Beer vs. Beer has a good blog post about the role of your typical neighborhood non-barrel-aged imperial hype machine type brewery.
If a brewery is pumping out just average or slightly below average beer, does it matter as long as there is (and there is) plenty of other good beer to go around? How about if that mediocre brewery doesn’t distribute outside of a few taps at area restaurants and packaged beer at local bottle shops? What if that same brewery is the only one in its small town, and there is no other place around where people can bring their families, bring their dogs, play games, and just unwind after work? Can you excuse its less-than-stellar beer then?
There’s something romantic in the idea of the local brewery to me. I can indeed excuse “less-than-stellar beer” for a cool gathering place with brew made by local hard-working people. Not every beer needs to be fantastic in my life. I enjoy an average pale ale or blonde just fine.
Pictured is one of my favorite local taprooms (Good People), to which I will remain loyal. Their beer is often great and anything but what I would call “average”.
For most of us, there’s probably a better IPA at the beer store down the street than there is at the brewery down the street, but surely there’s still something to be said for drinking local, right? Right.