What is wrong with my local brewpubs?

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Spames

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There are at least 3 somewhat local brewpubs. And the instant I taste their beers, I'm immediately turned off. The brew tastes watered down, dull, flat... and I'm assuming it's because they are going extreme on partial boil batches?

Asking/partial ranting because I'm tired of hearing "how great" x,y,z new brewery is in the area, only to pull up a stool and be completely underwhelmed by a thin, seemingly watery beer.
 
OP
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Spames

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Topless waitresses. Fixes just about everything.

:mug:
Here-here!! :tank:

That would certainly mask the issue, but I'm looking for ammo. My assertion is that these beers are concentrated and watered down. I raised this issue with some co-workers today and they were dismayed. Am I crazy, or are they just not as refined as I am?
 

Homercidal

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Who knows? Your being more refined, certainly does not exclude the possibility of their being crazy, in any case.

What I would do is see if you can chat up the brewers or assistants in those places and see if you can get more information into their ingredients and processes. A beer doesn't have to be an extreme partial mash beer to have an off taste. It could be the water they are using, or the temperature they ferment at, or certain adjuncts.
 

Pappers_

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A couple of thoughts:

1. Its rare in the US (is that where you are?) for craft brewers to use extract or partial boils, I doubt that all three are doing that (or any of them).

2. "Watery" isn't really a description - it gets tossed around by folks sometimes, but it doesn't really mean anything. Do you mean they are thin bodied, or low ABV, or lack malt flavor, or hop flavor?

3. Go to one with a fellow brewer who knows about evaluating beer - a bjcp judge would be great - and try the beers and discuss them. Probably the best way to start to figure out whether its your palate or the breweries or something in between.
 

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With the explosion of brewpubs in the US, many of the new ones are homebrewers or inexperienced brewers who want to take their passion and make it a career. Good for them, but I've had LOTS of bad beer as a result.

The funny thing is that the customers don't seem to notice, or care. There is a place in Corpus Christi that has really terrible beer. But there were people enjoying it, and playing corn hole, and drinking plenty of beer. I could barely gag down 1/2 pint, while trying several different ones to see if one was better than the other. Nope- all pretty bad. I'm confident it was the water they were using, as it was across all beers and they had a definite astringent quality to them. The really really terrible one in Port Aransas closed after a couple of years of horrible beer, but it was busy for a while, due to tourists. One in Corpus Christi was opened by a homebrewer, and he brought some of his things to the business side and told him that he's surprised at how hard the pro brewing thing is. He wants to work on improving the beer, and we talked a long time about that. He just needs to stay open long enough to help pay for the upgrades.

I think that many of these will close with a bit of time, but many customers are happy to have "craft beer" as an option so visit these places and without a refined palate, enjoy them.
 

Homercidal

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You never know. I know a place that's got like 16 beers on tap. I usually get a Michigan beer, but luckily they offer tastes, so I can check to see if their own beer is getting better.


Nope. The other place in town brews pretty decent beer, but they know to heat the water up overnight to flash the chlorine.

Another small brewery (and supply shop) I know of brewed really good beer. And when I was there last year I heard the brewers talking about adjusting water and asking questions. So they were already brewing really good beer and still wanted to brew better.

I don't think it's a good idea to open a brewery and not have some experts weighing in on your quality, at least. You friends and family aren't going to give you the feedback you need to make good business decisions. And there is always some change when going from homebrewer to Craft Brewer. You have to account for that.
 

Hammy71

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With the explosion of brewpubs in the US, many of the new ones are homebrewers or inexperienced brewers who want to take their passion and make it a career. Good for them, but I've had LOTS of bad beer as a result.
This.

It's gotten to the point if I see the brewpub has an English IPA on the menu....I just steer away. As my taste for beer has refined, the make beer for the sake of selling beer crowd is turning me away.

:mug:
 

Gerry_P

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This.

It's gotten to the point if I see the brewpub has an English IPA on the menu....I just steer away. As my taste for beer has refined, the make beer for the sake of selling beer crowd is turning me away.

:mug:
That's funny...I was thinking the same about new brewpubs with American IPAs. :mug:
 

mattd2

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This.

It's gotten to the point if I see the brewpub has an English IPA on the menu....I just steer away. As my taste for beer has refined, the make beer for the sake of selling beer crowd is turning me away.

:mug:
Yeah - what is it specific about English IPAs that makes them red flags to you?
 

madscientist451

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I've had my share of mediocre "craft beer", but everyone's tastes are different, what you think sucks, I might like; what the general public thinks is great may be total crap.
If you don't like a particular brewery's beer, go somewhere else.
And yes, topless waitresses do make the beer taste better, as long as they look good before the third beer. After that it doesn't matter.....:mug:
 

Weezy

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When I hear of a new micro opening in our area, I cringe. One in 4 have been really good. One in 4 have made me run in fear and bewilderment. I really don't know what to say beyond that. The ones in between are fine. The poor brewers, if they survive, are especially scary because what are they saying about the profession and what are they teaching the client? I don't know.
 
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My expectations for brew pubs are not extra high ... above average food where they make their own (above average) beer. Pub food .. tasty, casual, comfortable. Not Ruth's Chris steakhouse. If either the beer or the food is below average, it makes no sense to go back.
 
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I live in a beer-soaked area and even here, there are a few places serving pretty bad stuff. One is a winery that branched out into beer so they should have had an above-average amount of clues available.
 

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This.

It's gotten to the point if I see the brewpub has an English IPA on the menu....I just steer away. As my taste for beer has refined, the make beer for the sake of selling beer crowd is turning me away.

:mug:
That's funny...I was thinking the same about new brewpubs with American IPAs. :mug:
Like Matt, I'm wondering: what is it about IPAs that turn you both off?
Like it or now, that is the most popular style among beer geeks these days. Any brewery / brewpub needs to have an IPA to even consider making it these days. Yes, there are plenty of subpar ones out there, but of course, the bar keeps getting raised on what is acceptable.

Personally, I don't care what styles a brewery / brewpub has, as long as they are well done for the style. There are places I will avoid, since the beer isn't up to my standards, though the place is doing well enough that SOMEONE likes it...
 

Murphys_Law

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I usually walk into a micro/craft expecting an OK beer. Just OK. If it's OK or better then I will likely go back. If it's just bad then I won't go back. Staff has a lot to do with me coming back, too.

I'm not expecting these places to make me give up home brewing and genuflect in the parking lot or anything. Just give me a decent pint and a nice place to drink it. If its a really good beer then all the better. I guess I'm not refined enough to expect every pint to be made from unicorn horns and rainbows.
 

seatazzz

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We went to one a few weeks back (can't remember where) that we hadn't been to before, so we ordered a flight. All but one were decent beers; however the one that WASN'T was an amber that had obvious problems. Tasted like it had been infected, sour with an awful off flavor. When I went up to order again, I spoke to one of the guys behind the bar (away from other customers) and asked what had happened with their amber. His face fell, he said yeah, we were trying to brew a belgian and something went wrong with the yeast. They still had 15 1/6 kegs left of it. I commiserated a bit then went back to the table. The couple sitting next to us (yes it's stereotyping but they were obvious hipsters) had chatted a bit with us, I asked them what they were drinking and the guy had the amber. He said it was really good. I just said "Oh" rather inanely and went back to drinking.
 

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In Chattanooga (TN) we are lucky to have several good brewpubs: McHale's, The Terminal Brewhouse, Moccasin Bend Brewing and Chattanooga Brewing Co. All have pretty decent beers. I prefer McHale's myself as the owner is a former co-worker. :)
If any of y'all come to Chattanooga, check all four of 'em out.
 
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One place by me opened with a lineup of 5-6 beers and all of them tasted like a wet horse blanket, or the straw at the bottom of a goat pen. They were genuinely terrible.

A year later they had laid off all brew staff and bought all new equipment. The beer went from terrible to simply poor. Progress! I'll check back in another year. Too bad about the beer, they have a very nice seating area.
 

JonM

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The funny thing is that the customers don't seem to notice, or care.

Ive noticed this too. I can only think of two brewpubs I've been to that genuinely had excellent beer - Vintage Brewing in Madison and Titletown in Green Bay.

But there are plenty of others that have just okay or downright bad beers, yet the places are full every day and jam packed every weekend. I suppose if you have good food, good service, a cool comfortable place, and proximity to stadiums/theaters, the beer isn't all that important.
 

Hammy71

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Yeah - what is it specific about English IPAs that makes them red flags to you?
I may get flamed....but typically it means they are making beer on the cheap. While I have nothing against English ales, they typically require less ingredients than other types. My theory goes like this....if you open a brew pub because you love beer and want to share your passion while making money...you'll make good beer with quality ingredients (and not be afraid to spend money on the ingredients). If you want to open a brew pub to only make money, you'll typically cut costs and this usually means you'll open a "English style pub". While this theory doesn't always hold true, in my experience....it runs well over 80%.
 

Pappers_

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I must be fortunate, there are eight breweries or brew pubs with two miles of my home and only one has quality issues.
 

pgrebus

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There's a brewpub near me that has distinctly terrible beers. They started with the intent to do a brew-your-own place, but after buying the equipment, they realized the economics are tough (derp). They brewed on 9 15-gallon kettles, doing mini-mashes with DME. They've since upgraded to a 10-barrel brew house, but the beers have not improved.
 

20grit

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I may get flamed....but typically it means they are making beer on the cheap. While I have nothing against English ales, they typically require less ingredients than other types. My theory goes like this....if you open a brew pub because you love beer and want to share your passion while making money...you'll make good beer with quality ingredients (and not be afraid to spend money on the ingredients). If you want to open a brew pub to only make money, you'll typically cut costs and this usually means you'll open a "English style pub". While this theory doesn't always hold true, in my experience....it runs well over 80%.
Most every English style beer I do costs me more than others because I use Maris Otter or other more expensive base malts. If I were opening a brewery, most of my beers would be English style ales because that's what I like. Has nothing to do with cost.
 

Weezy

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I may get flamed....but typically it means they are making beer on the cheap. While I have nothing against English ales, they typically require less ingredients than other types. My theory goes like this....if you open a brew pub because you love beer and want to share your passion while making money...you'll make good beer with quality ingredients (and not be afraid to spend money on the ingredients). If you want to open a brew pub to only make money, you'll typically cut costs and this usually means you'll open a "English style pub". While this theory doesn't always hold true, in my experience....it runs well over 80%.
I dunno. When I see a brew pub has more or less a generic lineup (amber, IPA, Porter, blah#4, etc) I think they just generally are uninspired brewers. The good breweries have very little style info and more descriptors of what flavors and effects you can expect from each beer. i.e. they're chasing flavor, not some cookie cutter category.
Here's an OK example. These guys know what's up. Unfortunately their website doesn't list all the detail that's on the paper menu. The paper menu describes flavors as well as ingredients and even what you get it off the different yeast.
https://www.insurrectionaleworks.com/beers
 

Newsman

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I just don't care for IPAs... most of the time they seem to be hop bombs and I'm not overly fond of highly bitter hop bombs. I've been pleasantly surprised at some IPAs that have lots of flavoring hops, and aren't bitter bombs, but generally speaking most IPAs I've had are bitter hop bombs. It seems like someone issued a challenge "How many IBUs can I get in a beer?" and everyone took them up on the challenge.
 
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I don't like super bitter, super malty IPAs at all. Fortunately the NE style is picking up steam, and I like those. I have also started to see pale ales that have that juicy quality too.
 

John Paul Stoddard

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Clone yourself 1000 Times and fill all the seats...otherwise the other 999 seats will be filled with people who don't have your same tastes in beer..

Brewing is like cooking....take 1000 people and give them a Steak and a grill and tell them to cook the perfect steak..you will get 1000 variations ..everyone will believe theirs was the perfect one...Is 1/16" of pink a Medium Well or is it 1/4" or 3/8". Is 15 seconds on each side a rare or do you need to break a sweat to be rare.

Brewpubs and Breweries are not there for the "Homebrewers" they are there for those that don't brew.

How many have a Flagship beers that they keep day after day that never changes..and how many have "seasonal" and "trend style" beers that come and go every 3 months or so that "market" to yuppies.

people trash the big breweries but one thing that can be said for them...They make beers that peopl love the flavor of as a most part others drink because they believe the ads..but you knew your favorite was gonna have the same taste every single drink and you were not afraid that you would not be able to drink the same flavor month after month year after year...

Microbrews..have to be trendy...
Someone did Bourbon Barrels..everyone else had to also
Someone did double Hops..everyone else had to also
Someone trippled the Hops..so did everyone else...
Someone stated doing fruit pulpy beers...and guess what so is everyone else....
 

Weezy

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Microbrews..have to be trendy...
Someone did Bourbon Barrels..everyone else had to also
Someone did double Hops..everyone else had to also
Someone trippled the Hops..so did everyone else...
Someone stated doing fruit pulpy beers...and guess what so is everyone else....
I don't see that. I see the yawn breweries still churning out the one amber, the one Belgian, the IPA with whatever old hops, the brownish malty porterish thing with the strange tang from yeast stress.
 

bleme

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Clone yourself 1000 Times and fill all the seats...otherwise the other 999 seats will be filled with people who don't have your same tastes in beer...
That might work on me, but not if you cloned someone like my daughter. She just likes to disagree...
 

bbohanon

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With the explosion of brewpubs in the US, many of the new ones are homebrewers or inexperienced brewers who want to take their passion and make it a career. Good for them, but I've had LOTS of bad beer as a result.

The funny thing is that the customers don't seem to notice, or care. There is a place in Corpus Christi that has really terrible beer. But there were people enjoying it, and playing corn hole, and drinking plenty of beer. I could barely gag down 1/2 pint, while trying several different ones to see if one was better than the other. Nope- all pretty bad. I'm confident it was the water they were using, as it was across all beers and they had a definite astringent quality to them. The really really terrible one in Port Aransas closed after a couple of years of horrible beer, but it was busy for a while, due to tourists. One in Corpus Christi was opened by a homebrewer, and he brought some of his things to the business side and told him that he's surprised at how hard the pro brewing thing is. He wants to work on improving the beer, and we talked a long time about that. He just needs to stay open long enough to help pay for the upgrades.

I think that many of these will close with a bit of time, but many customers are happy to have "craft beer" as an option so visit these places and without a refined palate, enjoy them.
This +1000
This is alot of the reason the pricing is getting nuts as well. The craft beer lemmings will pay big bucks for crapola beer I have found out.
I see the bubble..but I think we are still about 2 years from the big "POP" that will occur with all of this lackluster beer and premium pricing.
 

Gerry_P

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Like Matt, I'm wondering: what is it about IPAs that turn you both off?
Like it or now, that is the most popular style among beer geeks these days. Any brewery / brewpub needs to have an IPA to even consider making it these days. Yes, there are plenty of subpar ones out there, but of course, the bar keeps getting raised on what is acceptable.

Personally, I don't care what styles a brewery / brewpub has, as long as they are well done for the style. There are places I will avoid, since the beer isn't up to my standards, though the place is doing well enough that SOMEONE likes it...
I don't have anything against IPAs. In fact I'm drinking a delicious Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo right now. I was making a little joke about American ones because just about every new brewery has one in their lineup, not just because of popularity but also, I suspect, because it's an easy style to make, it can have a quick turnaround time, and off-flavors can hide behind IBUs. I don't really avoid new brewpubs with an American IPA, it's just that I'm usually not impressed by most of them. Plus I have a soft spot for British pale ales (IPAs et al) and I think they sadly unappreciated many people these days. :mug:
 

Mer-man

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The funny thing is that the customers don't seem to notice, or care. There is a place in Corpus Christi that has really terrible beer. But there were people enjoying it, and playing corn hole, and drinking plenty of beer. ... One in Corpus Christi was opened by a homebrewer, and he brought some of his things to the business side and told him that he's surprised at how hard the pro brewing thing is. He wants to work on improving the beer, and we talked a long time about that. He just needs to stay open long enough to help pay for the upgrades.
Is there anything decent in CC? I'll be visiting family there this summer and the best I found last time was Shiner.

We have the Mikkeller effect here in Denmark, where people start producing based on having an exciting recipe and then quickly move to the next.
It's really hard to find a well-made beer randomly here -- maybe 1 in 10.:mad:
 

Mer-man

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I dunno. When I see a brew pub has more or less a generic lineup (amber, IPA, Porter, blah#4, etc) I think they just generally are uninspired brewers.
Funny, my problem is that I am awash in a sea of bearded but very inspired brewers. I cannot order a beer and remotely rely on description - YMMV.

"Black IPA" - actually an American Stout
"Pale Ale" - session NEIPA, no body
anything sour - not very good
"IPA" - badly made NEIPA
"Gose" - failed kettle sour
"Pilsner" - don't even get me started . . .:ban:
 

Yooper

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Is there anything decent in CC? I'll be visiting family there this summer and the best I found last time was Shiner.

We have the Mikkeller effect here in Denmark, where people start producing based on having an exciting recipe and then quickly move to the next.
It's really hard to find a well-made beer randomly here -- maybe 1 in 10.:mad:
Downtown, there is a bar called Executive Surf Club, where they have quite a few good Texas beers on tap, and usually a band in the outdoor area. They don't brew there, but they have a good selection and decent food. I live in Rockport, about 30 miles from CC, and last night they had a halfway decent selection at a place here called Moondogs.

There is a brewery in Goliad, about 50 miles NW of here that makes good beer. If you are in that area on a Saturday, a stop there at their beer garden is worthwhile, and you can buy their beers most places in CC.
 

pgrebus

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How many have a Flagship beers that they keep day after day that never changes..and how many have "seasonal" and "trend style" beers that come and go every 3 months or so that "market" to yuppies.
Yuppies? ;)
 

Yooper

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In other words, she's not really a yooper. Hell, she's probably not even a dominatrix.
Oh, I'm a Yooper. But I am not a stupid Yooper.

I told my family to text me when the snow is gone. They sent a photo yesterday, and the snow is nearly gone from their yard, so it's almost time to go back to the UP until winter comes again.

The dominatrix thing, well, I can't really discuss that in public.
 

ericbw

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Clone yourself 1000 Times and fill all the seats...otherwise the other 999 seats will be filled with people who don't have your same tastes in beer..



Brewing is like cooking....take 1000 people and give them a Steak and a grill and tell them to cook the perfect steak..you will get 1000 variations ..everyone will believe theirs was the perfect one...Is 1/16" of pink a Medium Well or is it 1/4" or 3/8". Is 15 seconds on each side a rare or do you need to break a sweat to be rare.



Brewpubs and Breweries are not there for the "Homebrewers" they are there for those that don't brew.



How many have a Flagship beers that they keep day after day that never changes..and how many have "seasonal" and "trend style" beers that come and go every 3 months or so that "market" to yuppies.



people trash the big breweries but one thing that can be said for them...They make beers that peopl love the flavor of as a most part others drink because they believe the ads..but you knew your favorite was gonna have the same taste every single drink and you were not afraid that you would not be able to drink the same flavor month after month year after year...



Microbrews..have to be trendy...

Someone did Bourbon Barrels..everyone else had to also

Someone did double Hops..everyone else had to also

Someone trippled the Hops..so did everyone else...

Someone stated doing fruit pulpy beers...and guess what so is everyone else....

All good points.
 

jrgtr42

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I don't have anything against IPAs. In fact I'm drinking a delicious Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo right now. I was making a little joke about American ones because just about every new brewery has one in their lineup, not just because of popularity but also, I suspect, because it's an easy style to make, it can have a quick turnaround time, and off-flavors can hide behind IBUs. I don't really avoid new brewpubs with an American IPA, it's just that I'm usually not impressed by most of them. Plus I have a soft spot for British pale ales (IPAs et al) and I think they sadly unappreciated many people these days. :mug:
Fair enough.
IPAs don't have that much quicker turnaround than most other styles - all depends on the yeast used.
I guess they can be easier to make - a mash of 2-row, bung in a ton of hops, and there you go. The hard part is making them WELL, and I suppose that's where you're heading. A ton of hops will boost IBUs, but knowing what hops play well with each other is more of an art.
I have one brewepub near me that has had a few changes of brewers. The place has been around for 20+ years, they had one brewer that was there for 10+ of those years. (she wasn't the first one they had, she left about 5 years ago) She did a lot of styles really well, including IPAs. They then had another who was there for about 4 years - he's been gone maybe 6 months now. He was OK, did a few things well, but most of his beers were... uninspired. Hops were there, malt was there, but it didn't really pop. I didn't go often during that time.
The new guy, has revamped most of the recipes, and even the old ones are like totally different beers. He's also brought in a new stout and a few new IPAs, all of which are great. A lighter one, a more or less standard west coast, and a NE one, all of them out of the ballpark. I've started going back there more or less regularly.
Then there's another brewery with taproom that is doing EVERYTHING well - stouts, sours, IPAs, even a Scottish 80 shilling that is out of this world (and even better on cask) (I really like British styles - milds, bitters etc, and especially well- executed casks)
 
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