Last night I was at a Charlotte watering hole I frequent from time to time and decided to have a beer from a NC brewery which has only recently started brewing. They are relatively small as a brewery, but have been making wine for quite some time. The beer was their stout and I’m sorry to say while it wasn’t undrinkable and it had no particular sanitation or infection issues, it was a lousy example of a stout. It was acidic and borderline sour and the finish was so dry and acidic it was just not a pleasure to consume. About half-way through I ordered a different beer and let them take that one back to have a tour of the city’s sewage system.
I don’t know why anyone would make styles they have little knowledge about and then on top of that why release something subpar. I realize there is time and money in the brew, but you only get one chance with some people and if they hate it, they will not be back. I know I had a Pale Ale from this particular brewery before and it was tasty, so they have some skills. Whatever they did wrong on this stout, the biggest no-no they did was to distribute the beer. So let’s say you have $1K in the batch as a small brewery. You can put it out on the market and turn off hundreds of customers or tweak it in-house to improve or if nothing else pour it out. I was once on a bus ride with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head and they had something go wrong with a batch and that is exactly what they did with it, made it drain cleaner. It just isn’t worth losing customers because you feel you need to get product out the door.
I’ll try beer from this particular small brewery again, but after last nights experience probably only a taster of a beer until I know it’s good enough to drink.