I think Punk IPA is a perfectly fine IPA. Not super exciting but not boring either. I will gladly drink it over any Lager 90% of the time.
I think they very explicitly based their early beers on Sierra Nevada, as in an attempt to make that. I don’t know that the US style hoppy IPAs were particularly worse over here, they were a dreadful parody of themselves in the first place. A race to see who could make the most ludicrously strong and bitter beer.
Yes and that misses the essential point of a good IPA. It should be refreshing and hoppy, easy to drink not a fight over flavours.
I think you are right. There have been repeated changes to the standard. A few years back it barred a really broad swath of outside investment above 10% ownership.
The intent was apparently to crib from Founders in an attempt to specifically compete with Founders.
At the time the brands were locked in a rivalry for the number 2 spot for best selling IPA in the US and Founders had (and still has) the single top selling craft package (not Craft by BA standards by that time) nation wide having introduced the first 15 pack can some time before.
Boston Beer was engaged in an expansion of Rebel IPA into a full IPA focused sub brand in an attempt to take the catagory. Branding wise they had color coded all Rebel products red, Sam Adam’s products Blue. This expansion was at the time failing bad, leading to over $2 billion dollars in sales loses to Boston Beer.
The Anytime IPA was launched as the only green package in the Rebel line. They clearly attempted to clone the recipe for All Day (and did a poor job of it).
They sent their brand and wholesaler reps out to target All Day Draft lines. Set up displays of Anytime right next to Founders displays, mimicked the POS and display approach. And their wholesaler here was attempting to pay off premise accounts to replace Founders facings with Anytime.
Barring the bribery this is all legal, and to a certain extent standard. But that closely cloning and targeting a smaller company’s product is controversial. It’s a Macro beer approach often used to destroy smaller brands. And in particular closely copying the liquid is really bad form.
The approach here is not to garner customers by causing brand confusion, as that’ll get you sued. But to press a smaller competitor out by offering an obvious direct alternative from a more recognizable brand. And to expend money on the back end to press distribution in a way that excludes that brand.
This is the issue with the BA’s standards. They aren’t neccisarily lax. When it was stricter it hampered a lot of breweries growth. I’ve worked with breweries that bounced in and out of “craft” based on how they structured their wholly self owned business. And the old strict limits on investment meant the only way to expand for a lot of brands was to load up debt.
Frankly I think even the current limit and “any alcohol company that isn’t a craft brewer” is still an issue. Cause there’s a huge difference between getting investment or being bought by a small liquor group, or closely held large brewery. And getting involved with Inbev. The issue is particular conglomerates. And private equity and vulture capital are probably just as dangerous.
The issue is that they keep moving the goal post for Boston Beer, and won’t budge for anyone else. Boston Beer, makers of high end craft product Twisted Tea.
Boston Beer increasingly has the structure of the sort of companies the BA was formed to push back on. And they use macro beer sales tactics to undermine other small and craft brands. They’ve repeatedly been fined for anti-competitive actions and regulatory violations. And their distributor network is straight nasty in many places. Their distributor here is rumored to be under federal investigation and have been regularly and heavily fined for illegal sales tactics like buying access, and coordinated efforts to damage other brands products.
They’re a Turd in the pool. If the goal is to prevent a certain kind of business from using “craft” or "independent, and to coordinate collectively to protect smaller brands from those sorts of business. Boston Beer is basically a fox in the hen house.
Oh they absolutely were.
But when that style was the thing attempts to mimic them in Europe were a lot less common. There’s a much bigger discrepancy with the newer style.
The central issue boils down to hops. The west coast style of American IPA that used to be the thing is very, very reliant on particular hop varieties. And hops grown in the Pacific Northwest. Which were not generally available outside of the US.
Similar issue is happening with the newer styles.
Basically if you do everything by the book with these beers. But use traditional European hop strains they taste awful.
The fruitier, lighter ipas are a lot less regional in their hop sourcing though. A lot of that was driven initially by hop farms starting up in other regions of the country and the realization that even a skunky, bong water hop isn’t as bitter and bongy when you grow it in New England or Michigan. And especially with the NE IPAs there’s an increasing trend towards Australian, African, Asian and some harder to come by German varieties.
So you have expanding selection of varieties right now along with a much more globalized supply line. A European brewer can get hops from Oregon or Vermont or Tasmania today.
So it’s more of a catch-up on technique. Even most American breweries that step into the hazy styles fuck it up royally. And European craft started much later, and is largely stuck on mimicking the US.
There’s already good craft over there that doesn’t bother. It’s probably only a matter of time before everyone is crazy for Italian IPAs. Cause sadly it’s always IPAs.
To make things better, Yaldi is a sort of exclamation in Scotland meaning something like Yee-haw! And Brewdog is a Scottish company. I may be giving away inside secrets, so if it turns out I’ve been poisoned, avenge me my brothers and sisters.
Unless I was poisoned with Brewdog beers, which was the plan all along, so stand down.
The reason why US style IPAs never really caught on in Europe is because they’re not very nice to drink. I’m in Belgium, so I’m kinda spoiled for choice, but even here we remember what an IPA is supposed to be, and John Martin produces one which is historically accurate, and is actually drinkable without losing the enamel off your teeth.
I’m not going to address what you say about craft brewing in Europe, because you clearly have no idea what you’re on about, so let’s leave it at that .
CORRECTION: its not an Establishment IPA, its an Anti - Establishment IPA
I wouldn’t exactly call a company with branches in several countries a microbrewery. But they did start as one. And they’re Scottish. And it seems like they’ve kept some of the ethos which is awesome.
They did. Especially the last decade.
Thing is they’ve been hard to get outside the US. Many of them have short shelf lives, and they don’t ship well. Meanwhile the desirable beers have typically come from smaller breweries that do not have access or resources for export. And there are logistic and regulatory issues that make it difficult. You guys mostly use entirely different draft systems than we do. Almost all European beer is pasteurized, very little American craft is. The distribution and legal framework is entirely different.
But the biggest driver in tourism and travel the last 15 years has been food and beverage. People no longer travel to go on sight seeing tours and what have. They travel to eat and drink, and especially to eat and drink things you can’t get anywhere else.
American tourism boomed pretty big through the same time period exposing a hell of a lot of Europeans to our craft beer. And these days European tourists traveling specifically to visit breweries is a major portion of the tourism business in a lot of regions (including my neighborhood).
The other one is that some craft brands grew large enough to get involved with export, and looking for growth expanded into Europe.
There are a couple of small companies around here who specialize in buying American craft at retail, then flying it to Europe for sale to free pubs. And my own company has been getting pressure to turn our import operation into and export operation. As our German partners want to offer American craft.
More over a really big thing in the business right now is independent/non-big 3 breweries from Europe investing in or outright buying American craft breweries. The sort of big regional monopolies that have avoided being swallowed by InBev or Miller/Coors are seeking to compete by getting in on the craft boom. A lot of the time what they’re after is export rights. So for example a big Spanish company had purchased 10% of Founders allowing Founders to expand rapidly. What they got in exchange was sending Founders to Europe. They now wholly own Founders.
In every case I’ve heard of it’s the IPAs these people are after. And there is hardly a European craft brewery that doesn’t brew an IPA. And they aren’t old school British IPAs.
On the big beer end Heineken spent $2b on Lagunitas. The number 1 IPA brand in the US, and a pretty skunky one. And they promptly started building breweries and brew pubs in Europe.
As far as Belgium goes. Even Delirium Tremens makes an IPA. It’s a farmhouse style IPA, which is an American style of IPA using Belgian yeast. My company distributes IPAs in the American mold from Germany, Ireland, Japan, Belgium, France, The Netherlands. All attempting to get in on some serious demand, due the low supply of American craft in Europe.
I work in the business. I’m paid to know what I’m on about.
You remember what a traditional British IPA is supposed to be.
The American IPA aren’t that. And aren’t supposed to be that. Never were.
I do not like IPAs on the whole. The original bong water approach to the American style is perhaps my least favorite form of alcohol, and were generally speaking poorly brewed and poorly conceived.
But things change. New things happen.
With the Mudshark on this one! I’ve been to the UK a LOT since April 2016, and in many pubs this is the most palatable beer on draught. Perfectly fine, but I’m always looking for something hoppier and more bitter. Fullers pubs seem to have good selections, but more and more indy neighborhood brewpubs are popping up all over. In Brighton, the beer scene is fantastic! Go to the Hand in Hand in Kemtptown. Drink everything they have, it’s all brewed on-site, upstairs, and gravity-fed to the taps
That’s punk, no?
Although, i do like the idea of Intellectual Property Ale…
This seems so twisted. If I was in Europe, the last beer I’d want is bloody imported American beer. Talk about coal to Newcastle!
There’re some really good beer collaborations. I like Beer Friends Forever by Modern Times and Pizza Port. I walked that through Trader Joe’s one night and had the cashier scoff and mock “BFF” in a can. I just wish she would have appreciated the intent.
By the way, when will Avery, or any craft brewer for that matter, ever get back to the Black IPA.
Sounds like capitalism.
Capitalist brewers eventually became Budweiser-adjacent and brew shitty beer…
Okay, my point is venture capitalists fuck everything up. And they suck.
I think what’s backwards is Europe adopting the craft model at all. American craft started as an attempt to emulate the sort of smaller, regionally bound and very old school breweries Europe had in spades.
But a couple things happened, first Europe got hit by consolidation hard. The big three started buying up regional brands and shutting them down entirely, or shifted production to central plants and cutting costs hard. Killing quality. So for example.
Is now owned by Heineken and barely resembles what you remember.
The other end of it is that direct ownership of bars by alcohol producers in Europe has come to a head. Especially as things have consolidated. There are whole sections of some countries where you’re options are effectively Budweiser and whatever brand owns the entire town you’re in. Better cases it’s this bar has this brands stack of products, plus bud. While that bar over there has the other guys stack of products plus bud.
So there’s been a massive rise in “free pubs” and independent bars. In the recent past these were really, really difficult to get going. Cause the big companies simply wouldn’t supply them with alcohol, pressing them out and eventually taking them over. Craft and imports offered a solution to that problem.
At the same time you have the American craft boom. Many of the top rated and best regarded beers in the world are now American beers. California alone has nearly as many breweries as Germany. And as beer sales, especially macro beers, have fallen in Europe and the US the major growth sector has been craft (especially in the US). Import sales in the US have begun to taper off hard, many of those smaller regional brands look to the independent bars as a solution, and the independent scene looks to the American craft scene as a very successful model to emulate.
This is a particularly big concern in the UK (hence Brewdog), as well as traditionally not so beer focused countries like France, Spain and Italy. But it’s happening in Belgium and it’s surrounds as well. And seems to be kicking up a lot in Germany, since as many breweries as Germany has they’re real hard on the the brewery owns the bar thing. And a lot of their major breweries are state owned. So it’s not a terribly competitive market.
The concept of craft is a bit… vague in Europe. All those smaller, traditional brands that would check all the boxes in the US. That have managed to stay out of Inbev’s clutches. They don’t count. The idea seems very tied to feeding into that independent system, open distribution. And for the most part breweries described that way are fairly young, and emulate the business model of American craft breweries. If not the beer.
Probably never. It’s a dead product catagory. Every brewery I’ve seen try it in the last 4 years lost a shit ton of money in the attempt. Selling beer below cost just to get rid of it.
And Avery is no longer Craft with a capital C. They very nearly went under about 3 years back. Accepted a 30% buyout by Mahou-San Miguel, the Spanish beer group that recently bought out Founders. That puts them right above the formal cut off.
I haven’t heard much about how Avery is doing since. They pulled distribution out of a lot of states in the aftermath. But Founders has been notably less stupid since Mahou took them over, their staff seem relieved. Apparently pay better now too.
But I don’t see Avery in particular trying to bring back a style as hard to push as black IPA. That’s the sort of thing that Mahou has stopped Founders from doing recently.
I recently had one of those 9 percent beers, Wrong decision on my part.
voodoo ranger, imperial ipa, iirc
I prefer porters, though IPAs are my goto beer simply because porters are uncommon.
Now that you mention it, the Avery black IPA was flat compared to Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous IPA that surpassed everything I had had. Funny, that Stone tried to replace it with a $1/oz. special, Stygian Descent–not my black IPA. After hearing a server at Stone share that the company had opened a brewery in Berlin, I laughed out loud. I spent a fair amount of time in Germany drinking Kolsch, Weisse and Pils. Then I was like, what the hell, the Germans just might be waking up to flavor, diversity and color. Unfortunately, I am expecting the pandemic to reduce the diversity we have come to enjoy. If I can ever get across the border to Tijuana again in the near future, I will definitely stop in to see if Playami is still open and serving the Border Psycho Hoptamistic Black IPA at 55 pesos/pint.