Whatcha Drinking This Weekend?: Broken Resolutions Edition

off-wagon

Well that didn’t’ take long.  I recently resolved to abstain from drinking alcohol for the month of January, but that pledge was recently undone by a good idea for a Today.com article.

You may have heard about the accusations hurled by Lagunitas founder Tony Magee at Samuel Adams, saying that the country’s largest craft brewer was specifically targeting Lagunitas and other West Coast IPA brewers with the launch of Samuel Adams Rebel IPA, their version of a citrus-forward India Pale Ale. 

In a nutshell, Magee took to twitter (above) and then to BeerAdvocate under the handle “DogTown” to grouse that Sam Adams reps were targeting the tap handles of established craft IPA brewers, including Lagunitas.

While craft brewers have gone after poorly performing imports like Becks and Moosehead, Magee says this is the first time a craft brewer has targeted their own kind in such a manner (as in “you pull their kegs and install ours and we’ll make it worth your while”).  In the past, it’s been more like “give our beer a shot next to theirs and let your customers decide.”  A competition based on merit and flavor, not on cloaks and daggers.

I decided to write about the dust up for my weekly Today.com post, including the most important piece of information – which beer tastes better.  To do that, I had to sample the beers side-by-side.  To do that, I had to DRINK the beers.  To do that, I had to scuttle my plans for a booze-free January.

Oh well, the best laid plans.

The good news is I only had about six ounces of beer total – I poured the rest down the drain and re-resolved to make it to the Super Bowl without pickling myself.

Making things more difficult is the fact that while at the beer store to buying the Lagunitas IPA to taste tested against the Rebel IPA, I stumbled across some Uinta Dubhe, a roasty and robust Black IPA that this particular store just started to carry.  I just had to pick up a four pack of the stuff, which is now sitting in my garage, seductively whispering my name.  Jiiiiim….Jiiiiiiiiim…we are lonely….and DELICIOUS……

But I’ll be strong.  Unless I’m weak.  And I guess I’ll be okay either way.

So that’s what I’m drinking this weekend (no beer.  Maybe).

What about you?  Any excellent new bottles of boozy destinations in your near future?  As always, let us know below and happy weekend!!

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Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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43 Comments on “Whatcha Drinking This Weekend?: Broken Resolutions Edition”

  1. January 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    I have a mixed case of Firestone-Walker bombers that I got for Christmas (he said evilly, nyhahahaha.)

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      Lucky dog – I haven’t come across a clunker from them. Enjoy!!

  2. Chris
    January 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    I looked at the picture before reading the text, and I thought this would be a story about Lagunitas and Brew Dog’s 5am Saint. Did they use a label that doesn’t look like any other Sam Adams beer to confuse people? To me, this label is no better than what A-B did to Flying Dog.

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      I think you’re on to something there, Chris. I thought the same thing, but couldn’t work it into the Today.com piece I wrote (I was 150 words heavy jamming the story and twin review into the piece). At least it’s not in a a stubby bottle – that’d be blatant.

  3. Greg H.
    January 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    I have a bunch of fresh VT beers (Limbo IPA from Long Trail, Kind Ryed IPA from Otter Creek and, of course, the infamous Heady Topper) that are calling my name.

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

      I can get two out of those three beers around here. Guess which. :(

      • Greg H.
        January 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

        I hear ya. I was told by one buyer at a large beer retailer that the Limbo IPA is ‘currently the best IPA in VT’. Umm, no. It is decent, but doesn’t beat the HT. The Kind Ryed is nice, picked up a 12 pack of that, for $12.99!!

        • January 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

          Thems Budweiser prices!

          (says the jaded craft beer buyer)

          >

        • Greg
          January 10, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

          Local beer, local price. :)

    • August 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      I was very impressed with Long Trail on a recent visit to Vermont. The brewery itself was a great spot, and the IPAs I had were all impressive. The Limbo IPA and Blak Rye IPA stood out…

      https://californiaipa.wordpress.com/

  4. January 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    This makes me angry. Craft breweries still control such a small percent of the market. They need to stick together not go after each other. In the end, its all about the beer, isn’t it?
    And to answer your questions… one Sweet Baby Jesus Peanut Butter Porter that has been calling my name since lunch and some imperial pilsner from Breckenridge

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

      Peanut butter and porters play nice together – enjoy it! I agree about the sticking together part, but I think this shows that the industry is growing up. Eventually those chubby little cubs turn into KILLER GRIZZLY BEARS (!) and this might be the first sign that our little ones are growing up. And it sucks.

    • January 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

      I’ll leave SBJ to you. Had it once–once was enough.

  5. Greg H.
    January 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Back on topic, I lot of the craft beer I know stay away from Sam Adams, so that plan may backfire. I seriously doubt this Sam’s IPA (or any) can touch Lagunitas. Just my $0.02.

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

      I don’t want to spoil the outcome of my article, but you’re right. :)

      >

      • Greg
        January 10, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

        I’d like to think great minds think alike.

  6. Michael
    January 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    Golden Monkey and Homebrew Bourbon Barrel Porter.

    • January 10, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      Nice and nicer!

      >

  7. January 10, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Right now I’m enjoying Great Divide’s Titan IPA. I’ve got Uinta’s Anniversary Barley Wine and Founders Imperial Stout for football watching this weekend.

    As for the Uinta Dubhe, it’s worth waiting to reach your goal and I don’t mean that it’s not good. But you’re a third of the way there and the just think of the enjoyment of a great beer following a success of will.

    • January 10, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      Too late. The whispers got me! It’s been that kind of week.

      • January 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

        Oh well. You tried. You should reward yourself with a beer.

        • January 10, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

          I like the way you think…

          >

  8. Brendan
    January 10, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Oh, well. The best-laid plans of mice and men are usually about equal.

    I’m starting to think that Boston Beer Co has jumped the shark and turned to the Dark Side, to mix Happy Days and Star Wars. They’re pushing their Angry Orchard brand in a way reminiscent of the Plank Road brewery.

    Some of their new ads feature drinkers who seem surprised that the apparently-craft beer that they are sampling actually comes from Samuel Adams. If BBC is trying to counter a perception that it’s now the Big Beer Company, there may be a need for that tactic.

    • January 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      Yeah, from what I’ve read, they used the Big Beer Playbook for the cider rollout. Unfortunately, just like they’ve always charted to course for younger craft brewers, I think we’re seeing the future here.

  9. January 10, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Lagunita’s and probably some Scotch.

    • January 10, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

      Whiskey’d be better, but you might guess my preference from the name of the site. :)

      • January 12, 2014 at 11:09 am #

        Actually ended up drinking the local whiskey “Stranahans”. Very nice.

        • January 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

          I love Stranny’s, but they no longer sell it out here in New Jersey. Local indeed… :(

  10. January 10, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    I’m on the fence with Sam Adams – they do make great beer, but they’re at the Rubicon of becoming “Big Beer” and starting to use that to gain more market share. On the one side is why the hell shouldn’t they make a West Coast IPA, every fricken craft brewer in the universe does, it’s the standard… but using their “bigness” to muscle others out is dirty pool.

    Moving on…. I home brewed a Russian stout earlier this year and aged it on oak chips. A few too many oak chips. Not bad, but quite strong, it’s a sipper. So, I got the Saranac Winter collection – which is quite good, btw – and contained therein is a Moonshadow black IPA and a Porter. So I got the harebrained idea to mix the two to tone down my homemade stout… and the results are quite pleasing! It is very good and drinkable! So that’s what I’m drinking tonight.

    And… I made it until Friday! I’m on the “no beer during the week diet”.

    • January 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      I mixed the Moonshadow with my stout. Haven’t tried mixing it with the porter yet.

      • January 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

        Neat idea on mixing them up. It’s like a Russian Shandy – half stout, half stronger stout!

  11. John
    January 10, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    I had a Oak Aged Yeti and now boycotting Sam.

    • January 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Cool and sorta cool. Tony Magee likes to yell about stuff – a grain of salt is probably smart. That said, he’s pretty convincing on the BeerAdvocate thread.

      >

      • January 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

        Magee does seem to yell…a lot. Though, he does make good beer. What’s their slogan? “Beer speaks, Magee yells”? Something like that.

        Anyway, I have a hard time believing that Jim Koch has suddenly turned into a douche and wants to hose fellow craft brewers. After all, he shared hops during a hop shortage; he didn’t have to help but he did.

        When I visited the east coast (2011) I had a hard time finding a west coast style IPA (Chico yeast, bright hops). I think if Sam Adams does it halfway okay, there is a market.

        I look forward to your Today article.

        • January 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

          Well, you can find plenty of West Coast IPA’s out here now, thankfully. I prefer them and it was hard to find one a few years back.

  12. Brendan
    January 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    BBC is at least a regional, not longer quite craft,and I think that it has really become Big Beer.

    Angry Orchard is decent cider and there’s nothing wrong with a brewery branching into other products but when the brewery is masking them – nothing on an Angry Orchard label or in the TV ad to indicate Samuel Adams – then it sounds like at least the brewery itself is afraid of being seen as Big Beer and it smacks of protesting too much.

    Dogfish Head makes rum and vodka at a microdistillery at the restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, marketed under the DFH brand. That particular Sam isn’t hiding the stuff under a Plank Roadish label.

    On the topic of mixing stuff, let me highly recommend rye + pumpkin spice + coffee. I seem to be going through a LOT of rye this winter :) About ready to kick a Whistle Pig.

    • January 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      I think it’s okay to have different brands under a corporate umbrella and not connect the dots for consumers, as long as you’re not pretending to be something you’re not (ala Blue Moon, Shock Top, etc.). But I don’t like the idea of things getting cutthroat in the craft beer industry – it kills my happy vibe about the craft beer world. That said, I’m sure plenty of aggressive and shady stuff is happening already. We’re talking about an industry growing by 10 percent or more every year with revenue in the billions. There’s too much at stake to assume everyone is playing nice. It’s a bummer. :(

      • Brendan
        January 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

        On the surface of things, I agree with you about the brand thing, Jim – nothing inherently nefarious about a subsidiary under a different name. Honda makes Acura and I would buy a car from either line.

        However, with Angry Orchard, why isn’t the cider line identified with Samuel Adams? That connection should give credibility to the cider, like an endorsement – unless the goal is to make Angry Orchard look small and to keep BBC looking smaller.

        Again, nothing inherently evil here but when calling it Samuel Adams Cider is the easy route, there is a reason for taking the hard route.

        • January 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

          I see it as not wanting to mix up peoples’ perceptions of what Angry Orchard is – a cider – as opposed to some kind of apple ale, etc, that one might associate with Samuel Adams. But what do I know!

      • January 16, 2014 at 11:06 am #

        The money is gonna attract the lowlife grubbers like a roadkill attracts turkey buzzards.

  13. January 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    ” I poured the rest down the drain”? Damn! Well you asked….I brew my own beer and had a batch of Scottish Wee Heavy get a bit “metally” tasting (too much peaked barley I think), and was thinking about throwing the batch out until I had the idea of blending it 1/2-1/2 with a Vanilla Porter I brewed that was too flat. Conclusion….
    Excellent, peaty and vanilla Black Ale.
    best , m

    • January 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

      It’s great when you can save two questionable batches of beer and then tell your buddies you’re a Master Blender!

  14. January 20, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Down in Australia we don’t get as many of the US style IPAs and APAs but a shipment of Founders All Day IPA made it in to the country which is a perfect session beer for all this hot weather we’re having!

    I too attempted to stop drinking in January – I made it 8 days. Oops!

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