That’s true, but I have a basic, if more blunt explanation: the vast majority of beers from small breweries, especially new ones, rarely make it to the level of mediocre; the beers are often plainly bad. Most are flawed with a noticeable off-putting aftertaste from the yeast, noticeable flaws elsewhere, are not particularly flavorful to begin with, or are unbalanced with surfeit of hops or alcohol. Plenty of hops covers a lot of flaws, which I learned as a homebrewer long ago. And, when good ones are made, the brewery can find it difficult to make it taste like that on a consistent basis. My most recent experience with a new local brewery, which I wrote about in my previous post, confirmed this.
I still had fun there, and that is real draw with these new breweries and brewpubs. As the friend I went with, a former beer bar owner, said last night over beers to his friend, a current beer bar owner: “we had a great time at this new brewpub, which had nothing at all to do with the beer, of course.” It was a fun, relaxed atmosphere, with a very friendly staff behind the bar and an interesting and fun crowd on a pleasant evening. It was tough to finish the two beers we each had, though, but a very enjoyable visit nonetheless.
I believe that it’s the enjoyment of the brewhouse visit for a great many rather than the quality of the beers. Visitors to a brewery or a brewpub always seem to be in a good mood, as there is something in the aroma of the malt and hops and knowledge that fun alchemy resulting in a pleasing, intoxicating and inherently fun beverage is happening on premise. The noticeable presence of good moods and fun vibe have been my experience in visiting numerous breweries and brewpubs across the country over the years. My thoughts about enjoyment of the visit rather than the quality of the brews as the prime reason for the popularity of visits to breweries I believe is shared with a couple of friends, a couple, both of whom work at a local brewery, one full-time the other part-time. They are also avid visitors to all the breweries in the Houston area and really enjoy doing so, mostly because they love breweries – I believe that they have hit everyone by now. Though when queried about the quality of the beers, they are usually tepid in their responses, and both are much more open to the styles these new breweries make than I.
Though making good beer on a consistent basis is very difficult, a visit to almost any brewery can be fun. Just don’t have very high expectations as the Journal columnist recommends, though I would recommend having very low expectations and you are likely to enjoy yourself more. And the quality of beers can improve as the brewmasters and breweries become more experienced and more skilled. Can.
The Karbach version of the saison was absolutely fantastic, one of the very versions I have ever had. The first output from the Trappists in Massachusetts was not good at all. Hopefully it has gotten better and will further improve as these monks get better at brewing.