Took a trip to Buffalo over the weekend. Saw the super fine Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Had pictures taken with a number of bronze statues and one NHL mascot. Was introduced to the strangeness of Steel Panther and drank a fair amount of local beer.
Like many cities around the country, Columbus included, Buffalo is in the midst of the craft beer boom. This is not a bad thing at all. What does concern me is the overwhelming amount of average beer being made, and the number of poor experimentation being done.
One of the best places we visited was in a part of South Buffalo that has seen better times. Gene McCarthy's has been there for at least fifty years and it is at the end of railroad tracks, surrounded on three sides by abandoned factories. About a year ago they put a garage on the property and built a microbrewery.
There's a gravel plot with some tables, umbrellas and chairs installed and it's a wonderful place to have a drink. The beer is all sound, well made and contained your typical ales, stouts, wheat and a lovely Czech pilsner. This was the best beer I had over the weekend.
We went to other places, had some pleasant beer, but so many were loaded with excessive fruit and other gimmicks. I get that, you want some novelty and to stand out, but you want a centerpiece to build your brand on, not flavors of the month.
Again, this is not limited to Buffalo, it's definitely happening in Columbus. A lot of brewers are going to have to up their game very soon because few breweries are standing out in a good way. There is a sea of mediocre beer out there.
What it comes down to is that I'm tired of drinking adjectives. I demand consistent quality. I demand having beer on hand that is not so high in alcohol content I can't have more than one. There is going to be some attrition in the next year or three and a lot of brewers had better start looking at their recipes instead of the cool artwork on their blackboards.