Oberon blows 312 out of the water and it comes out today
OT - Craft beer sadness
I don't mind Oberon, but I prefer 312 because it's more beer-tasting and less citrusy. I don't like Leinie's Summer Shandy either... to citrus tasting for me
I will readily drink it because it is priced the same as Bud Light and Miller, but 312 is still a pretty generic wheat beer. The only things Goose Island has been doing recently that set them apart from the big boys are the craft Matilda's and Bourbon County Stout's, and I really hope they don't lose.
I agree with this. 312 is is good, but there is nothing special about it. My friend and I will regularly kill a mini-keg of Oberon in a night, though.
I also prefer Oberon, but maybe that's just some of my Michigan homerism. It was one of the first craft brews I tried on tap (craft beer, particularly on tap, was/is hard to come by for 17 year olds.)
But Summer Shandy - god that stuff is awful. If I got to a party and was offered only the choice of that or Natural Ice...I would have to think about it.
I would take the Natty Ice for sure. Summer Shandy tastes like what I imagine Lemon Pine Sol would taste like, truly disgusting. Definitely on the Oberon bandwagon, it has phenomenal taste for the price.
I am not defending summer shandy because I don't like it very much. but I don't think its fair to compare a shandy to any other beer besides other shandys. because a shandy is just a mixed drink using beer instead of liquor. its half lemonade half beer. on super hot summer days it is nice to mix my own shandy but the bottled stuff is like country made lemonade and terrible beer.
I participated in a keg race with that vile wanna be craft beer. Uhh...
Trust me, I celebrate and partake in celebrating Oberon Day but I think it is hands down the most overrated beer out there. I'll drink 4-5 per spring/summer and then move on to something else that is lighter -- like Hendrick's and club soda with a lime. Or a lighter IPA. Oberon just doesn't do it for me on a 90 degree, humid day.
I don't always drink beer (that's a lie), but when I do, I prefer Blue Moon over 312 and Oberon.
then that you don't drink beer much...
Since I'm in college, I actually drink more beer than anyone probably should. The problem is that most of the beer I drink is along the lines of Keystone and Busch.
I also consume a lot of crappy beer, but I drink 40s of Mickey's. Cheap and economical.
Also, being a Kalamazoo native and resident, I've gotta show my love for Oberon
Oberon and 312 aren't really comparable beers, but both are good. As Goose Island states on thier menu, 312 is a "session beer" for extended drinking, much like a bud light or miller light but with actual flavor and taste.
Green Line is a good beer if you really like pale ales, otherwise I find most people don't care for it much. I enjoy it on tap whenever I find it.
Three Flyod's is where it's at though for Chicagoland breweries. Gumball Head is obviously good, Artic Panzer Wolf if you can find it is really good and Pride and Joy is really really good. I heard a rumor its on tap at Toons in Southport, gotta check it out.
I just had my first Green Line this weekend and I thought it was awesome. I'm a big fan of Pale Ales, so it's definitely the kind of beer I like.
And I couldn't agree more about Three Floyds. They have a really good selection of beers. I was talking with some friends about making the trip to Indiana to visit the brewery. Problem is finding a sober driver to get us home.
Make sure you get there early. I went down there a couple of months ago on a random saturday. We arrived around 1:30 I'd say and it was already at capacity so we had to wait outside for a table. It wasn't a long wait, maybe 20 mins, and definitely worth it. I'd skip the tour though (unless you've never been on a brewery tour) and just sample the beverages. Place was small, but awesome and the staff was great.
They also currently have a chef who was the chef de cuisine at Blackbird, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago. The food is, as one foodie board poster put it, "much better than it needs to be at a brewpub."
Sam Adams is still out there protecting us Americans from evil foreign beer owners.
They better not fuck up their Belgian Pale Ales. Also, they better keep their hands off the "extreme" ales like Bourbon County.
If they bought GI with the intent of maximizing distribution for 312 and Honkers, I think this is actually a good move, provided the rest of the brewery see some of the extra revenue and it isn't all going to theme parks and making an extra Natty Light.
The brewmaster Greg Hall is also stepping down. Hopefully they're promoting from within and this doesn't change things much, because the last few years they really expanded their lineup and were doing a lot of interesting beers.
One upshot: I'd guess there's a good chance this could mean the return of the Nut Brown and Oatmeal Stout, which they had stopped brewing because it didn't sell as well as some of the others and they were trying to find more capacity anywhere they could, so they ended up cutting beers. That should no longer be a problem with AB owning it.
Well that's what I get for not reading the article. Yes, hopefully from within; I was at their Clybourn Brewpub two weeks ago and everyone seemed really excited about everything they're doing (granted those are relatively low level employees).
Hopefully AB sticks to distribution and maybe some economy of scale stuff and leaves GI relatively autonomous.
They're apparently leaving GI's management in place (John Hall will still be the CEO/president/whatever position) so it sounds like they don't really want to change much. Goose was actively looking for more investment because they are at their limits for capacity (hence cutting two beers, now are having some beer contract brewed, etc.) and I'd guess AB knows they obviously have the brewing capacity and money to let them expand as much and as fast as the market allows.
Edit: The new Brewmaster is a promotion from within, he has been their Head Brewer for the last year after spending 5 years at the same job at Deschutes (which is a great brewery as well).
I wouldn't worry too much about it. Redhook and Widmer, two Pacific Northwest brands, haven't changed significantly since AB took them over.
I did see that their brewmaster is stepping down, that may lead to the most change.
This might, in fact, be a good change... AB has the ability to greatly expand Goose Island's distribution network.
There's a reason Green Line is cheaper. That's probably the only way they could sell it.
It was new to me too the last time I was back in Chicago but the server flat out told me "No" when I asked for one. He brought me a Matilda instead. I asked for a taster still and I must say Green Line was one of the most tasteless swill I've ever had.
At least AB has been expanding past pilsners since they were bought out by InBev.
It isn't that bad, but I would order a Sierra Nevada over it if I were craving a pale ale.
wow you can tell michigan had a good weekend when 2/3 posts i have read on a monday morning are alochol related.
I don't know how you can call Green Line "tasteless swill" but to each his own. Personally, I think it's a decent brew. Matilda is probably their finest product and 312 is good but not great. Goose Island does put out very good beer; here's to hoping that continues.
....was never a big fan of Goose Island and would still prefer a Bells Oberon any day.
But, my new favorite brew is from the New Holland Brewery.....Dragon's Milk Dark Ale.........10% alc, aged in oak barrels and delicious..........give it a try if you get the chance, good stuff.
and I agree that Dragon's Milk is unbelievably good. One of my favorites. New Holland puts out some very, very good beer. Any IPA fans out there? I just tried Three Floyds IPA a few weeks back and was blown away. Very good stuff.
This has been my drink of choice all winter. Although I can't see it being too enjoyable on a hot summer day haha.
I tried the Dragon's Milk at Ashley's about a year and a half ago. Absolutely fantastic.
What usually happens when Big Beer buys Little Beer? Anyone?
I'd expect Anheuser Busch to simultaneously ramp up advertising, bring THE BRAND to every corner of the U.S., and water down the product to cut costs. Starving out local suppliers would be part of the process. (Aside: I always imagine an Ohio State MBA Excel jockey behind maneuvers like that.)
That's what happened when 7Up/Dr. Pepper bought Vernors.
Once upon a time, Dr. Vernor's Ginger Ale was barrel aged 3 years for that fantastic sneeze and cough effect.
In other beer news: The food town around the corner from here had a Frankenmuth Brewing Co 12 pack sampler in store, so I guess FBC is distributing now, which makes me a happy camper.
Unfortunately what makes microbrews great is in the name: 'micro'. From a manufacturing standpoint, It's their small scale that allows them to make such high quality, delicious craft brews. IMO, we've seen Bell's stuff take a bath from a quality perspective (let's be honest, Oberon is a SHELL of what it used to be. That crap they put out last summer? Garbage) since they've expanded. My greatest fear, living in downtown Grand Rapids, is what will happen to Founders now that they're expanding. I can't imagine this move will be a positive one for Goose Island. It will definitely increase their brand, but I don't think it will reflect positively on their quality.
That being said, Bourbon County is just a fucking great barrel-aged stout. I hope their short run, tier 2-3 beers stay classy (Sophie, BC, Matilda, etc). Never much cared for their tier-one stuff.
i agree. but what did you think about this year's hopslam? i thought it was real good. i think it actually got better this year.
I liked it. I've only enjoyed it the past two years, so I don't really have a solid base to compare it on. That said, I'm spoiled by Founders' Double Trouble, which I prefer. Love those double, triple IPA's, though.
If you haven't, try Founders' Devil Dancer. That guy'll put some hair on your chest.
Hopslam was great -- loved it. I also liked Founder's Double Trouble as well, really close for me on those two.
Man I love that Red's Rye. P.A.
Okay, thank you- after reading your comment, I feel a little better in my opinion that Oberon just doesn't taste like it used to/as good as it used to back in, say, 2001 or so, or at least it didn't last year.
There's nothing technically that prevents a mass-produced beer from being great. The brewers at A-B are technically extremely good brewers. The irony is that you have to be a damn good brewer to make something as flavorless as Budweiser. Beers with more flavor hide mistakes better than beers with less flavor, and when you're brewing something with as little flavor as Bud or its equivalent there isn't any room to hide your mistakes.
What does prevent mass-produced beer from being great is management. Management chooses to use crappy recipes, because that's their market wants. Management chooses to use lots of corn or rice and to wave a handful of hop cones in the general direction of the brewery to save costs. Management chooses to spend the money they save on marketing.
To show an example of the difference a recipe and some half-way decent ingredients can make, look at the history of Sam Adams. (Not my favorite beer, but if you can catch one in good shape it's a decent beer, and it was one of the first widely available decent American beers since Prohibition.) Originally Sam Adams (or at least a lot of it) was done through contract brewing. One of the places where they made it was at the old Hudepohl brewery in Cincinnati (which they eventually bought). Hudepohl made awful beer. Awful, awful beer. Yet Sam Adams, brewed at the same facility by the same brewmasters, was a decent beer.
Hey if all else fails, you could try to brew your own. I know there are a few clone recipes out there. While your water and yeast would be different, maybe you'll come out with something you like even better.
Home-brewing is a wonderful hobby, and something I've been doing for a couple years now. It is very rewarding because it's such a tremendous investment. The sanitization methods you need to make successful beer are... cumbersome at best. Not to mention, the slightest fluxuation in temperature during fermentation, yeast strains, grain roasting, can have a significant effect on the final product.
This is where expanding breweries run into trouble. Making consistent tasting beers becomes very difficult as you increase manufacturing runs. Budweiser / Miller can do it because they make such shitty nonsense to begin with.
For the occasional homebrewer, yeast strains and grain roasting aren't a problem since that's all left up to the manufacturers of the ingredients. I think as long as you keep your ingredients and methodology the same, differences in taste wouldn't be very discernable for a lot of hobbyists (unless something like sanitization is really screwed up, which can usually be prevented by not being lazy). Maybe it doesn't taste exactly how you wanted, but it's almost always drinkable, and then you just try again.
Unless you're roasting your own grains, which can be a nightmare (tried it for an oatmeal stout I made. Results weren't positive).
You're right, though, about the lazy factor.
I've found that some of my brews taste a lot like micros I get in the store, but just a fraxion off.
312 is decent. but chicago in general is overrated.
oberon day is a bittersweet day. on one hand, it means oberon is out and ready for consumption. on the other hand, it's a reminder that hopslam is almost gone, found in only select locations at this point.
I live in Chicago, and love both Bell's and Goose Island products. This is a bummer, AB-InBev buying Goose Island. I live a couple blocks from the original Goose Island brewpub. I really hope AB-InBev doesn't mess with them, but there's simply no way that's happening; AB will likely open additional facilities to expand the Goose Island brand/market, which will lead to a likely degradation of the quality. Boo. Heck, in Chicago, I think we get Oberon/Bell's stuff that's not brewed at the original brewery (as in, at a second facility that was opened in the last few years), and I swear the Oberon tastes different than I remember from college at U of M. But that may also just be notsalgia, too.
Goose Island wouldn't even be one of the top 5 breweries in the state of Michigan, at least in terms of quality. Not really big news for beer snobs unless you live in micro-brewery starved Chicago.
lolwut. What, would Arcadia and Atwater be above it? You can make a good argument for Bells, but it wouldn't be top five? Please.
I wouldn't put either of those breweries ahead of GI. I'd say Bell's, New Holland, Founders, and Short's are all better breweries than Goose Island. Jolly Pumpkin is one of the best in the world at what they do, but they're not really a "standard" brewery, so I won't include them. I guess I'd place Goose Island somewhere behind those top 4.
I'm not sure why you (and several others) somehow took this to be some sort of competition between Michgan and Illinois Beers. Founders is great, yes. Arcadia is very good, yes. I'm not a huge Bells fan at this point.
But while 312 and Honker's are, in my opinion, terrible beers, Goose Island did a number of very, very, cool things - Matilda is a really interesting, cool beer. Bourbon County Stout is possibly the most impressive single beer I've tasted out of the midwest.
What I fear is that AB is going to mass-market the beer's that are already mass-marketed, just to a great extent (Honkers, 312), and drop the more whimsical, bizarre Beers like Matilda, BCS, Sophie, etc.
"I'm not sure why you (and several others) somehow took this to be some sort of competition between Michgan and Illinois Beers. Founders is great, yes. Arcadia is very good, yes. I'm not a huge Bells fan at this point."
This is a Michigan-based message board, so people are going to make Michigan-based comparisons.
Obviously you can hold whatever opinion you want, but GI is one of the top two breweries in the midwest, and would take the top spot in Michigan going by awards won. Great Lakes is the only other one in the same ballpark.
Yes, Hopslam is a world class beer; yes I like Oberon and some of the other beers are good (I'm looking at you Java/Oatmeal Stout) but to think that Bell's has the same depth of lineup as GI is just dumb. Their Bourbon County series just dominated the 2010 scene, and the lineup at Bell's falls off significantly after Hopslam. Other than top beer for top beer, Bell's can't compete, much less the other Michigan breweries.
offers a lot of great beers other than hopslam. Their depth is actually surprisingly good, it's a little harder to find some of them outside of Kalamazoo, but they are comparable to Goose Island in how many different brews they produce.
Well maybe it's their distribution then. I can name off the top of my head the four in Bourbon County series, Nightstalker, Sofie, 312 (though that was in a made up division) and Matilda that have all taken top awards. Hopslam is probably better than any other than the Bourbon County Stout, but I haven't tasted anything of Bell's as a number two that can compare to any of the other Bourbon County's or Matilda.
As far as tasting beers goes (leaving out drinkability, I'm not going to down a twelve pack of any of these) I really love Hopslam and Third Coast Old Ale, which I somehow didn't include before. I've had most of their stuff, the Double Cream and Expedition Stouts, Third Coast, Third Coast Old Ale, Hopslam, Two Hearted Ale, Amber, Porter, Oberon, Pale Ale.
I can't think of any more at the moment but that's quite a bit of their lineup, IIRC.
Their lineup is around 22 different brews. They've also got about 15 speciality brews, but those are pretty tough to find outside their home base
I think I've covered everything I can get here, I'm headed up to Michigan hopefully for the spring game and hopefully two weeks after that. I should be able to get more in Brighton and A2 than I can here in Indiana.
But Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Porter, Expedition Stout, Double Cream Stout, and Hell Hath No Fury ale are all beers that have received accolades and I'd put them up against any other brewery
I take that back. Third Coast Old Ale can definitely compete, don't know why I left it out. I still don't think Bell's has the same depth GI does, but that's an opinion. I do think that the Bourbon County's from GI are far above the Double Cream (which is good) and the Expedition, and Bell's doesn't really do a themed line to match the Belgian Ales up with; it's kind of dumb, IMO, to compare a BPA and a Porter and decide which is better, kind of like saying a LB is the best recruit in the country and the best RB is number two (not saying what you said was dumb, I was doing the same thing).
You could make a case that Bell's is better than GI; I don't think that's the case but it's a reasonable argument at least. I just don't think it's a fair statement that GI would be the "fifth best" brewery in Michigan.
They're both great breweries and the flagships of midwestern craft brews IMO. They were 19th and 20th in total nationwide beer volume sales last year
I definitely do think Bell's is great. I'm really only familiar with the national "craft brews" (love me some Magic Hat 9) and the stuff from the midwest, plus New Belgium and a couple others, but I would put the overall lineup (for midwest+ New Belgium and Dogfish Head) as roughly this:
- Goose Island
- Great Lakes
- Dogfish Head
- New Belgium
Average quality of beer:
- Great Lakes
- Dogfish Head
- Goose Island
- New Belgium
Top as in major distribution or top as in quality? I live in Chicago and have a fondness for GI, but if you are drinking their standard beers (eg. not Bourbon County/Matilda/Sophie) you can't really claim they outquality places like Founders. I think Great Lakes is the only major Midwest brewery that has been able to split the difference neatly between wide distribution and quality product, although saying that I still drink Bells down here whenever it is on tap and on the first warm day I can smuggle beer out to the beach.
The only GI "session beers" are 312 and Honker's, which shouldn't be considered more than they are- higher quality alternatives to Bud Light or Coors or Blue Moon or something similar.
Everything else they produce is on par with Sofie or Matilda (which pains me to say because Matilda is far better than Sofie, but that's another point).
Edit: Green Line is a "get drunk" beer too. I live outside the city limits and can't get it at home though, so I completely forgot its existance for a minute.
Look at how Miller "improved" Lowenbrau.
The Reinheitsgebot doesn't prevent them from skimping on malt or hops. It does prevent them from replacing malt with non-malted grains.
I personally don't think using non-malted grains is a big deal, as long as you're not skimping on the total amount of grains and on the hops.
I will be drinking a Summit IPA. I live up here in Minneapolis and Summit is a GREAT brewery. The IPA is my favorite....very bitter. If any of you come here for the Frozen Four, be sure to try it. There's another growing micro-brewery, Surly, that also makes some amazing beers.
The best beer I've tried in recent years was out in NE Washington, near Idaho, and I tried a Vindicator IPA from Idaho. Not as hoppy as my Summit, but extremely tasty!
Edit: My mistake...I wrote "Summit IPA"...while this is also good, it's the Summit Extra Pale Ale (as pictured) I love so much!
And it is. Better than GI. But if you want to talk about good craft beer, drink founders (kbs, kaiser curmudgeon, pale ale, really anything really) or dark horse and shorts. Good beer
I love Bell's and Goose Island in general, but I'm sorry, German hefeweizens absolutely blow American wheat beers out of the water, and there is no comparison. We shouldn't feel badly about that -- Germans have been making essentially the same beers for hundreds of years (mainly due to the Reinheitzgebot Purity Law) and have basically perfected what they do.
All that being said, American beers are becoming great because of their creativity and innovation, and Goose Island is as much a part of that as anybody else. Their IPA is one of my favorite IPA's out there, and their Mild Winter and Summertime are two of my favorite seasonals. I hope this buyout doesn't change anything about them other than whatever corporate behind-the-scenes bullshit is involved.
I agree with others on here that find 312 to be good, but nothing special. I'm happy to occasionally see it on tap in bars, as it is sometimes the right taste for the right moment. But stacked up against other available wheat beers, there's nothing that sets it apart.
As for Oberon... it continues to be a favorite, and I'll probably drink my share of it this summer. But once again, there are many wheat fine beers to be had. To drink Oberon exclusively (as I did for 2-3 years awhile back) is depriving me of the other wheat beer goodness available to me!
I dont know why everyone isnt mentioning Bud Light Wheat its so...terrible. I hate that stuff. One of my friends asked me if the 312 I was drinking one day tasted like Bud Light Wheat and I almost hit him. I really do like Goose Island. Another good beer is Upland. Its based in Bloomington and since Im at IU its available and there Wheat Beer is awesome. Thats would have to be my favorite wheat beer. It has a lighter flavor and is great for a hot summer day
Does anyone know when Summer Ale is coming out? That's the beer I'm anxiously looking forward to.
Goose Island Summertime Kolsch? Should be out already or making its way through the distribution chain to your local store. This is always handy for Goose's beers:
Goose Island can be to Busch as Focus Features is to Universal.
The Pere Jacques, IPA and Matilda are fantastic. Hopefully the investment allows them to produce at the capacity they need to and not much changes with the beer.
Interesting fact- the people who started New Holland and Founder's breweries were Fraternity brothers at Hope College. Another reason why that Christian liberal arts degree is so valuable... :-)
evil people destroying good beer whether from IL or MI
Tyranena Shaggin' in the Woods Scotch Ale.
I'm not saying it's the best beer...I'm just sayin'.
Unfortunately, New Glarus only distributes in Wisconsin and has openly said they have no plans to ever go anywhere else. They used to distribute some in Chicago back in the day but have long since pulled their beer back behind the cheddar curtain.
Believe me, there would be a lot of happy campers if they decided to start distributing out of state again.
Craft beer sadness. Military intelligence.
Does not compute.
Nah, I feel your pain - Goose Island, IRRC, was just a single outpost in the days when the Clybourn Corridor had a kind of creepy apocalyptic look (before the multiplex went in). Those were good days.
You do recall correctly. The nighttime walk from Goose Island back to the El was a crapshoot at best.
Guys, take it from somebody who works indirectly with AB, they will cover distribution and probably marketing, but they will leave the brewing/recipies to Goose Island themselves. The fact is, AB is very successful at most things they do, so I wouldn't be too worried with them messing with an already successful brand.
BTW, I was a server at Goose Island back in 1995; they ushered in my kraft-beer love and, accordingly, I have a special place on my pallet for them and yet I remain unworried that AB acquired them.
It really all depends on how Anheuser decides to handle the brewery. The difference between craft beers and major production ones isn't so much the recipe as it is the quality of the grain and hops and yeast they use. There is a chance, for example, they could decide the brewery would be more lucrative in the event that they find ways to cut grain costs, thereby lowering the value of the flavor of the malt. If this is the case, nobody will buy Goose Island anymore. I doubt they are dumb enough to do that.
I love New Glarus beers. The apple ale was my favorite, but almost never available.
I have tried to love the Bell's Two Hearted Ale, having camped and fished on the river, enjoying the Hemingway reference and the brook trout label, but, for some reason, the taste does not appeal to me.
The local microbrews in Hawaii are only fair. I usually drink imports, mostly Spaten Oktoberfest which I can get year round here. God knows why- hopefully not because it has been sitting around for a year.
Goose Island has been crap for years.
This is bad news considering what AB did to Rolling Rock. Shut down most of their processing plants and brewing it in the big AB factories with the rest of the Buds, ice bud, bud light, ice bud light, bud light ice, etc.
With all the craft-brewery acquisitions, I recommend you read the label before you buy your next favorite craft-brew.