Where did you drink before the emergence of craft beer bars/gastropubs?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by RaulMondesi, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,137) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    I remember when we got our first Gastropub here in North Orange County, CA, back in 2009. Before that we had a neighborhood deli that had craft beer, but other than that, I can’t think of anything. Nowadays there are craft options everywhere. But before 2009, craft beer on tap seemed non existent to me. Where did you go before the craft beer explosion happened?
     
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  2. Pinz412

    Pinz412 Zealot (570) Nov 20, 2019 Pennsylvania
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    I went to college from 1999-2004. There were a few bars in the section of the city that I lived in that carried Victory, Sierra Nevada, Stone, and a few other of the early craft brands plus a ton of imports. They always interested me, but were a bit out of budget for a college kid. Once I started working steadily I found a bar called Kelly's in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. What initially drew me there was the Tuesday funk and soul night with killer rotating dj's. The bar manager was very into craft beer in those days and always had a great taplist at any given time. It was the first place that I drank Founders Breakfast Stout, Weyerbacher's Old Horizontal and Heresy, Anderson Valley's Summer and Winter Solstice, Atwater's Vanilla Java Porter, and a slew of other early craft options. They even had an annual barleywine fest that I wish still existed. My group of friends became close friends of the staff and it was the only bar I cared about for years. I wasn't nearly as much of a beer enthusiast then, but in retrospect I was really lucky to have found myself there. So many great memories of that place. I closed it down more times than I can remember and left after sunrise on multiple occasions. It still exists and I'll still stop in for a pint now and again, but it was all about the staff and regulars that made it my home away from home. I'll never have another bar where my drink is waiting for me before I can make it to my stool.
     
  3. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,341) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    Before 2010, as far as out in public, I was more likely to have a SNPA or Sam Adams at a restaurant perhaps. I remember around 2002-2005 timeframe there was a German restaurant down the street from my work and I’d hit happy hour there and try obscure German beers (at the time they were obscure). We also had 2 brew pubs that have been around since mid 1990s so would have their beers a few times a year. Most American craft beer came from stores to drink at home. Honestly before 2010 I thought European options were far superior to what I was tasting from what most American craft beer makers were putting out at the time (or most likely I didn’t have access to good quality/fresh American beers back then).
     
    #3 bubseymour, Dec 22, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
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  4. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,273) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Well; even back in the late70's-early 80's we wanted to try every different brew we saw. Even if that meant 8packs/7oz bottles of the "exotic" Rolling Rock started showing up. We tried every variant of AAL that came along (I went through a hella Coors Extra Gold stretch there for a while), so, yeah.

    Imports, microbrews, brewpubs, drank 'em all!!!!!!
     
  5. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,856) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
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    I drank at home, just like I do now.
     
  6. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Devotee (499) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
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    Was in college and grad school from the mid-90s to the mid-00s. Luckily, I attended two big state universities that had more than enough options for microbrews. Granted, my undergrad years didn't have a ton of variety, but certainly enough to keep me away from the typical BMC offerings. Grad school was in Ann Arbor, and my knowledge of beer expanded exponentially. Between the drive-thru beer depot, Ashley's, Arbor Brewing Co, Leopold Bros, Dominicks, One-Eyed Moose, solid beer selections at Meijer/Busch's/Whole Foods, the ubiquity of Bell's and Founders at every party store, it was actually the exception to find a place that didn't have at least one craft beer available.
     
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  7. Nugganooch

    Nugganooch Poo-Bah (2,186) Jan 13, 2011 California
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    We were drinking Zima's and Heineken at Club Raul, obvi
     
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  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,946) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Regular places that happen to serve good beer. :rolling_eyes:
     
  9. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,137) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    Thanks for enlightening me, gramps.
     
  10. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,273) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Hey kid, this is our damn lawn!!
     
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  11. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,939) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
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    In 2009 I was not of drinking age and *allegedly* drinking keystone light at house parties mixed with Daly’s margarita mix in the gallon plastic jug because we thought it got you drunker.
     
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  12. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,946) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    :sunglasses:

    Point being, if going to places that serve trays of tiny glasses is your thing, that's cool; but you could always get a fine pint before they became popular. (In my drinking experience, at least, since I started in 1981).

    Your initial post makes it sound like "craft beer" invented something rather than expanded on what already existed.
     
  13. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (129) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
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    There was a great choice of beers in North NJ in 1972. I could chose between Rheingold, Schaefer, Pabst, Ballantine, Budweiser. and in a few places Michelob. Most bars also had bottles of Heineken.
     
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  14. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (3,852) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    In the mid-90s in Maine you could find Sam Adams, Pete’s Wicked Ale and Dundee Honey Brown at any package store. By the late 90s, most restaurants had at least one of those and probably a local option like Shipyard, Atlantic, Bar Harbor and/or Allagash. There were really only a couple “beer bars” in the state that I can think of, but it wasn’t any problem finding and drinking interesting beers.
     
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  15. Pinz412

    Pinz412 Zealot (570) Nov 20, 2019 Pennsylvania
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    Pete's Wicked and Honey Brown bring back mid-late 90's memories for me. We had two brands of Honey Brown here - one by Dundee and one by JJ Wainwright. Their branding looked very similar to each other, but everyone seemed to have their preference.
     
  16. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (456) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I was in college and became legal to drink out in the mid - 90s. In college, I didn't eat out a ton, but anywhere I went at least had Sam Adams or something. THere were a couple really good craft beer bars (before that was even a thing!) in Providence and Newport. At home there was a couple brewpubs nearby, though one of them just now closed down to COvid (and probably some other stuff that was brewing (hah!) in the background anyways, The other closed a while back. Most of my drinking at the time was at home (dorm) from the beer stores nearby.
     
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  17. Mojo

    Mojo Champion (836) Jul 21, 2012 Alabama
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    There were a couple of bars on the fringes of the college I attended that I would go to on occasion to hear a band, but I did most of my drinking at home, the same as I do now. Not really a bar type guy.
     
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  18. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    What are those called? Oh yeah, taverns. :grin:
     
  19. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (6,510) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
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    Hmm, an interesting question, because I think most (everyone?) here had access to a "good" bar even before craft beer really took off. That's my intuition, anyway.

    For me, that "good" bar was a German restaurant in Tampa, Dunderbaks, that had 11 taps of German beer (including Spaten and Reissdorf, off the top of my head, although we're talking over 20 years ago now), and Old Rasputin - the only American beer on tap, and at 9%, something I'd never seen on tap before.

    This place introduced me to the idea that beer could taste good - in particular, the fizzy yellow beer decried by Stone.

    Outside of that? Bowling alleys, sports bars; taking what you could get. If you're lucky: Sam seasonal, or an import lager (Stella, Amstel Light) that was still an improvement over BMC. Honestly, I simply didn't drink much beer before the prevalence of craft beer. If I can't find something I want to drink, I'm fine with water. :slight_smile:
     
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  20. beer_beer

    beer_beer Zealot (503) Feb 13, 2018 Finland
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    You mainly drank that one from the tap. There could be three possible alternatives, naturally all lagers. You had your preferences, and if it was Lahden Erikois, you didn't like it much. But from your convenient store you could also get Guinness and Pilsner Urquell. I even got Budweiser with that funny neckless bottle from our "liquor monopoly", to a special occasion.
     
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  21. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,946) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Yeah, I remember what really impressed me about Portland, OR, when I visited in the early 90s was just how much good beer was at the unlikely places, like bowling alleys, sandwich shops, convenience stores and the like. In that way, the east coast was at least a decade behind them (although we eventually caught up :wink:).

    But back in the 80s, your first paragraph kind of describes the scene: you had to go where the beer was. You could get mini kegs of Pilsner, bottled Berliner Weiss and the syrups, dunkels and bocks, etc., but they were usually at the German neighborhoods, restaurants and butcher shops. Guinness Draught? Go to an Irish pub. (The odd thing here was that the bottled Extra Stout was at every bodega and corner store imaginable; and the draught was the sought-after product).

    We did also have actual beer bars and specialty stores, but they were few and far between.
     
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  22. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    I've often lamented this with other early Good Beer Hunters (in the days before "craft" beer was a thing); the thrill of the hunt and discovery was what made it fun. Nowadays the diversity of labels (if not actual styles) is downright overwhelming.

    I was in a local grocery chain yesterday -- well known for their great beer selection, and knew I'd have to spend an hour just going over every beer they had -- a majority I'd never seen before. I opted for a great sale on an old favorite and left before my wife reported me missing.

    I can remember when the micro-craze was young and it was exciting to see the new beers on the shelves after so many years of so much dreck. But now it often seems like overkill and I often miss those days of an exciting find like EKU-28 at a small, out-of-the-way store. Or the first tavern around where the 2 managers were very in to the new, west-coast craze of microbreweries and started "acquiring" some odd labels for their customers and having beer tastings chaired by the local Merchant du Vin representative.

    Sorry youngin's -- maybe you'll be reminiscing over something in 30 years. Haze, Pastry, dunno.
     
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  23. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,137) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    Thanks for the well thought out response. And sorry for the comment earlier. Some Alchemist Dropped here yesterday and I got a little squirrelly :stuck_out_tongue:
     
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  24. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,946) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    I'd be the same way. Enjoy! :beers:
     
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  25. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,341) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    Also to add that before 2010, brewery visits were a very special trip and quite fun. For most of the mid Atlantic areas it would have regional and National brewery visits. And they consisted of a tour along with tasting room sampling Always loved the “exploring the unknown” aspect of brewery taprooms with the obscure one offs. Also loved the open comradery culture of the visits. They were truly a tourist destination (big brewers still are for most part) and people would come from all over and having discussions together with strangers, talking about beer and literally anything else. Not as insular as current nano taprooms seem to be, and this predates the cell phone isolation culture as well. Nanos hadn’t really taken off yet. I remember when the first couple of nanos started to pop up within 30 miles or so, it was like “OMG we have to go and check them out....the could be the next Hill Farmstead”. But was almost always disappointed with the offerings (looking at the 2010-2015 early craft boom timeframe).
     
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  26. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (129) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
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    Before craft beer took off a good bar was more about the crowd than the beer. After craft beer took off , at least in the minds of BAs a good bar is about the beers not the crowd.
     
    #26 dennisthreeninefiveone, Dec 22, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
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  27. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (9,946) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
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    The RPI Clubhouse Pub (on campus bar) back in the mid-1990s - we had one of the better selections of import and craft beers. Other than that, there was another pretty good spot in Troy, NY (Holmes & Watson) that we would go to...
     
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  28. tolar111

    tolar111 Defender (669) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    Did you ever go to Brown & Moran Brewing Company on River St? They opened in 93.

    They go by Brown's Brewing Co. these days.
     
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  29. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Defender (638) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia
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    I used to tick AALs... seriously, I did. I would grab cheap AAL/store beer I hadn't had before and tried it.
     
  30. Mojo

    Mojo Champion (836) Jul 21, 2012 Alabama
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    I used to do that to a certain degree. My drinking friends and I would try most anything back in those days. Once we found a case of something called Drummond Brothers and bought it. I had never seen it before and I haven't seen it since. Best I recall, it was about as good as any other AAL you could buy.
     
  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Drummond Bros. is listed on BA -- and you can find it on Wikipedia -- funny how names stick in your head. :grin:
     
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,290) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    This thread is just CRYING OUT for the input that @jesskidden can provide so hopefully he wont mind too much that I will fill in for him:

    "Craft" for me started circa 1980 (Newman's in Albany, New Amsterdam in NJ) so predating SNPA (in the east) and SABL. And there was also some draught but mostly bottled non-AAL beers from the remaining local and regionals like (regular forum readers - forgive the copy/paste :wink:) Ballantine XXX Ale, Ballantine India Pale Ale, Ballantine Brewers Gold Ale, Ballantine Porter, Krueger Old Surrey Porter, McSorley’s Cream Ale, Lord Chesterfield Ale, Black Horse Ale (Trenton and Koch), Rainier Ale, Pickwick Ale, Croft Ale, Genesee 12 Horse Ale, Schaefer Cream Ale, Schoenling Cream Ale (Little King’s), Carling Red Cap Ale, Pabst’s Old Tankard Ale, Liebotschaner Cream Ale, Gibbons Ale, Kodiak Cream Ale, Tiger Head Ale, 20th Century Ale, Utica Club Cream Ale, Utica Club Sparkling Ale, Yuengling Porter, Nueweiler Cream Ale, Stegmaier Porter, Narragansett Porter, Narragansett Bavarian, Koch Jubilee Porter, Boarshead Stout, Koch Holiday Beer, Matt Holiday Beer, Augsburger, Augsburger Dark, Augsburger Bock, Prior Light and Prior Double Dark, Geyer Bros. Dark, Old Chicago Dark, Haffenreffer Private Stock Malt Liquor, Schaefer Braunslager, Royal Amber, Esquire, Horlacher Perfection Beer, National Premium, Andeker.

    I know some bitch about the 1970s and 1980s - me, I never went thirsty and never drank Bud or Miller."

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/commun...pinions-round-two.641161/page-11#post-6943618

    Cheers to JK!
     
  33. tolar111

    tolar111 Defender (669) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    @JackHorzempa I drank Albany Amber on draft, from bottles and those crappy plastic refillable bottles that I purchased at the brewery. It was a micro brewery. I honestly couldn't describe the taste other than to say it was fresh and clearly a quality product. If it was available on draft I drank it.

    That was at a time when Draught Guinness wasn't available at bars in my area and the typical draft offerings were Genny and Genny Cream Ale (I drank Cream Ale due to the higher ABV).

    [​IMG]
     
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  34. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (9,946) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
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    Yep we went there occasionally and I went there when I was back in Troy in 2019.
     
  35. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (9,946) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
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    Did you also go to RPI or just have experience in the Capital District?
     
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  36. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,950) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    When I lived in Austria, it was all at home.
    When I lived in Australia, it was 90% in pubs.
    When I lived in California, it was aboot an even split between bars/restaurants and home.
    In Casper, from 1980 on, I drink 75% home 25% in bars/restaurants.
     
  37. tolar111

    tolar111 Defender (669) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    It's a nice space. I can't think of any one stand out brew, but everything they made was good. I just broke my Brown's Brewing glass.

    I'm sure you also went to the Ale House, always has a nice draft selection and great wings
     
    #37 tolar111, Dec 23, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
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  38. tolar111

    tolar111 Defender (669) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    I live in the area between Albany and Saratoga. Had a few friends that attended in the early eighties.
     
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  39. Schultz

    Schultz Initiate (110) Jan 19, 2008 Maryland

    Freshman year of college, 1979, yes I am old, we celebrated then end of pledging our fraternity with a keg of Heineken Dark, took us two night s to finish. I remember more imports in college like Becks, St. Pauli girl and then the Canadian beers Moosehead and Molson Golden Ale all of which were better than the Pabst and Utica Club beer balls. After college we went to local bars, most of which had import beer nights. Mid 1980s is when I remember craft beer being more common in bars.
     
  40. Giantspace

    Giantspace Savant (918) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Khyber Pass Pub from 1984(Underage) till it closed. Always had awesome beer and bands. Met my wife there too.

    Still have great beer and food there but the bands are long gone and they cleaned it up a bit.

    I remember when Sugar Moms opened and we had great beer there too.

    There was always Bridgids too, Michele was great to chat and drink with. Stoudts made a beer for him(Cuvée Notredame?) and I remember getting really drunk with him at best of Philly on that beer. He was hitting on my wife all night and I guess he thought feeding us beer all night might be beneficial. Did not work out for him.

    Pre Monks Tom worked at Copa 2 and there was good beer and amazing Spanish fries.

    In-between these spots was any place bands played ,Dirty Franks and Mcglincheys were the norm.

    Just remembered the Pine Street Beverage room. After they closed we trash picked the signs behind the bar with the beer lists and hung them on our wall, Met some crazy folks there.


    Miss those days.

    Enjoy
     
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