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Mar 4, 2014 10:18 PM

Rogue Farms IPA: Beer Terroir? Will they evolve with aging or go flat?

Picked up an intriguing IPA the other day "Rogue Farms 7-Hop". Label says it includes the 7 types of hops grown on Rogue's own hop farm, i.e. sort of "beer terroir".

Tasting it... it's real young and bright, crisp, punctuated with a central medium bitterness... reminds me of Deschutes "Chasin' Freshies" IPA.

Right now as it sits I'm enjoying it, but would like a little more complexity and hint of sweetness. Can this evolve in the bottle? .... what if I cellar this for 6-12 months, will that bitterness mellow a bit and some sweetness evolve? Recently tried that by mistake with the 2013 / 2014 S.N. Ruthless Rye and that's exactly what happened.

I like this fresh bright & bitter style, but like a wine can these beers consistently mellow out and turn into something more complex... or do they just go flat?

BTW: As a wine nut I'm intrigued by the idea of "beer terroir"... any other such examples where the brewmaster is using his own locally grown ingredients?

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  1. I'm not familiar with American breweries, but, before the invention of industrial brewing in the 19th century, all breweries used local ingredients. In many breweries in Europe, that is how it still works.

    Wine is different from beer as the main ingredient is quite specific to a region. The main ingredient in beer is water and that can also be local, but, unlike grapes, water is not categorised the way that grapes are.

    Bavaria is a good example of this. Other than a few large breweries near Munich, most breweries are quite small and local. In an area called "Franconian Switzerland" near Bamberg there are hundreds of small local breweries that produce lovely beers with only local ingredients. And, for the drinker, we also enjoy low prices: a half liter of beer costs around €2 at brewery pubs in the countryside.

    1. Generally speaking if you age an IPA the hop flavors will diminish. DIPA's, for example, with enough aging come to resemble barleywines, depending on their grain bill. Some Rogue beers age well, like the Imperial Mocha Porter.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Josh

        Agree with everything Josh said. I have not personally had this but from reading a few reviews on line it seems more hop forward with a biscuity malt character. That to me doesn't seem like it would evolve in the way you want. Personally I would drink it fresh but we seem to favor different profiles. I am just not so sure how aging would help this get sweeter but the hops would begin to fade. The 8% abv does give some hope as that is that could help.

        1. re: MVNYC

          It's an intriguing idea... I've actually got a line up of stouts for a spring tasting that I've had laying around, some dating back as far as 2007...

          Always recognized that stouts and BW's can tolerate and improve with time the bottle... but always thought the PAs went flat... thanks for your input.

          1. re: TombstoneShadow

            2xIPAs on the sweeter side of the spectrum work well but the dryer full frontal hop assaults seem to diminish in quality.

            Agree with Josh upthread, some sweeter 2xIPAs become more barley winesque in character

            1. re: MVNYC

              "....but the dryer full frontal hop assaults seem to diminish in quality...."

              Maybe they just have nowhere to evolve flavor-wise? They have that singular character and there's nothing "behind" it so-to-speak to evolve into.

              1. re: TombstoneShadow

                Those beers have a place. I tend to enjoy more well rounded IPAs but sometimes I enjoy the taste of ultra fresh hops without any sweetness to mute it. An ultra fresh pilsener would be another example. Not everything is meant to be evolve, that doesn't mean there is nothing "behind" it.

                1. re: TombstoneShadow

                  No. There's a scientific explanation for what happens here - the hop compounds are volatile, which means that as the beer oxidizes in the bottle those flavors fade because oxygen degrades them. It's a common problem with bottled beer, because the caps aren't 100% airtight.

                  If you buy IPA's that are canned the hop flavors last much, much longer than in bottled beers.

                  1. re: Josh

                    If caps weren't airtight, bottled beer would lose carbonation and go flat in short time. It's oxygen introduced during the brewing and mostly bottling process that is of concern, not oxygen seeping in post capping.

                    And there's more to oxidation of hoppy beer than just a fading of hop flavor. Can also create unpleasant grassy, metallic, musty flavors - but from my experience most craftbeer drikers including knowledgeable beer geeks really don't know/recognize the difference between fresh hop flavors and oxidized hop flavor.

                    1. re: LStaff

                      Question is, however, can those new evolving flavors be "decanted" (just as with aging wine), by pouring the beer into a glass?

                      Or are they permanently imbued into the flavor profile...

                      1. re: LStaff

                        Now that you say that it seems very obvious, but I remember in BJCP class when we were learning about oxidation the instructor mentioning that bottle caps weren't foolproof in preventing oxidation. From what I can find online, it seems that if a bottle is exposed to heat that can damage the seal under the cap.

                        I know that oxidation can occur from improperly flushed headspace in the bottle, as well as during other parts of the bottling process, but I know I've read that it can also occur from too much time in the bottle.

                        It does seem odd though that a cap could be leaky enough to let in oxygen without carbonation loss.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Keep in mind that oxygen is not necessary for oxidation. The term oxidation is a historical one and the phenomenon was first observed with oxygen. However, oxidation is a general chemical phenomenon that takes place with a number of compounds where there is exchange of electrons. So oxidation can take place in airtight, flushed bottles.

                          Remember: LEO the lion says GER. Loss of electrons: oxidation, gain of electrons: reduction.

                2. re: TombstoneShadow

                  Not all stouts age well. I think the higher ABV stouts age nicely and I have found that some high ABV stouts with a high IBU count mellow out and become more complex and drinkable (at least, to me).

                  Stouts with lower ABVs will not do so well over time and you may also find that those with adjuncts like coffee (even higher ABV ones) will also lose the intensity of the coffee flavors.

            2. Highly hopped beers should be consumed ASAP.

              81 Replies
              1. re: jpc8015

                The one exception to that I've encountered is with aggressively hopped strong ales and barleywines. Often I find the hop profile too aggressive in those beers, but as they age and the hop flavors mellow the beers evolve into more interesting versions. Try aging something like Stone's Old Guardian for a couple of years and you'll see what I mean.

                1. re: Josh

                  Aging barley wines like Old Guardian is understandable. But Ive just never understood the concept of buying a hoppy beer (an IPA or an imperial IPA) with the notion of aging it so that the hops "mellow out". I mean isnt the whole purpose of an India Pale Ale to feature hops front and center? Why buy one thinking this is too hoppy. Maybe it will improve if I dont drink it for a few years... Its like getting a new Mustang and gutting the V8 because it is aggressively powerful and needs a little mellowing. I realize I may be in the minority on this but its flabbergasting to me. Buy a barley wine if you want a barley wine and, as you note, age THAT because at least you have somewhere to go with that beer under proper aging conditions. Aging a highly hopped DIPA just leads to and uneven malt bomb that just tastes incomplete and wasted to me. And Im of the opinion that we age too much to begin with. Only so many beers really can benefit from aging. So many have aspects to them that dont age well or age at separate rates and lead to something less complete than the original. Plus bottle conditioning isnt possible in most bottles of course.

                  1. re: Insidious Rex

                    " I mean isnt the whole purpose of an India Pale Ale to feature hops front and center?..."

                    Definitely agree with this...

                    ....However, on the other hand if you forget to consume it and serendipitously find the beer is still very interesting months past when you are "supposed" to drink it, perhaps not better, but nonetheless drinking in an interesting way, why not experiment with it?

                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      Yes which is something Ive done way to often in my life... I can tell you that sitting on a Three Floyds Dreadnaught is one of the worst things Ive ever done back in my beer hoarding days... Such a great beer fresh and it turned into this unbearably unevenly malty semi-oxidized tragedy just because I didnt undersatand the chemistry of hop oils back then and thought it would be cool to hide it away for 9 months then pull it out and impress everyone when friends gathered for a tasting... well it didnk work out... Did the same thing to several Pliny's too. Never again!

                      1. re: Insidious Rex

                        That is sad... dreadnaught is rare enough without losing a bottle... ever have it on tap? It's insanely good... Once a bar in Chicago ran out and served me Alpha King instead... I instantly knew...

                        1. re: Insidious Rex

                          I haven't had the 3 Floyds beer, but aging Pliny is definitely a huge mistake. It's not a bitter DIPA, but a floral one with a very light body that uses adjuncts to avoid heavy malt character. That's not what I am talking about.

                      2. re: Insidious Rex

                        I would agree that aging a regular IPA makes no sense. I think depending on the DIPA one might opt to do so. Not all brewers are equally gifted at making highly hopped beers. I've had some that are so bitter as to be undrinkable. In *some* cases the oxidation that comes from aging makes them drinkable.

                        I understand your arguments and mostly agree with you, but I've had a couple of highly hopped beers that were pretty unpleasant when fresh that became something like a barleywine after some time in the bottle.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Well, the original British IPAs were aged in the sense that a ship voyage to India took several months. In fact, some British beers were aged far longer in the past. However, assuming that modern American IPAs are made differently from the original British ones, you may well be correct.

                          1. re: ThomasvanDale

                            I'm not sure what drinkers in India were expecting from this beer. I would guess that they weren't sniffing and swirling as many of us do these days, but rather just drinking what was available. But that's just conjecture.

                            And while we may not know exactly how, I am confident that today's American IPAs bear scant resemblance to the originals.

                            1. re: Jim Dorsch

                              Also, modern English IPAs taste very different from American ones, particularly those brewed in the West Coast style. The West Coast floral/citrusy hops impart a character that is delightful when fresh but quickly fades after a few months. By contrast, an English IPA is drinkable for a much longer period of time.

                              1. re: brentk

                                I'd define the west coast IPA a little differently. It's not solely the hop varieties that define the style, but also the dry hopping to emphasize the floral/citrus hop character, as well as the reduced maltiness. The difference in malt quality is another reason that West Coast IPAs are best consumed fresh.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  That may be your opinion (and many other beer geeks) of what a west coast ipa is, but the reality of commercial brewers that market their beers as such is much more muddied. For one example, the namesake itself, Greenflash West Coast ipa is a very malt laden beer with a hefty dose of carapils and caramel malt in the grainbill. Used to have an impression of dryness due to the hop character overcoming the maltiness- but not so much recently though imo.

                                  1. re: LStaff

                                    Funny thing about that - the first time I tried that beer I thought "why the hell is this called 'West Coast IPA'?".

                                    Green Flash is an older brewery, though, and other older breweries still make that old-style malt bomb IPA (like Ballast Point's Big Eye, for example). I don't know when West Coast IPA was first brewed, but despite its name it doesn't seem true to how the style has evolved.

                              2. re: Jim Dorsch

                                The IPAs were sent to British troops in India. Presumably, they (the troops) were familiar with British Pale Ales of the time. I would guess that the IPAs were designed to taste similar.

                                Since beer aging was more common at that time, I assume the brewers would have known how to brew an IPA that would taste like a PA after several months at sea.

                                1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                  Recently read a very good article about the myths and truths about the origination of the IPA. It seems India Pale Ale evolved from a brew called "October beer" which was a strong hoppy stock bitter brewed with pale malt and cellared for at least two years. And really this was the beer preferred by the military brass and the civil servants. The troops preferred porter. Sooner or later someone figured out that the temperature fluctuations and the agitation from a sea journey prematurely aged the beer so it became a no brainer to ship young October Beer rather then sitting on it for 2 years before shipping (theres your proto-IPA aging advice Josh!). It was about maximizing profits not trying to preserve the beer for the long journey. The two year old stuff arrived just fine and hops had already been in this brew all along. This went on for the better part of a century then in the 1820's a brewer directly on the Trent river found that the calcium sulfate rich water there was ideal for brewing this "East India Ale" because it extracted less color and more fermentables from the malt (and ironically actually smoothed the hop character). Well that meant they could brew the same beer with less malt. Cost savings again. And this quickly became the beer in most demand among the India colonials. From there other breweries followed suit and imitated this lighter color ale. The term "IPA" didnt come into the lexicon for another 20 years from there. So according to these researches the IPA evolved not so much because it was the only beer that could survive the trip but because for several reasons it was the most cost effective beer to sell them. And obviously today's american IPAs are a completely different animal. Related: Didnt Brewdog or someone do an experiment where they put some barrels of English style IPA on a boat for 8 or 9 months to see what kind of beer they would get? I wonder how it tasted...

                                  1. re: Insidious Rex

                                    Regarding tax issues, I understand this is the reason for the advent of cask ale in England. Tax was assessed as soon as beer was produced, so breweries started sending it out while still maturing in the cask, so as to help their cash flow.

                                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                      Interesting. I know that after WW I, England imposed a tax based on gravity of the beer and alcohol content nose dived leading to the modern english IPA we are more familiar with which usually doesnt exceed 5 or 6%.

                                      1. re: Insidious Rex

                                        I think now it's based on alcohol, which of course is fairly proportionate to OG.

                                        I don't think I explained my previous point properly. I believe tax was assessed as soon as the beer came out of the mash tun, or at least before fermentation, hence the desire to move it to the pub ASAP.

                                      2. re: Jim Dorsch

                                        Jim, I've never heard that about casks. Where did you read it?

                                        AFAIK, taxes were also charged on raw materials - malt and hops - which brewers presumably had to pay before the beer was beer.

                                        1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                          It was long ago and I really can't recall. I will ask around and see if I can figure this out.

                                      3. re: Insidious Rex

                                        Any info on how those barrels turned out ??

                                        1. re: Insidious Rex

                                          Rex, the boat experiment was done by a British blogger named Pete Brown. So far as I know, IPA is not a direct descendent of October ale. Pale Ales were quite common in the 18th century and October ale was one type.

                                          1. re: Insidious Rex

                                            Brew Dog did make such a beer. I was lucky enough to try some, when they were visiting Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego. It was about 5 years ago or so, so my memory of it is hazy, but I don't remember it being especially remarkable as a beer. It tasted a little oxidized, as it would, and it wasn't especially hoppy or bitter. I remember liking it better than the other beer they had with them, Zephyr, which was made with strawberries, aged in whisky casks, and tasted really strange.

                                            I found this write-up about it - looks like it spent 2 months on the ship in barrels:

                                            1. re: Josh

                                              Intriguing. Although it sounds like more of a novelty then a revelation (which seems to be a theme with Brewdog). Was it served right out of the cask or did they bottle it? And Im most amused that Brewdog's owner has his own mackerel trawler.

                                              1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                Bottled. Their output historically seems to have always been a mix of serious beers and novelty one-offs. I like a lot of their beers. Glad to see they have distribution again in California.

                                              2. re: Josh

                                                Josh, you probably won't agree with me, but I think Brewdog uses gimmicks to sell beer. What they did you cannot compare to this:


                                                1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                  It is widely believed by a whole lot of people that Brewdog uses gimmicks to sell beer. I certainly believe this myself. But I have to admit that nearly all the Brewdog beers I have tasted have been quite good or at least interesting. So, I guess, I let them get away with a lot.

                                                  1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                    I agree they do use a lot of gimmicks, but some of their beers are actually quite well-made.

                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                      I have several British friends and none of them will drink their beer. I expect they are brewing for the RatebeerAdvocate readership. Not everyones taste, I can assure you.

                                                      1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                        Not really sure what that proves. There are many British beers I won't drink. :-)

                                                        Paradox, for example, is very good. It's an imperial stout aged in different Scotch whisky casks. It does require aging to mellow some of the rough edges, but it's definitely not a gimmick.

                                                        Tokyo is also a good one, though I can only handle about 4 oz. of it. It's very strong, and is unlike any other beer I've had. Good for sharing.

                                                        In terms of more normal beers I also like the 5am Saint, which is a hoppy red ale.

                                                        They definitely more aspire to the American-style craft brewing approach, with a lot of experimental beers attempted that don't always work, so I could imagine if you had one of their less successful brews it might put you off.

                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                          It is probably less their beers than their attitude. They "promote" their beers by attacking CAMRA, for example. They attack traditional British brewers and the concept of Real Ale. They attack the idea of serving beer at cellar temperature.

                                                          Whilst the US brewers association defines craft (partially) as traditional, Brewdog is against it (tradition). Whilst industrial beer is mostly served cold (undoubtedly to hide the off flavors), Brewdog does support that.

                                                          The concept of "innovation" vs. tradition has not really caught on in Europe. Yes, there are examples of new breweries (such as Brewdog or de Struise) that focus on "innovation", but most of them end up exporting much of their beer to the US (not sure about Brewdog). There is a very small market of mostly inexperienced beer drinkers here who buy some of these beers, however, they also buy beers from the small traditional breweries as well.

                                                          Brewdog strike me more as a marketing company that has chosen beer as their vehicle.

                                                          1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                            It's curious that the people who now own Anchor Brewing Co, which many would describe as traditional, also have an interest in BrewDog.

                                                            1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                              I find it hard to argue with anything said here. Do you not agree?


                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                I think the problem here is that the beer scene in Europe is grossly different from the beer scene in the US. With the link you posted, Josh, I hardly agree with a word of it.

                                                                This is the kind of crap they usually write that gets up peoples noses over here:

                                                                Specifically: "It is easy to get lost in a sea of boring, lightly hopped bland cask ales at the festival and we were determined to change that." (About the GBBF).

                                                                People have been drinking traditional British beer for many centuries. These guys with (historically) ten seconds of experience call it "boring and bland".

                                                                Who are they to tell the British people and British brewers that they are wrong to appreciate what has been sold and drunk in the UK for centuries? And what is so awful about British beers (excepting the industrial stuff) that it needs to be replaced?

                                                                1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                  I think it's more accurate to say the beer scene is changing in Europe. From what I have read, and seen in terms of exports from Germany and Belgium, more brewers there are following the lead of the American craft brewing movement and making some interesting beers that break with long-established traditional styles. It makes sense to me, since the American craft brewers obviously borrowed heavily from European brewers, but pushed things in a different direction. Now you're seeing that influence play out around the globe.

                                                                  Europe, Japan, and New Zealand are all part of this new renaissance in brewing, and I think it's a great thing. When you see a guy like Garett Oliver make a Belgian farmhouse-style ale and hop it with the Japanese Sorachi Ace, that's just a brilliant cross-cultural marriage that is one of the best farmhouse-style beers I've had.

                                                                  I feel like you're revealing a really big cultural difference between Europe and the United States. You say "who are they to tell the British people and British brewers" (which is weird, since they are themselves from the British Isles, making them representatives of both groups), where we would say "who cares?"

                                                                  People are entitled to their opinions and to speak their minds. The public will either buy it or not. There'll always be an audience of die hards who will support the old school cask beer world. But I'm sure part of their frustration is seeing events like the Real Ale festival in San Diego where the breweries put all kinds of interesting and different beers in the firkins, not just milds and bitters.

                                                                  There's a reason craft beer is growing hugely in the United States - because the brewers here are taking chances, making new styles, and producing interesting beers that people get excited about. I am sure younger guys like the ones from BrewDog are interested in seeing the same kind of innovation happening there.

                                                                  And the thing is, it is happening. Guys like Mikkeller are doing it. Nøgne-Ø, Haandbryggeriet, Freigeist, Cantillon, Fantôme. The creativity is spreading. Hopefully it's not too late to save the European beer industry from their declining youth market share.

                                                                  People vote with their feet, and while you may not think those beers are boring and bland it's obviously not the public consensus.

                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                    With CAMRA you have an organization that has made great strides but is somewhat ideologically hidebound. See, for example, the kerfuffle over cask breathers over the years.

                                                                    Traditional cask ale is wonderful stuff, but there's no reason to limit one's choices to a few traditional styles.

                                                                    It's been interesting to observe how the early US microbrewers adapted foreign styles to the materials available, then the segment evolved over the years to offer this incredible range of products.

                                                                    As you say, the new European brewers have arrived, hopefully just in time to recapture the market. I've seen some evidence that they are producing many beers designed to complement food, something US brewers might learn from. And here we go again ...

                                                                    Finally, nice job conjuring up those special characters when spelling some of the European brewery names!

                                                                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                      Oøøøøh, that's easy. Hold ALT down while typing "o". A friend of mine is one of the founders of Nøgne Ø and I quickly learned to do that.

                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                        Thanks for that. I'm sure I can manage to forget it by the time I need to use it. I do know how to insert a character, and I can do an em-dash with a shortcut. Ain't I something.

                                                                        I've met a few Nogne Ø folks, and because of that I have a rough notion of how to pronounce the name. (Zywiec is another tough one.)

                                                                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                          Zywiec? Gosh, I'd just spell it out rather than trying to pronounce it. Nøgne Ø is comparatively easy to pronounce, if you have a larynx like a subwoofer. They make absolutely great beers, and are the only place in Europe that brews sake.

                                                                    2. re: Josh

                                                                      Strangely enough, I see it the other way around. For the last one hundred years or so, the beer scene in the European brewing countries has been one or two industrial breweries and many small, mostly local, breweries.

                                                                      I expect that before World War one, the situation in the US was quite similar. However, in the last 80 years or so, the US seemed to lose a lot of small local breweries and the industrial breweries became bigger.

                                                                      More recently, the US seems to have returned to the original pattern of many small local breweries. The situation in Europe is slightly different in the sense that industrial brewing was slower to take over here and so, not so many small breweries were closed.

                                                                      What happened in the US, in my view, is that industrial beer failed to satisfy people, coincidentally, around the time that more European beers were exported into the US. It was then that the small brewery movement was started. I believe that the availability of the Internet and the beer fan sites and local beer sites did a lot to encourage breweries to start up, although that came later.

                                                                      In Germany and the Czech Republic, probably the two greatest brewing countries in Europe, industrial brewing has not swept out or even put much pressure on the small breweries. In Belgium, the industrial share of local sales fell to around 60-65 percent a few years ago. That compares with 90-95 percent in the US and some other countries.

                                                                      I really don't understand why you list Cantillon and Fantôme with the Scandinavian and German breweries. Cantillon makes traditional beers in the traditional way. If they sell something different in the US, I am not aware of it. The Fantôme brewer is a farmer. Whatever crops he can't sell, he puts in his beer. His beers are very hard to find in Belgium because not many Belgians care to drink them.

                                                                      Freigeist is a tiny brewery/brewpub in Cologne. As it happens, one of the principals is a good friend of mine. He is very young (27 or 28) and sees the US as a terrific market opportunity. In fact, he just came back from an extended tour there. He went to arrange exports to the US. The beers he exports will be made specifically for the American market and will combine German and American tastes.

                                                                      The problem with your view (I believe) is that you base it solely on what you see and read in the US. There are currently, for example, about 150 breweries in my country. How many Dutch breweries can you name that do NOT export to the US? How many German breweries do you know that also do NOT export to the US? Or British or Belgian?

                                                                      There are indeed some breweries in Europe that are trying to produce "new" beers. Virtually all of them, aside from Brewdog, manage to do this without insulting or fighting with the existing breweries in their countries. Do they all make American-style beers? No. Do some of them make some American-style beers? Yes.

                                                                      But, Josh, surely you cannot believe that the six breweries you named (even assuming they represented what you think they represent) represent anything more than a drop in the ocean of the thousands of breweries in Europe.

                                                                      1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                        By the 1960s more Americans were traveling to Europe, between military service, college, work, etc., exposing them to things they would start eventually to make back home, such as cheese, bread, beer, chocolate, etc.

                                                                        One of these people, of course, was Jack McAuliffe, who started the first modern-era microbrewery.

                                                                        That exposure to other tastes likely resulted in demand for imported beers, as well.

                                                                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                          I believe McAuliffe's brewery started in 1977, while Fritz Maytag's renewal of Anchor Steam was in 1966? Very interesting transition time in Northern California. Just 11 years, or so?

                                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                                            That's about right. I think Fritz was 1965.

                                                                            This is always a touchy subject, as Fritz rightly believes he was first, not McAuliffe. And he makes a good point.

                                                                            Either way, it started quite slowly, took a while to really get rolling, and now there's a flood (well, a somewhat small flood) of incredible beer gushing forth across America and beyond.

                                                                            1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                              Fritz has an interesting story, but he didn't start anything new as much as he rescued a dying business. Then, as he got to understand beer in a larger historical context, he started making some pretty darn great beers for the time. From then, he became what would later be called a microbrewer.

                                                                              I still love Liberty Ale, which predated the IPA boom by a full generation. I also liked the fact that, unlike Pete's, he didn't rush out with new kinds of beer all the time.

                                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                Liberty Ale is a wonderful beer.

                                                                                Pete is a nice man. I usually chat with him a for a few minutes at the brewers conference. He's involved with a company now that's putting out a line of sessionable canned beers.

                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                    yes, the devil's in the details.

                                                                        2. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                          I listed Cantillon and Fantôme because they are both making non-traditional versions of their respective beers (in addition to their traditional output). E.g. Brises Bon-Bons, Cuvée des Gilloises.

                                                                          I agree that the number of breweries making beer this way is small, now. But it's more than it was, and I would imagine if the beers made become popular there that the number will increase further.

                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                            Are you saying that if a brewery makes a "non-traditional versions of their respective beers" that this is evidence of American influence?

                                                                            One of the problems with your second statement and some of your other statements is that you make no distinction between beers produced for the US market and beers produced for the local market.

                                                                            One area where US beer producers have sadly failed is in exporting their beers. Brooklyn Beer, for exampe, which I believe is a fairly large brewer, exports only to the UK and Denmark (at least that's where I've seen their beers).

                                                                            I used to be able to buy Goose Island Honker Ale here and liked it, but it disappeared about four years ago.

                                                                            1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                              While it's true that I myself have not spent time drinking beer in Europe, I know a ton of brewers here in the US who have spent time overseas, not to mention people who engage in a lot of beer tourism in Europe, and from every report I've heard the influence is notable.

                                                                              It seems a little strange to claim otherwise when you see things like IPA-style beers being made in France and Belgium, and the radically experimental beers of Italy, with all kinds of unusual ingredients being employed.

                                                                              Also strange to see it asserted that these are simply made for the American market. I picked up several Baladin bottles in Florence, for example, and spent a night enjoying locally-made craft beer at a very popular microbrewery there as well.

                                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                                Josh, I live in Europe. Full time. Not a tourist. I know pretty well what is going on here, just as you probably know what is going on around where you live.

                                                                                Why you would believe "reports" from tourists rather than someone who is local, is very strange to me.

                                                                                1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                  Probably because I wouldn't classify brewing industry professionals as "tourists".

                                                                                  To put it another way, plenty of Americans have absolutely no idea about the existence of craft beer. I would guess that if you picked any random person off the street in a city without much of a craft beer presence and asked them about beer in America, they'd probably talk about B/M/C.

                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                    Josh, it seems pretty clear to me that your position is an emotional one. I don't think it is useful or even proper to argue about emotional issues.

                                                                                    I will say that some time ago I had another (very short) discussion on another site with someone who claimed that US television was the best in the world and countries all over the world were buying American TV shows. I told him he was wrong. He told me I was stupid. End of discussion.

                                                                                    I appreciate that this discussion did not descend to that level.

                                                                                    1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                      I'm not sure what you think my position is. My position is that craft beer as a global phenomenon began in the US, as a reaction to bland, boring beers made by the big brewing conglomerates, and it's making its way around the globe.

                                                                                      I'm not really sure what about that one could argue with. It would require deliberately ignoring an awful lot of beer being made.

                                                                                      You seem to be implying that these beers are only made for export, but I find that hard to believe. I would need some evidence, especially since I know so many industry professionals who have spent time in Europe with professionals there.

                                                                                      1. re: Josh

                                                                                        "My position is that craft beer as a global phenomenon began in the US, as a reaction to bland, boring beers made by the big brewing conglomerates, and it's making its way around the globe."

                                                                                        The first part of this statement is correct (that it happened in the US). The second part (spreading around the world is not correct. Why?

                                                                                        Because your idea that the entire world had the same beer situation as existed in the US at that time is not true.

                                                                                        1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                          You seem immune to evidence.

                                                                                          Short list off the top of my head:

                                                                                          Schneider's series of experimental hop and barrel-aged beers
                                                                                          Baird Brewing
                                                                                          Hitachino Nest
                                                                                          Dieu du Ciel
                                                                                          Brew Dog

                                                                                          I am sure I am missing some. People like new and interesting flavors, regardless of how good the traditional local stuff is.

                                                                                          I know older people don't always feel that way, but the evidence is clear.

                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                            I have been to London three times within the past year. Having been to the Kernal and Meantime I can personally attest to the fact that these breweries are highly influenced by American beers. I spoke to employees at both places who corroborated.

                                                                                            Though when Meantime debuted in NYC last month their lineup was different by a few beers.

                                                                                            1. re: Josh

                                                                                              I had really hoped that this discussion had ended because it seems to keep going in circles and the only "evidence" offered is the perspective from one foreign country.

                                                                                              "People like new and interesting flavors, regardless of how good the traditional local stuff is."

                                                                                              What is this? It looks like an opinion to me and further more, it looks like an opinion based on a specific set of cultural factors. For example, do you think that opinion would be true about food in Japan? Or food in China? Or, even beer in Bavaria?

                                                                                              I don't know some of these "breweries". Freigeist is not a brewery, it is a line of beers made by the brewery Braustelle. Oddly enough, no mention of Freigeist is made on their list of beers:

                                                                                              Schneider? Perhaps you mean Schneider-Weisse? Looking at their site (, I can't find any "series" of "experimental hop and barrel-aged beers".

                                                                                              Baird Brewing seems to be an American living in Japan. So what?

                                                                                              This comes back to what I wrote several days ago: special products made primarily for export.

                                                                                              And since Scandinavia, Italy, France, Spain, etc. are historically non-brewing countries, they need to look abroad for inspiration.

                                                                                              BTW, I've heard that several of the Scandinavian breweries, after beginning with beers inspired by Ratebeer, are moving toward more middle of the road beers locally.

                                                                                              Since you also seem "immune to evidence", I'll say it yet again: yes, there are some breweries making "American style" beers in Europe, but mostly they export them. I read in a Beligian newspaper that de Struise exports 90 percent of their beer (not all of it the US, of course).

                                                                                              The UK comes closest to your dream: just as in the 1970s there was a "war" between industrial brewers and Real Ale brewers, today there are some new breweries (primarily in London and the big cities) that are trying to break the mold of British beers. Among young, inexperienced drinkers they are gaining some success, but, usually, in isolated cases.

                                                                                              One of my favorite pubs in London is the Royal Oak on Tabard Street. It is a simple neighborhood pub and an outlet for Harveys beers. When ever I've gone there, I've seen lots of young people, probably just like at Kernel.

                                                                                              Or try the Blackfriar after offices close. The several times I was there, I couldn't get a beer because the bar was mobbed by young people. And not a "craft" beer in sight.

                                                                                              Focus on the exceptions and you'll find whatever you're looking for, but look at the "big picture" and you'll see it quite differently.

                                                                                              But I guess that the US beer fan sites rather focus on the Craft Beer pub or Brewdog pubs.

                                                                                              1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                Well Thomas, the problem is you keep offering anecdotes and the plural of anecdote is not data. I could tell you the same thing as your last few grafs about America. Depending on the city, depending on the pub. There are many bars here in San Francisco that I could walk into, find mobbed with young people, with nary a craft beer in sight.

                                                                                                Going into specialty bottle shops and seeing beers made all over the world that are obviously influenced by American craft beer is much more persuasive to me, though I do understand that some of these may only be made for export.

                                                                                                If you check Schneider's press releases you'll see the announcements for TapX Porter-Weisse and TapX Nelson Sauvin (sold in Germany and for export):

                                                                                                Elsewhere on Schneider's site, the Aventinus Barrique:

                                                                                                My understanding about Schneider's naming convention is that "Tap X" generally refers to experimental beers they make. I found three listed on their site, I don't know how long they have been making them.

                                                                                                You may well wind up being right in the long run - craft beer is still relatively young in the USA and its popularity might wane. And it's certainly possible that countries with such long-standing traditional beer production might be immune to these newer market forces. But I did find this interesting, from Schneider's press releases, discussing the brewery owner Georg Schneider and his views on the state of the brewing industry in Germany:

                                                                                                'Besides retaining the "purity law", he mainly sees the innovative power of German brewers as the key opportunity in coming years. He welcomes the willingness of his colleagues to form international networks with other colleagues and to look beyond the horizon of their own breweries. This has been normal practice at Schneider Weisse for many years. The brewery is rightfully the market opinion leader and driving force in the wheat beer segment. For example, the Hopfen-Weisse is the result of an idea developed by his brewmaster Hans-Peter Drexler together with his American colleague Gerrit Oliver [sic].'

                                                                                                1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                  Blackfriar's is a popular after work hangout. Not sure how that's related to the overall beer scene. Here in NYC most bars in midtown are swamped right after work

                                                                                                2. re: Josh

                                                                                                  No need to be defensive: my point was not what you think, but that the other person was uncivil, while Josh is not. I thought I had made that point very clearly.

                                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                                    As I posted earlier, this "great American beer" is generally not exported, so how does it influence brewers how can't actually taste it?

                                                                                                    But, regarding television: we don't get much American TV here, but we get lots of mystery programs/detectve shows from not only UK, but other European countries as well.
                                                                                                    If you go here: this page shows the current popular programs, however, if you scroll down to the part where it says "Alle KRO Detectives", you see a list of all the programs they broadcast over the years.

                                                                                                    If you like big city detectives shows, not on that list, try Spiral (Engrenages) about a detective squad in Paris.

                                                                                                    1. re: ThomasvanDale


                                                                                                      "I had really hoped that this discussion had ended because it seems to keep going in circles and the only "evidence" offered is the perspective from one foreign country."

                                                                                                      In this format, where we cannot have a two-way conversation simultaneously, the main type of discussion will be our individual perspectives. I think there is still great value in that.

                                                                                                      However, I get the distinct feeling you really don't want the discussion to end, as evidenced by your rather long post followed by two shorter ones. To that, I would add that your posts come off as somewhat hostile in tone, and I don't believe that is your intention.

                                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                        It is indeed frustrating to have to repeat the same points over and over. And I do want the discussion to end because, as a European, I know quite well what is going on in Europe, as in an overview and many comments have simply no basis in fact - they are based on second and third hand information from your own countrymen.

                                                                                                        I admit that all I know about US beer is mostly from reading about it. If I were to make some comments about the American beer scene, I suspect most of you (who know far more about it), would either laugh at me or ask me why I am commenting on something I know so little about.

                                                                                                        But, now the shoe is on the other foot and most of you would probably feel insulted if I asked why YOU were commenting on something you know so little about.

                                                                                                        1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                          Information knows no borders. We have the internet, air travel, journalism, etc. When I see that a lot of brewers from other countries intern at Stone in San Diego to learn about how to make American-style craft beers that tells me something that no amount of repetition of the tastes of older and middle-aged Europeans can invalidate.

                                                                                                          And, I would add, that there are people here in the US who are every bit as insistent that craft beer is just a fad, a passing trend, and that nothing can assail the dominance of bland industrial lager.

                                                                                                          To say that the observations about craft beer's influence on European brewers has "no basis in fact" is kind of insulting when people have had actual conversations with actual brewers from actual breweries who say otherwise.

                                                                                                          Do you really think Brises Bon-Bons would have been made without the influence of American-style IPAs? Do you think St. Feuillien would be making collaboration beers with Green Flash from San Diego if there wasn't a lot of mutual admiration and respect between their respective brewmasters?

                                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                                            Josh, many of your comments show the same lack of knowledge about European beer that I would show about American beer. Picking isolated examples, as I have said before, is an easy way to prove any point your care to make. I could just as easily say most American have brown hair judging by photos I've seen.

                                                                                                            Your final comments above are, I am sorry to say, further proof of a lack of understanding about European beer, brewing and culture.

                                                                                                            The examples you have given are isolated examples and nothing more. Even if one or two breweries in a country with 1400 breweries were making perfect copies of American beer would prove nothing, as the number is insignificant. Of course, if you don't know much about European brewing (like the actual name of a brewery, for example), it would be hard to understand that.

                                                                                                            And, that, my friend, is why instead of telling me I am wrong about the beer scene where I have spent my life, you might better consider that maybe I know a bit better than you about what I am talking about.

                                                                                                            1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                              Ill just note that despite your insistence that american craft brewing influence in europe is an illusion, and that examples provided by americans are meaningless, take the word of your own countrymen/continentmen: In the most recent "European Beer Star Awards," ( craft brewers were awarded more than 35 medals, with Firestone Walker taking home the "Consumer's Favourite" award for the second year in a row. If winning a prestigious european beer brewing award doesnt say influence well I dont know what does.

                                                                                                              Furthermore, many european breweries are eyeing american breweries for purchase (Like Duvel has with Boulevard) not to take advantage of the american market which is already established but to be on the forefront of the LOCAL EUROPEAN market and other international markets. The owners of Duvel was quoted in the NY Times as saying "...[H]ere in Europe...consumers are getting more and more interested in American craft beers....with this partnership, we will be able to develop the taste for those beers more substantially here [in Europe] and in other countries."

                                                                                                              And according to an IBISWorld financial analysis, craft beer imports are expected to grow 35.2% per year for the next five years. Id say thats significant growth not just weirdos and tourists. European brewers would be fools not to explore their business options when it comes to american style or influenced craft beer as a selling point.

                                                                                                              And does anyone know is Stone is still planning to build a brewery in Germany? If so, talk about quintessential american craft beer in the heart of Bavaria...

                                                                                                              Theres lots more evidence then this and most of it is straight from the mouth of europeans in the industry and not americans. does that still mean nothing to you?

                                                                                                              1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                I dunno man. What could the owner of Duvel possibly know about beer in Europe?


                                                                                                                1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                  Rex, I've heard of this event and, to be honest, know very little about it. But, looking at the sponsors and their interests, I think this should tell you something:

                                                                                                                  -the global market leader for processing and trading hops
                                                                                                                  -a renowned seed grower and distributor of brewing barleys
                                                                                                                  - the world's showcase exhibition for the drinks and liquid food industry in Munich
                                                                                                                  - one of the world's leading suppliers of drink dispensing equipment
                                                                                                                  - the gathering of the European beverage industry in Nürnberg
                                                                                                                  - Rastal, a world leader in the design, production and decoration of drinking glasses

                                                                                                                  Then looking at some of the winners: European Style Lager (a brewery in Namibia), Bohemian Style Schwartzbier (Australia). I know several of the Belgian and German breweries, and from their awards, I would guess this is the sort of event where if you enter, you win. Brouwerij de Ryck would be a good example of this.

                                                                                                                  Duvel already had a brewery in the US called Ommigang. That brewery produced Belgian-style beers for the US market. I didn't know that they have purchased another brewery in the US. The newspaper quote seems to me to be good business sense. Moortgat is a large distributor of beer in my country. When I see Boulevard in a local store, I'll let you know.

                                                                                                                  My whole point all along has been that there are indeed isolated examples where US-style beer is available in Europe. However, to say that it is influential or spreading is, in my view, wishful thinking.

                                                                                                                  And, on that note, I will end my participation in this discussion.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                                    I'm not familiar with the awards you're discussing, but I agree that often these types of awards are less than impartial.

                                                                                                                    If you read the business stories, it would seem that Duvel/Moortgat sees great opportunities to grow their business in the US, and indeed, they have said that they are patiently looking for a few key producers to purchase. They are playing the long game, and are not in a hurry. Some good candidates for acquisition should come along in coming years as early craft brewers approach retirement age.

                                                                                                              2. re: Josh

                                                                                                                "Information knows no borders. We have the internet, air travel, journalism, etc. "

                                                                                                                Let me guess: all your information comes from? American sources.

                                                                                                                "When I see that a lot of brewers from other countries intern at Stone in San Diego to learn about how to make American-style craft beers.."

                                                                                                                Oh, no. Now my fiction meter has run off the scale. I know several brewers in Europe who do make American style beers and how many came to the US to learn how? Zero.

                                                                                                                "To say that the observations about craft beer's influence on European brewers has "no basis in fact" is kind of insulting when people have had actual conversations with actual brewers from actual breweries who say otherwise."

                                                                                                                Actual brewers? For example?

                                                                                                                I know (via the Internet) an American from the west coast US who lives in Bavaria (because of work). He loves US hopped beer. By your belief, it shouldn't really be a problem for him to find a US-influenced brewer to supply his needs. But, he has to resort to brewing the beer himself. Why?

                                                                                                                1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                                  I honestly couldn't care less about your fiction meter. Stone's internship program is a reality, and real brewers participate in it.

                                                                                                                  As for actual brewers, I have personally talked to BrewDog's brewer, a Japanese brewer who interned at Stone, and two brewers from Bockor. People I know from the industry have talked to many others.

                                                                                                                  I don't know how you can surmise that all my sources are American when I just quoted to you from Schneider's own press releases.

                                                                                                  2. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                    Just because there are some Jingoistic Americans does not mean we all are.

                                                                                                    1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                                      most american tv is garbage. and Im an american. and at the same rate theres plenty of great american beer that is without doubt influencing plenty of non-american brewers. we wouldnt want the beer equivalent of Bay Watch influencing how European beer makers make their beer. believe me... and thankgoodness that hasnt seemed to happen (even if the Germans do seem to have an inexplicable fascination with the actual program). But the European version of Cheers? MASH? All in the Family? (Im dating myself...) would be just great. So carry on. And tell your British friends to send more good BBC programming over here. Americans are eating that up more and more than ever. And yes that is a metaphor too...

                                                                                                      1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                        Actually, I'd like to try that beer equivalent of Bay Watch. I wonder how it could be described...

                                                                                    2. re: Josh

                                                                                      Don't know a thing about BrewDog, never had one of their beers that I know of. But it looks like they've produced some respectable beers, and there's a few collaborations with Mikeller in Europe and Three Floyds in the U.S., excellent brewers. Also looks like BrewDog gets their share of ratings love from tasting forums: Doing a search on RateBeer finds alot of 90's and a few 100 scores. Also see that they raised equity through an online crowd-funding type platform which is interesting.

                                                                                2. re: ThomasvanDale

                                                                                  I disagree; Brewdog is clearly not brewing for beer rating, and a quick perusal of their ratings at the two entities you mention will verify that. Brewing for rating is not pushing the margins, in most cases. Brewdog's entire ethos has been "extreme brewing", and though in a few cases that might result in a highly rated beer, most of the time it ends up with lowly to average rated beers with a very high variability in rating.

                                                                                  I'm pretty much with Josh on Paradox - it's a nice imperial stout. Hardly extreme for that style, which is sort of paradoxical when you consider Brewdog made it. :) I generally have avoided their beers, though - more due to expense than any other reason.

                                                            2. re: jpc8015

                                                              Not sure if Ruthless Rye is "highly hopped"
                                                     It's a rye IPA that's quite dry, i.e. flavor-wise it seems similar.

                                                              But personally I felt it didn't lose anything after a year in the bottle ? Actually improved if anything. Not saying that would happen in every case...

                                                              1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                                                When I first had a six-pack of Ruthless, it left me wondering "Where's Ruth?"
                                                                But I don't recall it being unusually hoppy.

                                                            3. I suppose if you aged it for two years and it's still good, well, then that's proof that the Terroirists have won.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. Plot Thickens: Just opened an Odell Myrcennary Double IPA... brew date (or drink-by, not sure) is 3-29-2013. So this thing is at least 1 year old.

                                                                Stored in a dark basement, reasonably cool conditions.

                                                                Verdict: This beer is fantastic... you can still taste the sharpness of the hops with that moderate evolving bitter-sweetness. Nothing flat or foul at all...swirl and decant it a bit and it really opens up.