I want to support new(ish) and local breweries. I really, really do. But as a legacy beer drinker, it’s becoming more and more difficult to do so.
I suppose I should attempt to qualify what I mean by a ‘legacy beer drinker’. I’m talking about somebody who’s been drinking beer for several decades, who has been immersed in the beer scene, and is a lover of traditional styles and traditional beers. i.e., me! There are a lot of us out there, we’re just under the radar in a vast sea of canned hazy bois, pastry stouts and non-descript ‘fruit sours’.
So what’s a (legacy) man to do in 2021 and going forward? Get out there and see what beer is available, right? So I start with Tavour which promises to bring me all of the best new beer being brewed. Well … the first thing that I have to do is avoid all of the beer that I have zero interest in (the beers that make up the vast sea mentioned above). This is a pretty constant task on Tavour, as just about 9 out of 10 of the beers featured fall into the aforementioned categories. Once I do that, every now and then a beer will pop up that I think, “OK, that might be a possibility”. In the last few days there were two such candidates on Tavour, but within seconds of scanning each of them, I’m disappointed in both.
Firstly Burgh’ers Brewing & Crafted Culture Brewing Company’s, Knock if Ya Bock. Advertised as a Doppelbock – great, a traditional beer from a part of the USA with strong German roots – that unfortunately has hazelnut added. Errr … why the fuck do that? Can’t you just leave alone? What’s wrong with brewing a simple Doppelbock? I’m instantly pissed off at the lack of respect for the style, and the missed opportunity. So annoyed in fact that I don’t even stop to consider the fact that Tavour wants $7.50 for 16 oz. That’s the equivalent of $33.75 for a six pack, for a bastardized style, from a couple of brewers that have been around for (relatively) 5 minutes. Forget it. Who is buying this stuff? What’s the demo of the market? I don’t get it.
Next up I spy Georgetown Brewing’s, Bob’s Brown Ale. This appears more traditional (good), but at $3.50 for a 12oz can ($21 for a six pack, PLUS the Tavour shipping charge), how can I justify that? I mean I want to try it, but c’mon man, help me out here. I have six packs of well-established brown ales, from breweries like Rogue and Big Sky Brewing, for half of that price.
In the wake of those experiences (which TBH are just two of a colossal number of similar ones that relate to the modern beer scene brought to me by Tavour), I decide to seek some local beer at Dot & Line Brewing here in Fort Wayne. I’ve written about D&L before, and I think that Phil Comparet is a man who is interested in traditional beer, but then I’m confronted with this board at the taproom.
Only 3/10 beers that I would even *consider* ordering, and there’s another strike against the legacy drinker.
I dunno, it’s hard to swallow the current scene, and you can certainly dismiss me as an old man shouting at clouds if you choose, but what happened to beer?
That board is similar to the ones in most taprooms I visited in the US recently. Depressingly little choice. Almost no dark beers of any description. I ended up drinking mostly old-school IPAs as there was little else I fancied.
Machine House in Seattle was a notable exception. They had five cask Milds on.
Yep, it’s typical in many, many places and Machine House is a very, very unusual place in the landscape.