Michael Agnew at GrowlerMag seems to think so.
I’m talking about beer with real, quantifiable flaws. I mean seriously under-attenuated beers that taste like wort. Diacetyl-laden butter bombs. Flat-tasting beers with muted flavors from using the wrong brewing water. Sour beers that taste like sweaty vinegar, and sour beers that weren’t meant to be sour. Medicinal-tasting Belgians. The unbalanced, train wreck, kitchen-sink beers with so much stuff that you can’t discern one flavor from another. These are the kinds of beers to which I am referring, and, yes, there are a lot of them.
It’s hard to argue with his broader point. Even in the craft-obsessed Pacific Northwest I have had dozens of beers where “disappointing” would be too kind a descriptor. Every city with more than a couple of breweries has this phenomenon by now.
People want to drink beer from the source. So important is this notion that some beer lovers are frequenting establishments despite recognizing that the beer is sub-par. A friend of mine not too long ago said of his local taproom, “The beer’s not great, but I can walk here.”
That’s not to be ignored, really. There’s something special about drinking straight from the brewery’s operation, and as always the best tasting beer is usually the one closest to your mouth. But is it enough? I guess I don’t see it as a zero-sum game. The brewery by my house serves my least-favorite beer. But the bottle shop down the street carries hundreds that are wonderful. We can live in a world with both.
Read the whole piece and tell us what you think.