Random Beer Thoughts-October 2016

-When I visit a brewery that doesn’t can/bottle their beer yet I have found myself gravitating towards 32 oz. half-growlers instead of the full 64 oz. big-boys. I realize that this is typically less cost-effective, but would rather have 2 pints of 2 different beers than the 64 oz. commitment to a single style.

-On that topic, the Massachusetts law that breweries can only fill their own growlers is incredibly annoying. I only buy growlers if I have no other options and I still have way too many, I’m onto a second shelf in my basement just for empty growler storage. What is the point of this law exactly? Are they worried that someone will try to cheat the system and bring a 70 oz. container to get that extra beer? Couldn’t they just sell a standard growler that can be filled at any MA brewery that offers growler fills? Would anyone really object to that?

-I would love to buy more beer in crowlers (growler-like cans for the uninitiated), but there are very few local breweries that offer them right now.

-I recently heard a beer described as “it tastes like it was someone’s first attempt at a Mr. Beer kit.” Might be the best combination of clever and harsh that I’ve ever heard in a beer review.

-Revolution Brewing absolutely did the right thing recalling a huge amount of beer that had been contaminated with wild yeast. Too many breweries don’t take quality control as seriously as they should.

-In the last year I’ve notified three different breweries about quality issues. One was old beer on a store shelf, I should have checked before I bought it but the brewery still apologized. One was a bottle that was completely flat, the brewer offered a replacement. One was a clear example of oxidation, the brewery seemed to be aware of the problem but hadn’t taken any steps to remove the beers from the shelf (I tried two different styles that were both horribly oxidized).

-In the first two examples these were breweries I’ve enjoyed in the past and will give the benefit of the doubt, but anyone new to their product would probably be immediately turned off and they could lose a potential regular customer. The third example s a brewery I will avoid from here on out.

-As part of these random beer thoughts columns I am going to try and link to a few recent beer related articles that I’ve enjoyed over the last month, feel free to forward along anything that you think I should check out!


The Mass Brew Brothers ask “Will a Bay State Brewery Get Bought By Big Beer?” I don’t think it’s a question of “if”, it’s just a matter of time before it happens.

-Interesting news that Firestone Walker is discontinuing three year-round beers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more breweries cut back their year round options and focus on rotating and special releases to try and appease the portion of beer drinkers that are always chasing new beers.

Jason Notte ruffled a lot of feathers with his comparison of New York City and Portland, Oregon as beer towns. I was actually much less impressed with the beer scene in NYC on my last visit, I was hanging out with people who aren’t beer snobs and I was surprised by how dull the taplists were at the bars that weren’t beer-centric (which was everywhere we went). Could have just beer poor bar choices I guess.

Congratulations to Brazo Fuerte and founder Bev Armstrong on winning the 2017 Sam Adams Brewing and Business Experienceship!

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