I support local but local doesn’t mean good

I’ve been trying to decide how to approach this blog post for a while, after sampling some terrible Maine beers recently, I didn’t want to do a full review, I’m not looking to start a smear campaign about breweries, but I am concerned.

Part of me is concerned that there are breweries putting poor quality beer on the market and the other part of me is concerned that there are beer drinkers out there supporting it.

To be clear when I say poor quality I mean poor quality. I’m not talking about a beer I don’t like the flavor of, there are plenty of those and they can be great quality beers, thats personal preference. I’m also not talking about beers that don’t fit the defined standards of a style, pushing the boundaries and getting creative are what keep things interesting. I’m talking about technically unsound product. Off Flavors and aromas, the type of stuff that shouldn’t make it to the store shelves.

Metallic flavors, fecal aromas, soapy aromas and flavors, banana aromas which would be fine in a hefeweizen but are out of place in an IPA. One beer I sampled recently tasted and smelled nothing like the beer it should have been, was it just that bad or was it labelled incorrectly? I think a mystery beer in a blind tasting is fun but otherwise I hate to be guessing. I also encountered some serious over-carbonations, gushing bottles that I’m glad were kept cold otherwise they might have exploded.

I’m a fan of supporting local Maine breweries, I write about Maine beer, I want to share all that is good about our growing beer scene, Maine is a craft beer destination, but those steps forward, those accolades and “Best Beer Town” lists will hit a wall if there is poor quality beer out there and there is. I won’t buy bad beer, there are so many great brewers in this state producing interesting, innovative and exciting beers why would I spend my hard earned money on an inferior product? I support local but local doesn’t mean good, local is a proximity, when is say local I mean Maine. When I’m travelling it’s the beer produced in that state, I support local when local means high quality.

As beer drinkers we make a choice every time we stand in front of the cooler or shelf, every time we rest elbows at a bar or buy a growler at a brewery, we lay down the money we earn in our day to day jobs to support someone else in theirs, the payoff should be enjoyable. Not everyone understands off flavors or the technical terms for them or even how to describe them, but if it smells bad and it tastes bad it’s probably bad and not supposed to be there, everyone can understand that, local or not trust your senses.

I expect 2015 to be a year where people realize what’s good and what’s not, and those not up to snuff will either bow out of the game or figure out how to right the ship, a few closures, a few bad apples sorted out and the Maine beer scene will be stronger. I hate taking a blog post to a negative place, beer should be fun and enjoyable but I suppose even a sunny day has its shadows.

Cheers to quality beer,


Chad Lothian

About Chad Lothian

Chad Lothian lives in Old Town, Maine. He is a craft beer enthusiast and homebrewer. Chad has travelled to brewpubs, breweries and brewfests all over New England.