July 1, 2011

Session #53: Beer Redemption

This week's Session, a collection of beer bloggers and writers focusing on a single topic, invites us to write about Beer Redemption. Host John Holl writes about giving a beer a second chance because it beers can be heat damaged or light struck. Certainly these are things that occur all of the time in our desert environment, but that's not precisely the direction I went. As you can see, writers often go their own way with a Session topic.

In February, in a post titled: Of Re-Starts, Starts-Ups and Endings, I wrote about start-up North Mountain Brewing and the passing of Portland's Iconic Don Younger. I also wrote that "craft beer can be about redemption" in reference to a brewery that had to change locations shortly after establishing itself and had a period of inconsistent beer quality.

At that time, Old World Brewing was a gas connection shy of resuming brewing operations.
Old World's move into the hardscrabble neighborhood of 25th Avenue and Van Buren is somewhat metaphorical of its Rock and Roll existence. It's hard enough to get a brewery up and running, tougher still to move so shortly after you get up and running. It seemed to be a move into a good deal of unknown.  
We can all debate the circumstances of the move and reports of some lactic character migrating into the Wit and the Red in the latter days of the Deer Valley days, but craft beer can be about redemption too. Last weeks beers were clean and flavorful. I'm going to give them a clean slate and well wishes. Craft beer in the Estrella neighborhood certainly would be an indicator that Phoenix is ready for a cultural change.
The beer that was on the market in February was still beer contract brewed from Flagstaff's Mogollon Brewing. It was a indication that there might be a change in some of the inconsistent beers that I had had in the past. Still, it was not beer brewed by Matt Mercer in their brewhouse. I had cleaned the slate and I was ready to try them out again. I stopped by the brewhouse yesterday to follow-up.
Brewery Open. Taproom Closed.
The American craft beer community is small, in Phoenix it is smaller still. If you are a Beer Evangelist, then you have to believe in Beer Redemption. I'm of the mind that you need to work with everyone in that community if they are attentive to the quality of the beer and beer culture. Redemption requires two parties and there is no fixed timetable. The sign reads that Old World has closed its Taproom for the summer and is, "concentrating it's efforts on brewing more beer and growing draft and retail accounts".  I'd much rather that they focus on surviving and growing than half-assing it, so their redemption with me is a work in progress.

The sign's comic sans serif font. That's going to take awhile to forgive.

6 comments:

  1. Can you clarify this?

    "The sign reads that Old World has closed its Taproom for the summer and is, "concentrating it's efforts on brewing more beer and growing draft and retail accounts". I'd much rather that they focus on surviving and growing than half-assing it, so their redemption with me is a work in progress."

    Are you saying they are "half assing it" because they closed their taproom?

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  2. On the contrary, Matt. I'm saying that I'd rather they focus on what it takes to get them where they want to be. If keeping the taproom open is keeping them from that goal, then I fully support what they are doing.

    Half-assing it would entail spending resources on the rock shows they promote and not having the beer be the focus.

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  3. To be clearer still, I want to evaluate them when they are back to full operation so that I can enjoy the beers in-situ.

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  4. I will add this though. Surviving in AZ off wholesale dollars is not an easy task. Tap rooms generate very little "real" money for the brewery. Having another source of revenue is almost a must for a start up brewery. It could easily be argued that San Tan and Four Peaks should concentrate on beer only and not honey glazed chicken sandwiches. They are after all breweries, right? Breweries with rocks shows...breweries with restaurants...whatever keeps the doors open and the beer flowing.

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  5. Thanks for the insight. It's good for everyone to thing about what's outside of the glass as well as what's in it.

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