Here's a tweet if I don't know if I agree with from a man I usually agree with.
@andy_keatts I drink tons of new beers, I rarely run into bad beer. I know what to avoid: adjuncts, bottled hoppy beers,sours from start ups— CollinMcDonnell (@CollinMcDonnell) January 8, 2016
Now, maybe our lives are different. Well, I know they are. I'm more of an amateur, he's a pro by definition, as a brewer at HenHouse in Petaluma. He's probably got recommendations up the wazoo... when I go beer buying, I'm relying on y'all, and my trade partner, and leaderboards, and my beer man, and a general sense of what's good. Usually, I drink good beer.
And no, I'm not blaming other people when I drink bad beer. What I'm saying is, it's still easily possible to drink bad beer. Not only are there my own taste buds to deal with -- I went to Stone and had a smoked sea salt gose that made me want to retch, and that might not have been badly made, just not made for me -- but also the fact that good breweries make mistakes. Maybe a brewer at a good brewery doesn't want to admit to that.
But beyond that, there's the fact that bad beers can come in packages that even Collin himself would drink. Have you never had a fresh hoppy that was boring? Maybe that's not 'bad'? I just went to Bagby Beer and I had some watery-ass fresh hop beer. I wouldn't recommend that beer to anyone. Maybe it wasn't 'bad' like that smoked salt gose, but it wasn't good. And it was fresh, local, and from a brewer of good reknown.
I linked the tweet because it's actually great advice. The worst sours I've had have been from startups. Adjuncts can really be nasty. I currently have two bottled hoppy beers that are more than a year and half old in the fridge -- I didn't know when I bought them! -- and I know they'll be bad.
But avoiding bad beer? Seems impossible. Good brewers make mistakes, someone else's good beer is your trash, and then there are just bad beers hiding in plain site. Plenty of good beers, but I disagree that bad beers are super avoidable.
Unless maybe you're a professional brewer that is inundated with recommendations and has a list so long that they won't ever just go into a random brewery, or a random part of the beer shop, and take a chance. We all know those chances don't always work out right.
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