Beer Thought: What is the worst brewery?

In Beer Thought on May 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I’m trying something new for this post.  I thought I’d take a break from reviewing beer this week and do an “editorial”.   Someone asked me an interesting question recently and I couldn’t answer it right away.  So, I thought about it and wanted to post it for everyone to read and ponder.

On twitter, @blacksheepsquad asked me what is the worst brewery?  I had never really thought about it before.  I know there are beers that I dislike and definitely styles of beers I don’t care for, but never which brewery I don’t like.  The easy answer would be the macros because those beers are awful, but it isn’t the right answer.

If you notice, on the blog I don’t have many “Spill It”s and that is almost on purpose.  The reason I don’t is: I won’t spend money on things I don’t like.  I’m not going to spend money on let’s say a sixer of lagers because I don’t particularly care for them.  Every once in a while I will try beers I don’t like to either reinforce why I don’t like them or to try a particularly special one.   Honestly, who wants to pour a beer knowing they won’t like it?  Not me.

I usually drink beer  based on the mood I’m in.  Chances are if it is 90 degrees outside, I probably won’t be drinking an imperial stout.  So, I have my favorite beers within a particular style.   I may prefer an IPA from one brewery and not like their stout or vice-versa, but does that mean it is a bad brewery?  Does that mean it is a bad beer?  Probably not.  What I dislike someone else may love.

In terms of breweries, I also have my favorites just like anyone else.  I love Dogfish because of the far out things they do with beer.  I don’t like all of their beers, but I can always appreciate the attempt to try something new.    There are plenty of breweries I have never tried and might make the greatest beer ever.  Sometimes it is more than beer that makes you like a brewery.  Maybe it is a hometown brewery or you like that the brewery is eco-friendly.  Conversely, you may dislike a brewery for reasons other than beer.   I recently had a bad experience with a brewery’s rude beer rep, which made me decide to never drink their beers.  (if you follow me on twitter you know who it is).

In this world of craft beer, I don’t think there is a worst brewery.  There are too many kinds of beer that too many people make for there to be a worst brewery.  Craft beer just by its name implies a dedication to the craft of beer making.  If a brewery made bad beer then it would probably go out of business pretty quickly.   Drinking beer is too personal an experience for me to name a “worst”.  My advice, try as many beers as possible from as many breweries as possible.


Spain Series – Beer Spot: Fabrica Maravillas

In Beer Spot, Spain Series on May 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

My latest beer adventure took me to Spain.  Spain is more known for paella and sangria than it is for beer, but that didn’t stop me for searching for good beer.   After doing some research on the beer scene in Spain, I got excited because there seemed to be no shortage of beer places.  Bottle shops, brew pubs, beer bars, Spain seemed to have it all.  One of my stops in Spain was Madrid and that is when I found Fabrica Maravillas.


Fabrica Maravillas seemed like a really cool brewpub in Madrid that is new to the beer scene.  According to the website, the brewpub opened in November 2012.   I didn’t have much time in Madrid, so I made it a point to pay a visit to FM.  The FM brewpub was cool.  It had modern decor and wasn’t your average dive beer place, which was a relief.  Behind the bar was one of the brewers, Thierry (I think that’s how you spell it) who was a cool guy.  He spoke to me about his background and all the beers he had on tap.  I decided my first Spanish beer would have to be an IPA.  I chose the (FL)IPA.

20130420_110518The (FL)IPA was a golden yellow color with plenty of fluffy, white head.  The ABV on this brew was 7%, so it had the right amount  of ABV in an IPA.  Aroma was fresh smelling hops, almost flowery.  The first sip had some nice bitterness upfront and little citrus sweetness in the finish.  A solid IPA that I wish I could find here at home.

The next brew came at the recommendation of Thierry.  He said I had to try the amber that was on tap.  Please note, he was a lot more enthusiastic and used a few more colorful words to describe how good it was.  It was great to see how enthusiastic he was about the beer.  Sometimes the person who serves you beer isn’t the person that actually brewed the beer, so they will just serve the beer.  I enjoy a brewer serving me beers because they’ll give you a heart felt reason as to why you should try the beer because they helped brew it.

The Amber had a nice brownish amber color with a significant amount of thick head.  The aroma was slightly malty accompanied by hoppyness.  I don’t recall what the ABV was on this brew, but it was not a high ABV.  First sip made me realize why Thierry raved about this beer.  It was really easy to drink.  The bitterness from the hops came through very subtly with a really smooth finish.  I could’ve definitely knocked back a few of these.  20130420_112624

If you are ever in Madrid, you should pay Fabrica Maravillas a visit.  The beers are really good and the place is really chill.  They have a solid beer lineup that includes a saison, triple, quad and an imperial stout.  I was a little annoyed because I was told the quad was coming the week after I left, so I just missed it.  I didn’t get to try any of the other beer because we were on a short timetable, but I really wish I had more time to sit and try them all.  Beer is easily accessible in Spain, but really good beer takes a little more effort to find.  It’s a shame I won’t be having any FM beers for a while because I am now a fan.  Support your local (international) brewers!

Monster Mash

In New Jersey on March 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm


Another beer from Brian Boak and BOAKS Beer.  If you have read earlier posts, you will know that I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with Brian and talk beer.  Subsequently, I’ve had the chance to run into Brian at a few different beer events and gotten to chat about beer.  One of the first beers we talked about was Monster Mash.

Monster Mash is a Russian Imperial stout, so it pours black.  There wasn’t a whole lot of head, but it had a fair amount of tan creamy head and dissipated almost completely.  At 10% ABV, this will definitely be a beer you sit and hang out with for a while.

The aroma had a good maltyness to it, accompanied with some dark chocolate aroma.  There was a little bit of alcohol in the nose, but surprisingly not as much as you would expect for double digit ABV.

The taste is strong chocolate upfront  along with a little coffee roastyness to it.  There was some dark chocolate dryness in the finish with  a good amount of bitterness.  It is a pretty easy drink with all the bold flavors going on and the alcohol is hidden well.

Verdict: Fill It!  My introduction to BOAKS was a few years ago at the Great International Beerfest in Secaucus, NJ and that first beer was Monster Mash.  It turns out, a lot of people are introduced to BOAKS by Monster Mash and that’s a good first impression.  Brian Boak recently unveiled some aged Monster Mash at an anniversary party, which must have been a real treat for the folks that got to try some.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it, so it looks like I’ll have to age some myself.  We’ll see if the bottles make it that long.

Support you local brewers!



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