Quantity of Breweries vs. Quality of Beers

**Disclaimer** The below is a post from my point of view only. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I hope the underlying concepts of the post are understood and not misconstrued. Cheers!

In New England alone, there has been a recent surge of new breweries to the market. Which makes me think there is something to be said in this day in age of craft beer about a Brewery that hits home runs with all of their beer. With these new breweries starting up, it will be easy to get traction/excitement due in part to social media and spreading the word. However, you wonder after tasting their beer if some of these breweries worked out all the kinks before launching. Don’t get me wrong, its rare to come off the block with a fantastic lineup of beers, but I think aspiring brewers should take the time, especially in 2012, to focus on a solid product before launching.

A quote form Ian Cowpar from 2beerguys.com
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These are, indeed, high times for new breweries, and it would be easy to pay attention to trends in the industry and gravitate towards them. However, in order to really differentiate yourself, you have to be able to create something that is transcendent. For a brewery, a measured and well-executed launch can result in one or two products that they know in their gut are the absolute best that they’re able to produce. A less-than-well-received product has the potential to do more damage to the brewery’s overall reputation than an excellent beer could ever do to enhance it. If a customers first experience is not a great one, you may never get them to come back to try again.

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Looking back on 2011 there were plenty of breweries with a line-up of beer that would make me go to the store for more but I don’t necessarily enjoy all of their beer. There were however, smaller breweries in the area that have done it right from the start.

Area Breweries that only put out a between 1-5 beers that knock it out of the park

Maine

Rising Tide (Portland, ME)
Arguably my favorite brewery from last year. While everyone does not like Stouts, I can easily offer up Ishmael, a super flavorful Copper Ale and/or Daymark, their American Pale Ale. They get high marks from me on all 5 of their beers. It says a lot about a brewery who can produce 5 different styles of beers and I am a fan of all of them.

  • Polaris
  • Daymark
  • Ursa Minor
  • Ishmael
  • Atlantis

Baxter (Lewiston, ME)
Baxter is expanding faster than their building allows, so within the same year they opened they have begun expanding. They did a bold move by coming out with 2 beers and waiting almost a year to bring on a 3rd beer to their rotation. The can revolution started here, folks, no matter what anyone tells you.

  • Pamola Pale
  • Amber Road
  • Stowaway IPA

Bull Jagger (Portland, ME)
Bull Jagger is run buy a couple of guys who perfected the Lager recipe, put it in bottles and put it on shelves. This is the mantra that should be adopted by everyone. Quality over Quantity. I can’t wait for their 2nd beer to hit the stores but they have made one heck of an impression with their Portland Lager. Stay tuned for their 2nd beer which I hear is coming very shortly.

  • Portland Lager

Massachusetts

Notch
A brewery with a passion for session beers. I enjoy these beers very much because I thoroughly enjoy drinking many different styles of session beers. I love the idea of drinking a session Black Lager and the result is excellent.

  • Session Ale
  • Session Pils
  • Saison
  • Cerne Pivo
  • BSA Harvest

New Hampshire

Tuckerman Brewing Co. (Conway, NH)
Tuckerman has been around since 1998 and I can recommend any of their beer to any beer lover. They have a strong presence on the taps in my town and is always considered a go to when I’m looking for something easy to drink with great flavor. 4 solid beers in 13 years, no messing around here.

  • Pale Ale
  • Headwall Alt
  • Altitude
  • 6288 Stout

Vermont

Switchback (Burlington, VT)
I was first introduced to Switchback when I visited Burlington in 2010 and I have sang their praises ever since. They are only in draft but can be found as far as Portsmouth (RiRa). If you get a chance, try any one of their beers and let me know what you think.

  • Ale
  • Amber
  • Porter
  • Roasted Red
  • Brown

In conclusion, the above breweries I can safely say to someone “get any beer from them and you will enjoy it”. While none of them are doing any “shock and awe” recipes that you will see in a Dogfish beer, nor do they get lines outside their brewery in a Dark Lord or Kate the Great Day fashion, they remain consistent, and that is key. In 2012, find those quality beers in that large quantity of new breweries that will pop up. It is ok to to not like the first line up of beer from a new brewery, but I challenge you not to lose focus on those who got it right from the get go. Now it should go without saying that this is all my opinion. You may not enjoy a beer from one of the breweries above, and that’s totally fine.

Are there any breweries you can say you enjoy all of their beers? To me it shows the brewery took the time to perfect the recipe before going to market.

Cheers,
B