Can you tell a brewer by his beer?
It’s a complicated question. Easy when you love everything from a company — Ballast Point can do no wrong with me. Even their worst (the smoked lager?) tastes like a slight over-reach from their HopMaster Colby Chandler. I love Firestone Walker. I don’t love some of their strongest, stoutest, but I can tell that Parabola (a Russian imperial stout) is excellent, even if I only want a small cupful. And there seems to be something about balanced sweetness to most of their beers. I had some Flower Power IPA and Country Pumpkin from Ithaca Beer Company and even though I don’t love pumpkins, I feel like I’ve learned enough that I will enjoy their next beer.
So what happened this weekend? I bought a new-looking beer at BevMo here, Ale Des Dieux. I was excited to try this “Biere de Garde,” a Belgian-y 9% in a wine bottle. I tried a little, logged into my untappd account (enosarris) to voice my complaint at the mediocre beer (it didn’t choose any taste vector enough, but wasn’t so well balanced that you could laud it for drinkability) and discovered… it was a Hermitage beer. Hermitage, also known as Single Hop, also known as Tied House. Now this is a brewery I know I don’t like. I haven’t tried a beer I like from them and I’ve tried in the double-digits now The Ale of the Imp might be the worst beer I’ve ever had.
I don’t like to talk trash on people that are obviously trying hard. But for some reason (corporate partnership?) my local BevMo has dedicated a whole corner to beers by these guys, and none of them have been any good. Since I’ve tried everything in that BevMo, I’m less likely to go back unless they have new beers, and not new beers from Hermitage.
So hopefully they’ll cut back on the offerings in that department, and maybe create a rotating corner of new beers — that would be something. They could see how quickly each new beer sells and see which ones are keepers. That would serve them better, I’m guessing. It would certainly serve me better.