Goose Island and AB

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Brewkowski

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Not sure if this fits in to the conversation but what about a brewery like Anchor Brewing. Maybe not a craft beer, but they are a good solid beer maker in my opinion compared to BMC, maybe not constantly changing their line up but a good option. They've got a pretty good sized distribution network, I can find them in many places (athough normally just Steam or Liberty Ale) in Chicago suburbs. I'm not familiar enough with their history to know if they've gone through similar situations as GI or Leine's.
 

beesy

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Not sure if this fits in to the conversation but what about a brewery like Anchor Brewing. Maybe not a craft beer, but they are a good solid beer maker in my opinion compared to BMC, maybe not constantly changing their line up but a good option. They've got a pretty good sized distribution network, I can find them in many places (athough normally just Steam or Liberty Ale) in Chicago suburbs. I'm not familiar enough with their history to know if they've gone through similar situations as GI or Leine's.
Exactly what they want - they'll place goose in every AB venue, restaurant and store just for an option. Goose is solid, but not much I seek out. If it's between bud light and honkers, I'm going for the honkers. Between honkers and levitation ale, I'm going with levitation. Problem is, AB will be putting the pressure on everyone to do away with levitation. You'll see less variety in places AB can put their financial advantage on- not good for craft beer as a whole. Mark my words, you'll see less local craft beer at every venue, concert hall, stadium, etc because of this.
 

TheDudeLebowski

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Not sure if this fits in to the conversation but what about a brewery like Anchor Brewing. Maybe not a craft beer, but they are a good solid beer maker in my opinion compared to BMC, maybe not constantly changing their line up but a good option. They've got a pretty good sized distribution network, I can find them in many places (athough normally just Steam or Liberty Ale) in Chicago suburbs. I'm not familiar enough with their history to know if they've gone through similar situations as GI or Leine's.
I still remember the days when i could buy an unpasteurized Sam Adams.... I guess it's evolution for the better.
 

Revvy

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Mark my words, you'll see less local craft beer at every venue, concert hall, stadium, etc because of this.
Do you see ANY local craft beer at standiums or concert halls anyway as it is? Most places it's ONLY bud or bmc? If there's some goose island there along with bud light, I personally would be happy.

I will say at Comerica Park in Detroit there is one stand that carries Atwater Brewing Company beers....but just about every beer tent, concert venue, stadium in metro detroit is ONLY bmc and usually bud. So anything is better, even if it's owned by them....
 

Pilgarlic

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Cigar City Brewing's beers are on tap at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg for the Rays' games.
 

beesy

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Do you see ANY local craft beer at standiums or concert halls anyway as it is? Most places it's ONLY bud or bmc? If there's some goose island there along with bud light, I personally would be happy.

I will say at Comerica Park in Detroit there is one stand that carries Atwater Brewing Company beers....but just about every beer tent, concert venue, stadium in metro detroit is ONLY bmc and usually bud. So anything is better, even if it's owned by them....
Yes I do Rev. Local Beers available at minor league stadium ( we don't have majors) and local music venues ( CBC available at LC and Newport). I also know two bros is available at Wrigley and loose canon and flying dog available at Camden.
 

Revvy

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Yes I do Rev. Local Beers available at minor league stadium ( we don't have majors) and local music venues ( CBC available at LC and Newport). I also know two bros is available at Wrigley and loose canon and flying dog available at Camden.
You're lucky then.....So let us know in a year if it changes....Frankly I don't think it will because of this deal between Goose Island and AHB....
 

beesy

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You're lucky then.....So let us know in a year if it changes....Frankly I don't think it will because of this deal between Goose Island and AHB....
I would be salty if I were u if I couldn't find local beers at these places. You Michigan boys got it good up there. Founders, Bells, shorts, new holland, dark horse, arcadia......
 

sudsmcgee

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Revvy, I have a serious question. What makes you place so much trust in Maureen Ogle? Isn't she but one opinion on all things beer related? Why is she right and everyone else is wrong whenever you bring her up (which seems to be often)?
 

Mermaid

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Meh.. I'm not happy.

What GI would gain in distribution and R.O.I will remove what was "cool" about them, the ability to go to a "real" brewpub and try something that isn't available in the stores, talk to someone involved in the brewing process, feel like you're in on something special (even if you're not).

I'm sure I'll never get to taste the same Willow St. Wit I tried at Goose Island last summer, and that Pere Jacques and Sofie you find in the stores now will "change". I'm sure that AB will market the crap outa 312 and "Summertime" which are okay, but they're not really unique.

AB has a product that fills a market need, but I don't necessarily want to drink the same damned thing every day (and when I do, I'll just drink a homebrew).

I have noticed that the quality of Leffe seems to have gone downhill lately, maybe it's the distributors mishandling the product, I don't know - but I just think that AB would be quick to cut corners on quality and think that most of their consumers are not going to notice.

Homebrewers / beer geeks are a cranky lot (well, I know I am) - and I get really bitchy when I hear someone talk to me about how "great" Blue Moon is and try to convince me it's "craft beer". Blue Moon is an alcohol delivery mechanism that's fine to drink in the summer very fresh, very cold, with a slice of lemon

...but I wouldn't call it "craft beer".

It's sad that the same thing will probably (ultimately) happen to Goose Island.
 

davefleck

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So many sad knee jerk reactions. One doesn't buy an asset to throw it away.

Many micro brewers go under each year because small business often lack resources. Is it so absurd to consider AB's desire is to maintain the quality and expand in a market their product doesn't reach?
 

Pilgarlic

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Dave: Sad, knee jerk reactions? Hmmm. "One doesn't buy an asset to throw it away." No, AB bought the asset to make money. IF, and I repeat IF, it happens, as it did with Leffe, to be more profitable to cheapen the product and spend that money on advertising and promotion, which is their forte, they WILL do it. I, for one, suppose they will. Sad? Knee jerk? No. Realistic. They also might not. But to suppose or expect that they will really isn't a departure from their record, it's consistent with their record. One thing we can be sure of is that AB doesn't have any "desire to maintain the quality", though they may do so if it maximizes their profits. By the way, are you related to the Dave Fleck from Foley & Lardner?
 

Revvy

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Craft Beer Daily's got a nice article on the Chicago Beer Scene.

Craft beers brewing up success stories
Double-digit growth across the industry making it difficult to meet increasing demand

When it was announced last week that Goose Island is being sold to Anheuser-Busch for $38.8 million, it set the blogosphere atwitter with concerns that a local beer apocalypse was brewing.

For the burgeoning ranks of breweries and aficionados, the Chicago craft beer scene is a lot closer to the beginning than the end.

With double-digit growth across the craft beer industry, several new entrants are opening for business, while established local favorites such as Half Acre, Three Floyds and Two Brothers are all furiously ramping up production in a seemingly futile effort to meet increasing demand.

"We just can't make enough beer," said Gabriel Magliaro, 32, a former magazine advertising director who opened Half Acre Beer Co. in a converted North Lincoln Avenue warehouse in Chicago in 2008. "Our goal every week is just to try not to run out of beer."

A homegrown revolution that took root in the 1980s, the craft beer industry grew from a handful of pioneers to more than 1,750 breweries in 2010. Early leaders included Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams and Anchor Brewing, which was sold last year to the Griffin Group, a private-equity firm.

Leveraging local roots, flavorful, sometimes fanciful, products and quirky marketing, craft beer accounted for 5 percent of beer sales nationally in 2010. With mainstream sales flat, some analysts think that share could reach 20 percent within the decade.

"Craft beer is kind of a rising tide right now," said Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer's Insights. "It's really in the sweet spot of where more consumers are going, and that seems to be toward the sort of innovation, flavor and variety that the craft brewers are epitomizing."

Craft beer sales came in at just under 10 million barrels in 2010, an 11 percent annual increase, while total U.S. beer sales were down 1 percent, to 203.5 million barrels, according to the Brewers Association. Some 30 percent of craft beer is sold on tap, three times the industry average.

With a higher price point — most sell for about $9 per six-pack — craft beer revenue is relatively stronger, accounting for $7.6 billion out of $101 billion in total beer sales last year.

Revenue is growing faster in Chicago, the nation's seventh-largest craft beer market, with store sales up 22 percent last year, to about $22.5 million, according to the SymphonyIRI Group. The top two markets are in the Pacific Northwest — Portland, Ore., and Seattle — which account for 12 percent of craft beer sales nationally.

The top-selling craft brewer in Chicago was the Craft Brewers Alliance, which includes Goose Island, followed by Samuel Adams and New Belgium. Two Brothers ranked ninth, and Three Floyds ranked 14th in local sales, according to SymphonyIRI.

Excised from the official ranks of independent craft brewers — major brewers can't own more than 25 percent, according to industry standards — Goose Island was technically delisted in 2006 when it sold a 42 percent stake to the Craft Brewers Alliance, which is partly owned by Anheuser-Busch.

Still, it remained by far the largest of the local manufacturers, selling about 127,000 barrels of Honker's Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale and other brands in 2010.

Goose Island's output pales compared with Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams, the nation's largest independent craft brewer, which shipped about 2.3 million barrels in 2010. But local craft brewers consider even six-figure barrelage to be both unreachable and undesirable.

Consider aptly-named Two Brothers Brewing Co., which wants to get bigger, but not too big.

Started in 1996 by brothers Jason and Jim Ebel, they made early batches out of a dairy tank, with neither sibling drawing a salary for eight years. The company turned its first profit in 2005 and promptly moved from a 5,000-square-foot facility into a 30,000-square-foot complex with an attached restaurant.

Like many craft breweries, the long road to reach critical mass was daunting, and expensive, for the inherently capital-intensive business.

"We probably should have quit four or five times, but we were stupid enough or determined enough to stick with it," Jason Ebel said.

Most of the Two Brothers' earnings are funneled back into the business, said Ebel. That's a widespread trend, according to Paul Gatza, Brewers Association director.

"A lot of the craft brewers have a hard time getting money out of it because they have to pump it back in to compete," Gatza said.

Hoping to expand production from 17,000 to 25,000 barrels this year, Two Brothers is investing $1.5 million into its Warrenville facility.

"It seems like an ongoing expansion for us — new tanks, new equipment all the time — and we still can't make beer fast enough," said Jason Ebel, 40.

Shipping to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Minnesota, as well as New York City for publicity, Ebel sees 50,000 barrels as the ceiling for annual production, by choice.

"We don't have designs to take over the world," Ebel said. "We like to be known as the Chicagoland brewer. I want to sell as much as close to home as possible."

Operating out of a Munster, Ind., warehouse and selling mostly in Chicago, Three Floyds Brewing Co. has been growing by about 30 percent a year, with production ramping up from 15,000 to 20,000 barrels this year to slake thirsts in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin.


Founded in 1996 by brothers Nick and Simon Floyd, with a little help from their father, Mike, the only limit to the company's top end is an Indiana law that would force Three Floyds to close their profitable on-site pub if they exceed 20,000 barrels in annual sales.

"We're trying to convince the legislators that they're going to retard our progress," said Barnaby Struve, brewer and vice president. "We can't get rid of our pub, because it's the public face of the brewery."

Selling only to Chicago and the northern suburbs, Half Acre added four fermentation vessels last year, with two more on the way, ramping up capacity to a projected 7,000 barrels this year.

"We're getting close to topping out in this facility," Magliaro said. "We've really always brewed as much beer as we could, and that's what we sell."

While acknowledging a potential glut of craft brewers, Magliaro said he wouldn't be interested in selling out to the big boys, at least anytime soon. Some analysts think the Goose Island deal, one of five major craft brewery sales in the past year, might put Magliaro's resolve to the test.

"I think this sale is definitely a sign of things to come, especially this year," said Jennifer Litz, editor of Craft Business Daily. "It kind of opens the floodgates."

That possibility has entered into the long-term business plan for Chicago's Revolution Brewing, which opened as a Logan Square brewpub last year but will be in full production mode by January, operating out of a new, 35,000-square-foot plant.

"We're following the Goose Island model of growth; I don't mind saying that," said owner Josh Deth, 36, who worked as a Goose Island brewer in the late 1990s.

Copying the Goose Island model might also include a similar exit strategy, somewhere down the road.

"I want to retire someday too," Deth said.

For his part, Ebel pledges to keep Two Brothers a family business, despite fielding a growing number of inquiries from outside investors.

"We intend to stay independent, at least in the foreseeable future," Ebel said. "We've had plenty of people ask us, and my reaction is, where were you 10 years ago when I needed you?''
Yeah, it's the end of the world as we know it....;)

(I think the fact that there's even enough news to justify a "Craft Beer Daily" is a good sign.
 

Pilgarlic

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Revvy, you keep shadowboxing. Has anyone been suggesting that either a) craft brewing isn't on a very healthy growth path or b) this acquisition threatens that? I sometimes have the impression that you have this imaginary argument going on in your mind with someone who really isn't there? Where is this straw man who's predicting craft brewing doom because AB acquired GI?

Craft brewing is certainly vital, alive, well and growing, and I think it has a great future.
 

rjwhite41

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Can't say I'm happy to see this happen but I won't assume A-B will destroy it just yet. I think they're smart enough to know where the growth is in this industry now and will not try to dumb it down or cheapen it. Unfortunately for them, they could have made more money if no one ever knew (not that I personally care who makes a beer as long as it is good).
 

JNye

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Craft brewing is certainly vital, alive, well and growing, and I think it has a great future.
+1. Noboby is worried about the death of craft beer. But alot of us don't share your view that everything is fine, GI will be fine. We have doubts. I agree with Mermaid too, 312 is gonna get some major ad campaign money. Is that bad? Maybe, maybe not. I don't find it necesary or deserving. Craft has grown on its merits. If you need to spend millions to convince Mr. Lite to try 312... cuz its cool!, I just don't think that is craft.
 

Pilgarlic

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JNye: I'm not sure where you got the impression that I think GI "will be fine". I DO think that the craft brewing industry will "be fine". It's way too dynamic to be threatened by the occasional acquisition. Now, don't get me wrong, if the bigs set out to destroy craft brewers I think they'd make a helluva mess. The point of my post was that we can offer real, valid concerns for GI's products because of this acquisition, while believing that the acquisition will have little impact on craft brewing as a whole, and while believing that craft brewing as a whole is on a vigorous and healthy growth vector. The REASON for my post was that Revvy seemed to be implying (I apologize if I imagined this) that those suggesting that GI's product quality might be at risk because of the sale were predicting the doom of the industry! Well, the health of the industry is easily enough established, so those silly critics are wrong again, GI will be fine! That's a classic straw man, red herring argument that just confuses things.

In any event, don't count me among those who are sanguine about AB's intention to maintain GI's product quality. I'm not. I think they'll cheapen the product and spend the saved dollars on marketing. And they'll probably make a lot of money at it, which they have every right to, because they do, now, own the brands.
 

JNye

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when I said "your view" I was refering to Revvy. Sorry for the confusion. I do like beerblogoshere quotes Revvy keeps putting out, I'm too lazy to leave here for more beer info...Thanks!
 

JNye

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a minor development http://www.chicagobusiness.com/sect...&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest

Its nice to see them trying to change the laws. Its a bit odd AB is indicting themselves, but in the end maybe the numbers work out better that way.

I can't imagine this would do away with distributors though and magically add 33% profit to everyone as the article suggests. But its a nice option to have. I'm racking my brain for an "evil angle", maybe if the distributors are deregulated they can stick it to the little guy even harder!:D
 

topend

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I could see this being a good thing. If micros could distribute directly to local restaurants and liquor stores, it would be much easier for small beer operations to get started and grow over time. IMO, the more small craft brewers out there, the better.
 

BigGreen

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Lets just hope that once AB completes its plan to be the wahl mart of beer, they dont come after us homebrewers with their lobbyists.
 

BrewThruYou

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It wasn’t celebrating the $38 million acquisition of his family’s brewery by Anheuser-Busch – it was just a birthday party. But it ended with a bartender saying that Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall urinated into two beer glasses while standing at the bar and Hall saying he “(screwed) up big time.”

The incident Friday at Wicker Park’s Bangers & Lace, which Hall sheepishly blamed Monday on overconsumption, has generated apologies from Hall and lingering hard feelings from the bartender who said he had to clean up the urine left behind.

Already a well-known figure in craft beer circles, Greg Hall has increasingly been a public face since the company his father, John Hall, started 23 years ago was bought out by A-B, the brewing giant responsible for Budweiser. (Greg Hall, 45, said after the sale was announced that he will be leaving Goose this month to start a new venture, details of which he has yet to announce.)

In a phone conversation Monday afternoon, Hall said he couldn’t remember enough of the incident to comment about it specifically, but he did say, “I did what I did and I take responsibility for it.”

“I feel awful,” he said. “I wouldn’t stand it if someone did it at my place or if one of my people did something like that.”

Check out our crossword, sudoku and Jumble puzzles >>

He said he has left messages for staff at Bangers & Lace, but has not heard back.

Matty Eggleston, a bartender working at Bangers & Lace that night, said Hall and some Goose Island employees were nearing the end of several hours at the bar – drinking mostly Goose’s higher end Belgian-style beers – when he saw Hall “leaning against the front of the bar, looking down.”

Eggleston said, he “jokingly said to one of the other bartenders, ‘Look, it looks like he’s (relieving himself).’”

As Hall and his group began to leave, Eggleston said he heard Hall tell his friends, “Don’t drink that.”

Eggleston said he put his finger on the side of one of the two full 8-ounce glasses. It was warm enough to know it wasn’t Honker’s Ale, he said.

“I said, ‘Hey what’s this?’” Eggleston said. “He said, ‘Beer.’ I said, ‘Perfect, let’s have a toast before you go.’”

Hall declined, Eggleston said, took the glasses and set them on a ledge near the door. Eggleston said he offered Hall a few choice words and then Hall left.

Minutes later, Eggleston said, he went outside to throw out the glasses – “They were done at that point in my mind,” he said – and saw Hall sitting in a car parked on Paulina Street.

“I tapped on the glass, he rolled down the window and I just said that I wanted to introduce myself as they guy who had to clean your urine off the bar,” Eggleston said. “I told him to enjoy his newfound fortune and have a great night.”

(Hall said he did not drive home that night; he was waiting in the car for his girlfriend to drive him home.)

On Saturday, Eggleston said, he received a message from Hall via Facebook which he forwarded to the Tribune. It said, “I apologize for my outlandish behavior last night. I enjoyed myself at Bangers and Lace very much, the beer selection is tops as was our service … I'm very sorry to have ruined the night as I did. No excuses, just sincere apology.”

A case of Goose Island’s new Big John stout arrived at the bar Saturday.

While Eggleston said “there are good people at Goose Island,” he doesn’t accept the apology.

“It was disgusting, vile and revolting,” he said. “We all do dumb things; that went to a level that was pure insult.”

One of Bangers & Lace’s owners, Matt Eisler, said the bar wanted to take “the high road.”

“You can imagine we’re not happy, but an apology has been offered and we’d like to move on,” he said. “It’s too bad because it started off as a cool night with a bunch of people from Goose coming to our bar to drink beer.”

Asked if the bar would continue to carry Goose Island products, he said, “That’s up in the air right now. Whatever we do, it will be discreet.”

On Saturday, Hall also posted a simple, “My bad” on his Facebook profile.

One person responded, “Really classy …” Another wrote, “eeesh.”

However, two people “liked” it.
 

dunnright00

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People do stupid stuff after they drink too much.

You'd think a bartender would know that. Way to take the "High Road".
 

KurtB

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It wasn’t celebrating the $38 million acquisition of his family’s brewery by Anheuser-Busch - it was just a birthday party...
I was just coming to post a link to the same article.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/featu...otribune/thestew+(Chicago+Tribune+-+The+Stew)

People may do stupid things when drunk, but there is no excuse for this. I have lost a lot of respect for Mr. Hall. At least he is taking responsibility for his actions and not hiding completely behind the classic "I was over served." excuse.

Could the bartender have handled it differently? Sure, he could have simply ignored what happened. Then again, he could have called the police as well.
 

BrewThruYou

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People do stupid stuff after they drink too much.

You'd think a bartender would know that. Way to take the "High Road".
Yeah, the high road isn't publicizing what happened to the local news and not accepting the apology.
 

JNye

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How much does a pint of one Goose's Belgian cost at Bangers and does the guy how brews it have to pay that premium?
piss drunk. nice.
 

TyTanium

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Bump:

"Anheuser-Busch announced it will do a national roll-out of Goose Island Beer which the company acquired last year. Currently, the beers are only sold in Chicago with limited availability elsewhere.

The beers will begin popping up in shops in September and the company hopes to have their brews in all 50 states by November. They plan on a draft-only roll-out to begin by December followed by six and 12 packs by March of 2013.

The brands that AB will take nationwide will be 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker’s Ale and a variety of seasonal brews. Anheuser-Busch has already begun production at their Colorado and New York state breweries."

Source: http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=26924
 

ntalkers

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Currently, the beers are only sold in Chicago with limited availability elsewhere.
Currently, you can find it almost everywhere in the midwest. I believe they distribute to a few states on the east coast and a state or two out west.

Nick
 

motobrewer

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yeah that is kind of a weird statement. i can find all their stuff (all) at my local liquor store. i can find most of their stuff (ie, everything but bcbs rare, more or less) at my local grocery store.
 

TyTanium

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Yeah, I thought that was weird too. I added quotes so you know I wasn't the one who said it, just repeating what the admin at probrewer wrote.
 

Lgaddy44

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One of my local liquor stores, here in Maryland, had a Goose Island tasting on Friday. This was the first time I had tried any of their beers, and with 5 or 6 on hand, they had a fairly good variety. I did like the IPA, although I didn't think it tasted all that hoppy to be called an IPA (website says 55 IBU). It seemed balanced and tasted pretty good, seemed worth buying a six pack.
 
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