Fans of Mac & Jack's forgive me.

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Brewtopia

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If you like Mac & Jack's I'm sorry but I have to agree whole heartedly to the following comment to Geoff Kaiser's Blog.

ok ok. so it IS a locally owned company, it IS actually dry hopped, it is, well, pretty good for an amber. but, gee wiz: aren't we all SICK AND TIRED of this beer by now? like you mention: they sell more of this crap in the region than ANY OTHER BEER!!!! enough already! in the NW micro brew community in the last twenty or so years, the dominate amber brand has cycled every five or six years. redhook killed it for a long time, then alaskan amber through the late 90's. when does mac and jacks get knocked of their holy firkin pedestal?!?!? unfortunately, like any other market dominating product, the monopoly of mac and jacks CHOKES OUT other, better products. fine ambers like boundary bay and port townsend barely maintain a share of the market the boys in redmond delightfully dominate. this must end! it's an ok beer but, for screamin' out loud my seattle beer brother (and sister): call for another beer every once in a while!
This is in response to this blog entry

Brewery Tour at Mac and Jack's in Redmond
I'm guessing that just about anybody reading a blog about beer that lives in Seattle has had at least one pint of Mac and Jack's African Amber. But, how many of you have been to the brewery for a tour over in Redmond?

Did you know that Mac and Jack's sells more of their African Amber on draft in the Seattle area than ANY other beer/brewery? Yes, that includes all the macro beers such as Bud/Coors/Miller. Mac and Jack's is a very focused brewery; draft only, 4 beers in the lineup(maybe 3 soon if they drop the IPA as rumored) very little advertising, a basic website and limited distribution. They're obviously doing something right if they are beating the big guys in one of the most competitive beer markets in the country.

Mac and Jack's is located in Redmond, WA and is open every day of the week for filling your growler or picking up kegs. On Sundays at 3pm they do a weekly tour that my girlfriend and I attended this past weekend. There were about 25 people on the tour that was led by a very informative employee that gave great information about the basics of brewery operation and specifics of the Mac and Jack's beers in general. One thing I learned, is that every single keg of African Amber that leaves the brewery has a mesh sack of hops floating in it to dry-hop the beer. We sampled the Amber, Porter, Wheat and IPA that are the four staples of Mac and Jack's. Of those beers, the Amber accounts for something like 90% of their volume. Essentially, they could make just that beer and not skip a beat. And you know what? It's a great beer. I often pass it up for other offerings in bars, but having a fresh sample reminded me of just how good it really is. It's the highest rated Amber Ale on Ratebeer.com.

The tour is well worth an hour on a Sunday afternoon; just make sure to bring a growler or two and get them filled.
Again, sorry but I just can't bring myself to drink Mac & Jack's
 

McKBrew

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I've heard enough about it, but have never tried it. Sounds like they are in it for the money.
 

Ryan_PA

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From the opposite side of the country, I can honestly say I have never heard of them. I may live under a rock.

Is it one of those things that it is cool to hate becase everyone else seems to like it?
 

brewt00l

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I dunno...sounds like it's a decently crafted brew that is stomping BMC products at the tap. Hard not to like that!
 

ohiobrewtus

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Have you done a tour of the place yet, Brewtopia?

McKBrew said:
I've heard enough about it, but have never tried it. Sounds like they are in it for the money.
When it comes right down to it... everyone is in it for the money to some degree. Obviously some more than others.
 

Beerthoven

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;)
McKBrew said:
I've heard enough about it, but have never tried it. Sounds like they are in it for the money.
I don't get why you think they are in it for the money, based on what I have read here. Only 4 beers, basic website, and limited distribution? Sounds like they are focused on doing one thing well and keeping it local.

If they were really in it for the money they'd take their brand and plaster it all over the solar system like Star Bucks and Microsoft.

The complaints in the first post don't actually say anything about the beer. Rather, he is complaining about the people who drink the beer. Seems like the poster is fed up with Seattle's particular brand of insular hipness and is taking it out on the beer. Hell, I'm fed up with Seattle and I live on the East Coast! ;)
 

ohiobrewtus

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Beerthoven said:
;)

If they were really in it for the money they'd take their brand and plaster it all over the solar system like Anheuser Busch.
I fixed that for you Beerthoven. :ban:
 

Beerthoven

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ohiobrewtus said:
I fixed that for you Beerthoven. :ban:
Hey thanks, man. :D AB did come to mind, but Star Bucks and Microsoft are Seattle based, so I thought I'd use them instead.

I've never had the beer, and I've never heard about the company before until now. They might really be bastards, I don't know.

Just bored and looking for a fight, I guess. Beats workin! :ban:
 

McKBrew

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Beerthoven said:
;)

I don't get why you think they are in it for the money, based on what I have read here. Only 4 beers, basic website, and limited distribution? Sounds like they are focused on doing one thing well and keeping it local.

If they were really in it for the money they'd take their brand and plaster it all over the solar system like Star Bucks and Microsoft.

The complaints in the first post don't actually say anything about the beer. Rather, he is complaining about the people who drink the beer. Seems like the poster is fed up with Seattle's particular brand of insular hipness and is taking it out on the beer. Hell, I'm fed up with Seattle and I live on the East Coast! ;)

Sorry, the way the article reads to me is that they dominate the market share in the Seattle area with that particular beer, and that there are quite a few local beers that lose out on the opportunity to shine because of that particular beer being more readily available than other regional beers. If a brewery has the ability to have their beer on tap at more local places than anybody else that might have a chance to compete, and they are not just trying to control the market and make money, then what is their objective?

Again, I've never had the beer, so maybe it is really just that much better than everything else. :confused:
 

NWernBrewer

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I live in the Seattle are - 6 miles south - and I have to say that the Mac and Jack is alright, but not that good. But again, it is just one man's opinion.

The key in Seattle is that the Redhook and Alaskan flood, followed by this does just take the joy out of amber beers.
 

PNWgirl

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I personally think it's an excellent beer and you can't get it in grocery stores, they only distribute kegs so you can only get it at certain bars or if you buy a keg yourself. Call me crazy but that doesn't sound like they are in it for the moolah.

Did I mention it's damned tasty??
 

AdIn

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I think it's a good beer. I've been to the brewery, they are friendly guys. I didn't know African was THAT popular. Seems like everybody here (NW) brew IPA, so it looked like a bit of fresh air.
 

amasterj

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Probably no one paying attention to this anymore, but having come accross this I had to put my 2 cents in.
Mac&Jacks Amber is a very good beer, the reason you see it so much has to do with lack of imagination on the bar owners part. They need to step out and put something else on. I have been to many a bar where your choice is beer water(bud and such) or Mac&Jacks of course we are going to go for the Mac&Jacks. There are some many good beers from this area, let's be putting some others on tap! Oh and pyramid Hefe does not count as a good beer, but you see it everywhere as well.
 

r2eng

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But if no one drank it, it would not dominate the market. There are many ways to look at it... I do not like any BMC stuff, but those who like it leave the rest of the good stuff for me. They are obviously good at marketing, but someone still needs to drink the beer to keep them in business.

I have had M&J, and it's not a bad amber. Ambers aren't my thing, but I cannot fault the people who like it. I really like Stone and other brands, which some people say are "overrated"... GREAT! this means there is always the beer I like on the shelves at my local store.

To each his own.
 

uhohtaylorbad

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Have you people never heard of capitalism? Mac and Jacks is awesome, get over it.:rockin: Although it pretty much left no room for improvement it does not mean that faithful mac and jack drinkers drink solely Mac and Jacks! Variety is the spice of life and it you should look at it as a good thing that it out sells everything else.... less people drinking budweiser.

For all the people who have never heard of Mac and Jacks or can not figure out how to get it..... GOOD. it's our beer and if it gets popular Budshmeizer will buy it and then i'll have to give up on it... like Redhook.
 

BakerStreetBeers

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I completely respect and understand brewtopia's position . . .

HOWEVER, when I am in Seattle, usually once or twice a year, I always have an African Amber. And I enjoy the hell out of that glass of beer.

HOWEVER, generally I have that beer at the airport on my way out of town. During the time I spend in the area, I am always looking to try something new or new to me. If I'm not attending a beer festival and then running wild through the streets, I hit Naked City, the Dog and Pony in Renton and/or as many of the other great breweries and beer bars in the area as I can manage. It is not lost on me that the better of these venues will not have any Mac & Jack handles. As one previous poster suggested, this indicates a proprietor who is working hard to find incredible and unique kegs for his customers. My local beer bar doesn't serve Pliny the Elder even though Russian River is 20 minutes up the road. This is fine with me as it leaves that handle free for another beer, hopefully one I can't get 20 minutes up the road.

Funny this thread popped up today. I have been having Mac & Jack cravings since a buddy texted me Saturday from Portland to let me know he was enjoying one. I've been planning a clone brew and scheming on a way to get a keg of the real thing down here. But even while doing this, in the back of my mind I fear that this will spoil the beer for me. I believe the African Amber is a singular beer, and a great beer, but familiarity breeds contempt and absence makes the heart grow fonder. Undoubtedly part of my ongoing affection for this brew is the fact that I can't get it every day, let alone in every establishment within a hundred miles.

Does my terminal A quaffing behavior mean that this beer should only be considered good for tourists? I don't believe so. Would Seattle beer culture improve if this tap handle was a little less ubiquitous? Damn likely. But I keep thinking of the numerous posts on various boards I came across yesterday when reading African Amber clone recipe threads: people who said that this beer was what turned them on to craft brewing, or what inspired them to start homebrewing. I have a hard time discounting that. SNPA and Anchor Liberty ale were those eye-opening, paradigm-shifting beers for me and it can be hard for me to find in them today what it was that blew my mind back then.

The other thought I keep having, and maybe it's a bit of a hope, is that I or someone else will be making the same criticism of Pliny the Elder in 10 years. Imagine a world where there were more PTE taps in the SF Bay Area than any other beer. Whatever your opinion of that particular beer, wouldn't this represent a big step forward for craft beer's inroads into the wider culture? And what would the cutting-edge beers that were being denied their spot on the tap lineup by PTE would be like? I can't wait to find out.
 

ChshreCat

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African Amber is a damned tasty beer.

Is it my favorite? Far from it. I actually perfer their Black Cat Porter if I had to choose.

But it's nice to have a decent beer that I like on tap in most places I go to rather than just the usual BMC. Most places that only have one or two non-BMC beers will usually have African Amber and it's nice to have that to fall back on if nothing else is available.
 

northernlad

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Black Cat is quite nice.
The reason the Amber is so popular is they don't bottle it. You can get most brewery's beers in a bottle and can have it anytime. If you can only get a beer on tap it is quite likely you will get at least one every time you go out.

Wanna talk about a ****ty amber? Alaskan.
 

BreckBastion

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I remember when i first had Mac and Jacks. I thought it was so flavorful and delicious. That was when the Micobrews started really taking off. I drink it now and think that it is bland and watery. It's still a decent amber, but there are way better beers out there. I have made it before. I think that the stuff I made was better and more robust. It might partially come down to a freshness issue as they widen their distribution of it. The watery issue is another problem altogether.
 

philrose

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what a zombie thread...

I never got the mass appeal in seattle based on beer alone. Same goes for Manny's pale ale. I think these are beers that bar owners pretty much put on because they form a relationship with the breweries. 3/4s of the bars in town have manny's or mac and jacks on tap and probably do because of the hardworking individuals who fought to get that beer in the door and are providing personalized service to keep it on draft.

The backlash has began in seattle though, eventually people will buy something else.
 

McKBrew

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Have you people never heard of capitalism? Mac and Jacks is awesome, get over it.:rockin: Although it pretty much left no room for improvement it does not mean that faithful mac and jack drinkers drink solely Mac and Jacks! Variety is the spice of life and it you should look at it as a good thing that it out sells everything else.... less people drinking budweiser.

For all the people who have never heard of Mac and Jacks or can not figure out how to get it..... GOOD. it's our beer and if it gets popular Budshmeizer will buy it and then i'll have to give up on it... like Redhook.
Wow, awesome first post. :D

So you don't drink Redhook anymore because Budweiser has partial ownership in it (even though it's still damn good beer). Guess you might start digging more and find the other breweries that have partial ownership by Budweiser either directly or indirectly.

So if Mac and Jacks was bought out by Redhook you'd just quit drinking it because.....?
 

Rhoobarb

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... Wanna talk about a ****ty amber? Alaskan.
I have to strongly disagree there. Besides, Alaskan Amber isn't really an Amber, it's an Alt. So it may just be that you don't care for Alts. I had it for the first time last June when I was in AK and loved it. Trying to work up a clone based on several different ones posted on the Interwebz.
 

northernlad

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I have to strongly disagree there. Besides, Alaskan Amber isn't really an Amber, it's an Alt. So it may just be that you don't care for Alts. I had it for the first time last June when I was in AK and loved it. Trying to work up a clone based on several different ones posted on the Interwebz.
Could be I don't like Alts but it is more likely "the water" as I do not care for any of their beer.
 

Myke_J

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Interesting Top Ten beers list from the Tap House Grill here in Seattle. They have about 160 beers on tap and always have some amazing seasonals along with things like 90 Min, Gulden Drak, and Douchesse de Bourgeon year round.

Tap House said:
Recently we had a fan request to see the top 10 ordered beers at the Tap House.

1. Georgetown Manny’s
2. Mac & Jack’s Amber
3. Stella
4. Blue Moon
5. Bud Light
6. Boundary Bay IPA
7. Hoegaarden
8. Scuttlebutt Blonde
9. Wyder’s Pear
10. Guiness
 

northernlad

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Interesting Top Ten beers list from the Tap House Grill here in Seattle. They have about 160 beers on tap and always have some amazing seasonals along with things like 90 Min, Gulden Drak, and Douchesse de Bourgeon year round.

I have always loved that space. Even better now that its not Planet Hollywood.
 

Picobrew

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Wow this is an old thread. Wonder if Brewtopia has ever had M&J on tap at Naked City. Down here in PDX m&j is really rare. BridgePort IPA , Widmer Hef, Mirror Pond, and Black Butte Porter dominate the entrenched micro taps, but I don't think it is a problem, per se, as every decent place has lots of taps and variety any way.

This is way beyond relevant at this late date, but I wonder what Brewtopia or others want to happen. If you are unhappy with the status quo then I suppose you need some actions to take - prod tavern owners to increase their variety, increase consumer awareness, or maybe at this point there is already a nice beer coming out of Naked City that could compete with M&J for the Seattle masses.

The point being, you can't blame the current market leader, you have to disrupt it... Should M&J withdraw their African Amber out of fairness? If the consumers are buying the heck out of it, they must be a little happy. Perhaps if they were employing ridiculous marketing techniques, or manipulative business practices ala the BMC companies, but it seems like M&J are reasonably "chill".

PS. I can't imagine that statistic about M&J being the #1 draft account in Seattle is accurate... There is a zombie army of Coors Light and Pabst drinkers in the NW and they are not easily dissuaded from their quest for horse effluent. Perhaps things are different in Seattle proper, where the money flows freely from the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.
 

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