ON NOTICE! Brewery Edition

3 Jan

Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of ON NOTICE!  The idea here is a really bastardized and far more serious version of what Stephen Colbert does on his television program.  We’ll look at people, places, things, organizations, or whatever needs to be documented to let you know who’s peddling bullshit.  This week, we’ll look at a few breweries that need to get their act together and quit skating by.  All too often people fall into traps with some blind devotion to a brewery that really just wants to get as much of your money as possible.  I’ve mentioned a few of these companies before, and not in a particularly flattering light.  While this isn’t intended necessarily to accomplish anything, perhaps I can help you make more informed choices for your beer purchasing dollar.  We’ll get right down to it and work our way from five to the number one.

5.  Fort Collins Brewery – Fort Collins, CO: 

The beer scene in the state of Colorado is one that I’m pretty jealous of.  While their distribution can vary, (No Lagunitas!) a few good friends live out that way and have brought back some really amazing stuff.  This company is not an example of that.  I had the (dis)pleasure of buying one of their sampler packs, which featured eight different styles.   Sad to say not one of them really justified the purchase at all.  Rocky Mountain IPA is a decent choice, but there are so many existing session IPAs that are light years better than this one.  Their chocolate stout tasted like black olives.  The “limited release” of the sampler was a pomegranate wheat so forgettable, I had to go back and check what I had written down.  Fort Collins, if you were a brewery from like, West Virginia, or perhaps Arkansas or something, this would be fine.  Instead, you come from the land of beer giants, and you are on notice for getting lost in the shuffle.

4.  Stone Brewing Company – Escondito, CA:  

Once again, I am here to try and cut this brewery down a peg or two.  Now, I want to preface, this is not an condemnation that their beer is bad.  While they may have been the producers of the worst beer I’ve had all year, they generally concoct a mighty fine brew.  My beef is your holier-than-thou attitude regarding your beer.  I get that you need to act like you have the best beer in the world. There’s bravery in the bravado.  Some of your beers HAVE been named the best in the world.  But do you have to be dicks about it?  I mean, the World Beer Cup hasn’t given you guys anything since 2006.  MEANWHILE IN PASO ROBLES, Firestone Walker Fine Ales continues to clean up, including mulitple Champion Brewery awards.  You’re on notice to shut up with the tough talk until you can conquer your own backyard, let alone the rest of the country.

3.  Dundee Brewing Company- Rochester, NY:

These next three all leave us in the northeastern United States, and this one is about four hours west of where I live.  Dundee Brewing company was one of the first breweries I was concious of, since my mom happened to enjoy their flagship brew “Honey Brown.”  I was a fan of Honey Brown myself, and decided to try the rest of their stuff again through a series of sampler packs.  My friend just brought one over last night, and is partly responsible for the creation of this article.  Wow, what a bunch of shit this was.  The “English-Style Ale” might be the worst name for a beer, maybe ever?  Call it anything else.  The IPA was nothing to write home about.  The Nut Brown was disappointing for a company that makes such a good brown ale otherwise.  The Porter was maybe the worst one of the batch.  Watery, lacking in flavor, and just generally uninspiring.  Dundee claims they’re the “best beer you’ve never had.”  I have had these beers, and you can do so much better.  Dundee you are on notice for lying to everyone, but also for changing the original packaging for Honey Brown.

2. Saranac/Matt Brewing Company – Utica, NY: 

I was discussing Saranac the other day with a few friends, and we reached a conclusion.  I don’t know of any other brewery that is so satisfied by releasing such mediocre beer year in and year out.  There is no fooling yourself.  Nothing is better than average from Saranac.  I was down on them for a long time, and I am almost surprising myself that they’re not number one on this list.  Saranac Pale ale is OK.  The IPA is OK.  The dozens of seasonal offerings they make are OK.  They make such a wide variety of beer, but this is one situation where quality is abandoned for quantity.  I hate to be too down on them, since they are an Upstate New York company, and represent the “spirit of the Adirondacks,” or whatever garbage they spew when trying to get me to buy beer before I go fishing.   Saranac/Matt Brewing, you are on notice for producing way more shit than reasonably consumable.  Refocus on making, I don’t know, a solid six beers instead of like 13211234 seasonal batches that all fall short of their goals.

1.  Magic Hat Brewing Company – Burlington, VT:  , 

Ah yes, Magic Hat.  Maker of brightly packaged, neo-college-hippy lifestyle themed beer that I think has it’s biggest following with people under the legal drinking age in this country.  I admit, I was not immune to this.  I used to think they were fucking awesome.  I’d collect the bottle caps with the cute little sayings on the inside, and beg my older friends to get me the new super sweet HALLOWEENZ sampler pack from the grocery store.  Times have changed.  We can start with the identity crisis they face, where while barely a craft brewery anymore, are they even a micro brew?  Magic Hat distributes with the best of them, and their merchandise and store displays are as attractive as ever.  I urge all of you, please do not buy this beer.  There are so many other options.  #9 is nothing special, and you’re lying to yourself if you think anything seasonal they make is worth your money.  Just because a beer doesn’t have a skeleton wearing sunglasses in a shea’s lounge next to a display of HUNDREDS of cases of the same garbage does not mean it is any less cool to drink it.  This brewery is likely number one in coveted “Brands that 18 year-olds beg their parents to buy so they can steal” demographic.  Magic Hat is far from the best brewery in Vermont, not to mention the crowded northeast beer scene.  Magic Hat, you are on notice for perpetuating the same tired neo-college-hippy idea that died about thirty years ago.  That, and your beer sucks too.

Well that’s it for the first edition of ON NOTICE! Join us sometime in the future for another installment.  If you have an idea for a topic, please feel free to leave it in the comments section for us.  As always, imbibe responsibly.

4 Responses to “ON NOTICE! Brewery Edition”

  1. Marissa January 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Magic Hat is terrible

  2. jan January 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    can butternuts make the extended list?

    • Andee January 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      yeah Butternuts is in line. I would have done six, but it’s a random number to list.


  1. A Message to the Brewery That Made Me Defend Magic Hat: Please Stop | Andrew Marshall - May 22, 2013

    […] of the first notable micro brews to market their beer in such a way is, yes, Magic Hat. While certainly no Magic Hat apologist, they certainly have themselves a dedicated following of people who just simply do not care about […]

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