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VikeMan

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A thread about the IBUs in Sierra Nevada Pale Ale got me thinking about craft brewing's early-ish years, and how many of the early beers are defunct. (I know SNPA is still around. It's just what got me thinking.)

If you were putting together a tasting flight of craft beers that were available in the USA by 1990 (and are still widely available in the USA today), what would you include?


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EDIT: I'll keep a running list of valid suggestions here, in the order I'd probably serve in a flight...

Sam Adams Boston Lager
Shiner Bock
Brooklyn Lager
Saranac Adirondack Lager
Great Lakes Brewing Dortmunder Gold
Schell's Oktoberfest (seasonal)
Sprecher Mai Bock (seasonal)

Widmer Hefeweizen
Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale
Summit Extra Pale Ale
Boulevard Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
Redhook ESB
Anchor Steam
Anchor Liberty Ale
Full Sail Amber Ale
Bell's Best Brown
Sierra Nevada Celebration (seasonal)
Anchor Porter
Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Anchor Christmas Ale (seasonal)
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (seasonal)
 
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VikeMan

VikeMan

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Sam Adam's and Anchor, August Schell and Pete's Wicked get honorable mentions.

Sam Adams: which?
Anchor: Steam, I assume?
August Schell: Which?
Pete's Wicked: defunct
 

Red over White

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Sam Adams: which?
Anchor: Steam, I assume?
August Schell: Which?
Pete's Wicked: defunct
Sam Adam's Boston lager (I miss lightship and stock ale)

Anchor Steam, Liberty, Porter, Christmas ale

Schell Pilsner, Octoberfest (others where available the closer you got to new ulm)
 
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VikeMan

VikeMan

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I  think it was released in the late 80's... Saranac Pale Ale & their Black Forest.

Their mix pack was a standard for when we college kids in northern NY wanted something better than Labatt Blue.

Saranac Pale Ale 1994, according to Wikipedia. Can't find that info on Black Forest. Anyone know for sure?
 

Immocles

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Sam Adam's Boston lager (I miss lightship and stock ale)

Anchor Steam, Liberty, Porter, Christmas ale

Schell Pilsner, Octoberfest (others where available the closer you got to new ulm)
Schells pils is gone. Most of those beers from the 90s out of Schells have been retired. Pils, schmaltz alt both come to mind that my FIL still gushes about. One I would have added from them is the hefeweizen, but I believe last year might have been its final in rotation.
Oktoberfest is still around though. Along with their flagship lagers.
 

DBhomebrew

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Does Killian’s Irish Red go back that far? It was a craft ale going back before being taken over by one of the big boys and turned into the lager it is today.

Maybe the stuff brewed in Ireland between 1864-1956. But the stuff that came to the States in the 80s was Coors from the beginning. Yes, first ale then lager. But, always Coors.
 

Beermeister32

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I can remember my first craft beer. I was heading back to California from a company meeting in the Northeast about 1987. I had some time between flights and wandered over to an airport bar. I decided to give this new Sam Adams beer a try that was growing popular, to see what all the fuss was about.

Prior to this, about the most exotic thing I had was a Lowenbrau or Oly Dark pizza beer. Boy have things changed.

The Sam Adams was FANTASTIC. I couldn't believe the flavor, so rich and delicious for the time. Eventually I would experiment with the others, Sierra Nevada, a full pitcher at a bowling alley - and Pete’s Wicked ale. I can remember something about Pete’s, somewhere I read something about chocolate. Probably chocolate malt. Anyway in my head they can’t be using chocolate in beer? I imagined there was chocolate in it and never tasted right for me after that.

By far the most interesting was that pitcher of Sierra Nevada when bowling. I just couldn’t get my head back into the game, it was unique and delicious and I’d just never had such a terrific beer. I was hooked.
 
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dmtaylor

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McEwan's Scotch Ale might have been around in 1990? Definitely by about 1995.

Also, at least around the Midwest, we were drinking Sprecher Maibock around St. Patty's and Easter. I still love that beer today. Looks like it was first released in the 1980s.

Ooh, and Shiner Bock was probably around.
 
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pawleysplayr

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What about the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter....it won a medal in '91, but website doesn't say for sure when they started making it. Anyone know?
The brewery opened in '88 per the site.
It and Black Butte were always on my buy list when I stumbled across them.
 
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VikeMan

VikeMan

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What about the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter...

Since 1991.

missed-it-by-5aef87.jpg
 

dmtaylor

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I'm not sure whether Rolling Rock (from the glass-line tanks of the Old Latrobe) qualifies as craft beer.
Sure it does. Just because it's straw yellow and full of DMS doesn't mean it can't qualify. It's a nice old regional brew.

I could have mentioned Leinie's, which used to be a regional craft brewery. But I just don't remember drinking it in the early 90s. Somebody must have, it's an old brewery.
 

bellhp

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Not sure if you Yankees get 'em in your neck of the woods but Abita brewing in Louisiana started up in the late 80's . Pretty sure my first batch of homebrew in April of '91 went in empty Abita bottles (Abita amber/Abita Turbo dog) and old coke bottles.
 

bike2brew

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Yes, Linnies in the 90's. Traveling to Wisconsin each year to visit family always brought back a case of their white label lager, cheese curds, and sausage. To my knowledge they didn't brew a 1000 flavors back then. Didn't go on a brewery tour until 2018, although they had been running those since 70's. Wish I still had a case or 2 of the long neck bottles.
 

tracer bullet

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Sure it does. Just because it's straw yellow and full of DMS doesn't mean it can't qualify. It's a nice old regional brew.

I could have mentioned Leinie's, which used to be a regional craft brewery. But I just don't remember drinking it in the early 90s. Somebody must have, it's an old brewery.
Oh yeah, Leinenkugel's, drank lots of that stuff too. We had "furniture" made form stacked boxes. Return a couple cases of empties and it was enough for a new case of "free beer". Prices in WI for beer were so cheap back then.

I hadn't thought of it as a regional craft brewery but it would indeed have fir that description.
 

DBhomebrew

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Not sure if you Yankees get 'em in your neck of the woods but Abita brewing in Louisiana started up in the late 80's . Pretty sure my first batch of homebrew in April of '91 went in empty Abita bottles (Abita amber/Abita Turbo dog) and old coke bottles.

This Yank recalls enjoying a Turbo Dog at a cajun-style joint on Rt 17 near Livingston Manor, NY in 2007.
 
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