, 2017 Texas

    Well put sir.
  22. islay

    islay Aspirant (288) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    As others have mentioned, if "worth their hype" means standing in long lines or paying a ton of money in the secondary market (including via trading), then the answer is "none." There certainly are some breweries that get a lot of hype that do actually make good beer, although usually beer that doesn't stand out nearly as much as conventional wisdom holds to people with more comprehensive knowledge of their respective local scenes.

    The worst hype brewery in my area is, without a doubt, Barrel Theory in St. Paul, Minnesota. It almost exclusively brews sexy styles (NEIPAs, fruited kettle sours, pastry stouts), and it brews mostly extra-sweet versions of such (i.e., the sweetest among the sweet). I've had multiple severely flawed beers from Barrel Theory, beyond the intentional under-attenuation, but its fanbase doesn't have adequate palates to notice, as those beers have received great ratings. In fairness, it does seem to be getting better on the quality side (with the huge caveat that many of its IPAs and pastry stouts are under-attenuated by historical standards, but that's what its customers seem to want), but it was getting huge hype even before it opened two years ago.

    It plays the artificial scarcity game for special releases and manages to generate long lines for them even as the taproom is remarkably un-busy most of the time (i.e., it has convinced people they need to buy bottles of its "special" beer even as its very similar non-special beer goes largely ignored -- but, naturally, reflexively highly rated when it is actually consumed). Ironically, the three beers it has made outside of its three-fold specialty (a pilsner, a hefeweizen, and a Vienna lager) have been pretty good to very good and, of course, promptly received the lowest ratings of any Barrel Theory beers on Untappd. I've never seen a brewery so blatantly lean into the hype, but it seems to be working if we judge by ratings and line length (although, again, day-to-day taproom visits seem surprisingly modest, which suggests that it has connected more with the hype scene than it has with its neighborhood or a broad customer base).
  23. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Devotee (405) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Never had TH. Never felt the need to try it either. There are many great beers out there for much cheaper prices, so there is no need to spend $20+ on a 4 pack of 16 oz cans.
  24. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Devotee (498) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Norfolk: Benchtop
    VA Beach: Commonwealth
    Williamsburg: Precarious
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  25. archiebunkerjr

    archiebunkerjr Aspirant (210) Oct 25, 2010 Michigan

    You read my mind with Founders and Bell's. Their brewery only releases are always worth the trip. Even those session IPAs that Bell's released a few months back were very interesting.

    I would also add Brewery Vivant to this conversation. They should be included simply for their Wizard Burial Ground release every year (but now they are making enough of that to reach retail). Their other brewery only releases are far more hits than misses.

    I would also add Ellison Brewing in East Lansing (and soon to be Lansing and Indianapolis). They don't have many special releases. But when they do, I make sure I get in line. They have all been winners so far.
  26. defunksta

    defunksta Zealot (577) Jan 18, 2019 Illinois

    Around Chicagoland the hyped breweries are Hop Butcher for the World & Phase Three. The haze craze. They are great no doubt, but I think some other less-noted breweries worth recognition are Pipeworks and Off Color Brewing. Both in Chicagoland and continue to produce innovative and quality beers.
  27. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (418) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    There is plenty of good beer on the shelf in New York, so technically waiting in long lines for any beer should not be worth it these days in my book. Now if you are traveling and near a cool place then I don't knock someone for wanting to try new things within reason.

    Too much effort and $s make any hype not worth it as at certain point the other options are good enough and I'll enjoy drinking the beer with family or friends either way
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  28. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,828) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    Jester King

    I've stood in line for Atrial Rubicite three times and will do it again as often as possible. And I'm one of those people who said they would NEVER stand in line for beer. But I did and I will at Jester King. I'd also say the beauty of Jester King is they brew numerous beers worth every penny that you don't have to stand in line for. You do have to pay a premium, but good JK beers are readily available at the brewery, and the trip to the brewery is worth it for me. It's a two hour drive from my house if you're scoring at home.

    Does "hype" only mean "worth standing in line for"? If so, then Jester King is the only worth-the-hype brewery I can name from experience.

    If "hype" means something beyond just the standing-in-line thing, then I'd throw Lone Pint in the hopper. Yellow Rose is world famous in the craft beer world, but Lone Pint makes so much more than just that one IPA, and everything I've tried from them has been way better than average.

    Honorable mentions to Sierra Nevada, Stone and Prairie Artisan.
  29. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,350) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Are people not reading the topic? FFS
  30. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (919) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    There are no hyped breweries in NJ. Thank God.
  31. JimboBrews54

    JimboBrews54 Champion (873) Apr 22, 2018 Michigan

    I do not enjoy the hype, I like the beer to gain some recognition or try some out to see if it is worth the hype. I can say it that way to see if my hindsight will always stay 20/20.
  32. JimboBrews54

    JimboBrews54 Champion (873) Apr 22, 2018 Michigan

    I can piggy back off of this and say I see short's in stores on my side of the state. The barrel aged stuff does not become really popular until the holidays roll around. I think Founder's started that trend and Atwater has been working on that one. Up by Short's I would have to add North Peak in that neck of the woods, I like their beer better and they are not as wacky with the flavors.

    If you guys ever get a chain restaurant called BJ's, I would try it out, not only is the food outstanding but the beers pair well with everything that I have tried. They are worthy of getting your craft beer fix without breaking the bank at a restaurant.
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  33. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Devotee (445) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    IN New England, none. That's mt area. I've had most of the biggies mentioned. Reason,,, everybody has hits and misses. Great batches, good batches and poor.

    There is just so much good/great beer in the New England area that it's not worth the effort to stand in line, or pay inflated prices for a name.

    Kinda like the rock scene in the 70s. You could pay big money, for the time , to see a headliner, but a 1 dollar cover charge at a bar could get you next to the stage where a no name band was layin it down as good or better the the big names.

    Just my two bits.
  34. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Initiate (47) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    what about monday night brewing. i know about them all the way in kc
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  35. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Initiate (47) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    in missouri, side project duh. crane, bks, alma mader, new axiom, narrow gauge....its sad the hype machine only lives in two cities. Springfield is lagging. columbia has logboat and meh. these super small local places are hyped in their area and people line the fuck up for releases and draft only ones too
  36. JimboBrews54

    JimboBrews54 Champion (873) Apr 22, 2018 Michigan

    This could also be the hype surrounding NEIPAs. I know for a four pack of M-43, I could get two mix packs of four for close to the same price. Always the cycle of supply and demand, one of the only beers that is worthy of that standard.

    I still want to go to Old Nation but there is just so much popping up around here.
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  37. jamshard2mash

    jamshard2mash Initiate (79) May 4, 2017 California

    Hill farmstead, fox farm, modern times, sante adairius rustic ales, Monkish, Revision, de garde
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  38. TheGent

    TheGent Poo-Bah (2,024) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Kane and Troon?
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  39. Vitacca

    Vitacca Crusader (731) Sep 15, 2010 Wisconsin
    Society Trader

    From my experience Side Project, Casey and Sara are worth the hype (I’m partial to saisons). In my neck of the woods Eagle Park isn’t worth the hype. They’re trendy mainly brewing haze, pastry and kettle sours. I haven’t had a ton from them but nothing so far has made me want to go wait in line on a release day.
    winehead247 likes this.
  40. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,347) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    I don't count Atlanta as my area, as it's about a 6 drive for me just to reach the city - even farther than HF was from me when I lived in SE CT; for reference, Funky Buddha in Oakland Park, FL is about the same distance, and Cigar City in Tampa is closer. I live in rural SE GA, so Jacksonville is my closest beer hub, and while there is some good stuff there, I don't think anything from Jax counts as hyped.