Friday, April 06, 2007

House Character pt 2

Okay so I have received some responses from you faithful readers. I'm still holding out for more but here is what we have so far.

Just a couple of comments on your "House Character" question.
I tend to agree with you that a wide variety of styles is better. I can't imagine that the brewers at Orval continue to find their profession exciting. They only do one beer. They certainly have perfected that recipe and made a great brew, but my God, how boring it must be to do that every day! A brewery like Three Floyds has their regular lineup that they do all the time, but what makes them interesting for me is the small batch experiments that they do for the pub. Just looking at the variety that they had on tap last week, you had your pick of a coffee stout, an ESB and some kind of weird belgian pale ale experiment. They may never brew those beers again, but that's why I keep going back there. That is also why I keep going back to Flossmoor. Your regular brews are all great, but I've had them all so many times that they've lost my interest. It's the seasonals and the one-offs that draw me in.
Personally I haven't noticed a particular quality that runs throughout all of your beers, which I think is good. I think the only times when a house character is noticeable is when it's not all that pleasant. There is a small brewery here in Indiana that I think has a problem with that. It just makes all the beers taste too similar, and not in a good way.
Just my 2 cents.


Both sides of the debate have valid points I think. In older countries the people would identify more with tradition whereas in the U.S. this is all new. Better to challenge beer drinkers since they come to your brewpub looking to taste new creations. There's always a sad macrobrew that can be spectacularly countered by a far more intense style of craft beer. In Europe the beer drinking culture never collapsed as it did in the late 20th century here in the U.S. until by the force of entropy craft brewing arose.


Andrew & Matt,
Isn't the problem of a brewery developing a house flavor more like crating your own boring little flavor world? Maybe if you are catering to a small market. But we here in America love diversity. Where would Starbucks be without it? Keep on brewing the fantastic beers you're making now. They're great. Stop worrying and go have a beer.
Jerry S.


I like it when you have three to four special beers along with your standards. I always like to try the new ones. When I’m with people who may not be as daring or who don’t appreciate other styles of beers, they like your standards.

I'm still not sure that I have the answer I'm looking for but I appreciate the comments and I will continue to post whatever else comes in. My personal conviction is that while I certainly appreciate house character, I seek it out when I can in the right context, I have experienced it in Belgium, Germany, and other countries, I lean heavily towards diversity when it's up to me to make beer. Unless your house character is "making totally awesome beers," in which case I'm all for that.

I'm just about out the door to St. Louis as I type this. We are serving up our wares from Mickey Finn's, Piece, and Flossmoor down at Schlafly this weekend at their repeal of prohibition festival. I just hope we stay warm.....

Keep the comments coming and maybe I can reach a satisfying conclusion.

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