Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Question of Six

Yesterday on Facebook, Beervana's Jeff Alworth asked for the first adjective that comes to mind when thinking about the following breweries:
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Dogfish Head
  • Rogue Ales
  • Budweiser
  • Lagunitas
  • Goose Island
I responded to Jeff's request, but thought to myself that it would be a worthwhile exercise to follow that up with some unpacking of my thoughts for each answer.

Sierra Nevada - Solid

The guys from Chico and Hendersonsville have become a more regular visitor to the Fuggled beer garden in the last year or so. Why? Because their beers are simply solid, well made examples of styles. Whilst not being an exuberant fan of the standard pine/grapefruit thing with American hops by any stretch of the imagination, SN's Pale Ale is just a very good beer that is nice to drink. Their Oktoberfest likewise, Tumbler as well, Kellerweis too. It seems that everything they brew they brew well, and I look forward to trying Nooner in the near future, maybe as part of a pilsner blind tasting. I love the fact that they bottle condition, and can condition too, their beers, making them softer on the palette as they lack the prickly CO2 of forced carbonation. Yep, Sierra Nevada are something of a default setting for me, something that I am always happy to see available, and something I am always happy to drink.

Dogfish Head - Eclectic

It seems at times that there is always something new and strange going on at Dogfish Head, they are almost the Willy Wonka's of the brewing world, and while I can appreciate the creativity they bring to the scene, I rarely choose to drink a pint of their beer. My issue with Dogfish is simply that level of creativity makes me unsure of whether I would like a full pint of their beer, and given the price of a pint sometimes I am loathe to send money on something that I am sure I will finish (I envy those out there who have far deeper pockets than I and feel no compunction about sending $15 for a 16oz glass of something rare or weird). Having said that, I have a few bottles in my cellar, including a Midas Touch, and a 120 minute IPA from 2009.

Rogue Ales - Anti-worker

Forgive the politics here but any company that fires workers for wanting to unionise will not see a single penny of my money. Yes I am a terrible lefty who believes in collective bargaining, not crossing a picket line, and single payer universal healthcare. The last time I had a Rogue Ale was quite some time ago and I don't remember being bowled over by it, so I get the feeling I am not really missing much in my personal boycott.

Budweiser - Bland

At first I am tempted to be a smart alec and refer to the Budvar, but I knew exactly who Jeff meant. I have no problem with Budweiser in general. Their beers are superbly well made in terms of process control, consistency, freshness, and all that stuff, but I just find them bland, and I am not a fan of the exceedingly dry crackeriness that seems to be the hallmark of their main brands. I will admit though that the occasional Michelob AmberBock will find its way into my drinking life, usually when at the beach and I can't be arsed with something challenging while lounging next to the pool, but even then, as well made as it is, it is still pretty bland. Not bad, just dull.

Lagunitas - Meh

Another well regarded brewery that simply does nothing for me, other than Brown Shugga which quite like from time to time. Little Sumpin' Sumpin' I find inoffensively dull, IPA I don't think is all that great, and in the words of a friend's father, an escapee from the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Pils 'is simply not Czech'. Nothing else to see here, move along, move along.

Goose Island - Consistently Good

I first had Goose Island beers a couple of months before they were bought by AB-InBev, and I liked them. When they were purchased I didn't rush into the frenzied whirlpool of labelling them sell outs, crafty, or any other ridiculous epithet. Brewing is a business, and like any other business, big businesses will want to buy smaller businesses that they believe can benefit their business. Since being bought out I have noticed that the Goose Island IPA, which I will drink from time to time, has got consistently better and is always a decent pint, which is always a good thing in my book. At Mrs V's uncle's wedding recently I drank a fair few pints of the IPA and enjoyed them all.

1 comment:

  1. It's not just you - Rogue are on my boycott list too.

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