On January 8th a user on Beer Advocate posted a question in their forums: “What brewery out there gets too much hype for what they bring to the table? My money goes to Dogfish Head. Their IPAs are solid but most of their “big” beers really aren’t anything special and some are downright bad.” From this post began what started out as an interesting discussion on breweries people thought were overrated. And most of the comments were focused on the only metric I believe you can rate a brewery on when having this discussion – price.
After all when it comes to flavor, no brewery gets it 100% right. People have different tastes, and different opinions on what they’re looking for in certain beers. And although you might think a brewery’s IPA nails it for you, their porter might leave you lacking. But if others are drinking it, can you honestly say they missed the mark on it? Maybe from a BJCP point of view if the beer truly isn’t a porter, but for the every day craft beer lover who just has an idea what flavor profile he likes in a porter, I don’t think so.
The debate continued to escalate as well known breweries like Founders, DFH, Avery, Rogue, Stone and Southern Tier got thrown onto the pile. Comments like “…that’s not what I’m looking for in a DIPA” and …”their big beers are a mess” started to pop up. And the thread continued to grow until one man decided he’d had enough. And that man was Sam Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head brewery. You can read this post here. And I encourage you to do so. Because although I don’t agree with some of the comments he makes up front, the basic message of, “That doesn’t mean the one you didn’t prefer sucked. And the breweries you don’t prefer but are growing don’t suck either. Respect Beer.“, is a damn good one. Let’s face it, most people in craft beer world are pretty knowledgeable so if a brewery truly sucks it probably won’t be around very long, let alone grow into well known entity like Rogue or Stones.
Reading through the thread at Beer Advocate I believe some people have lost sight of why they started drinking craft beer to begin with. It’s supposed to be fun, the joy of finding new things, or as LyricsLibationsandLife says, The Thrill of the Hunt. But I think some people have gotten to caught up in their own ratings. It’s all become a numbers thing now. If a popular brewery puts out 6 beers and they rate one of them a 5 and the rest 2’s, some seem to focus more on the low ranked beers rather then talk about the one they like. However, I can’t completely dump on the negative responders. After all, the question was asked. It’s only natural to answer if you have an opinion on the subject.
So is DFH (or any other craft brewery) overrated in my mind? I’m on record with my friends as not being a strong DFH fan so it would be easy for me to fall into that trap. But I prefer to look at it another way, if DFH were NOT around then I definitely would miss not having Theobroma, Burton Baton and 75 minute IPA on cask. I’ll leave the “overrated” debate to the masses over at Beer Advocate. I’m just here for good beer.
And on that note – time for another beer. Probably one from one of those “overrated” breweries everyone is on about…