Alan at A Good Beer Blog, asks such a simple question for the 50th rendition of The Session:
what makes you buy someone's beer?
There are many different factors that can go into a beer purchase. Price, intrigue, label, style and reputation are a few. I do not use price as a major factor in my decision making. Many times, I have no idea what the price is. Sometime that is a bad thing ($6 for a Yuengling once), sometimes it is a good thing (just paid $2.80 a pint for Oskar Blues Old Chub and Stone Arrogant Bastard). I just don't want to judge a beer with a price in mind.
The intrigue of a new beer or ingredient can lead me to placing a bottle in the basket, or ordering it off tap. The first time I saw a beer (saison) brewed with hibiscus, I was intrigued, and it was delicious. Ingredients can catch the eye, or be a turn off. I have had more than a few friends turn their nose at Magic Hat's Wacko, simply because of the beets. I had been hesitant to try The Bruery's Autumn Maple. But what I found out was, both were good; so now I try to keep an open mind. Many, many people will say that the label plays a big part in the beer purchase. I would have to agree. I shop for wines by the label (I am not, and neither is my wife, a big wine person). It the label look traditional, I start expecting a traditional beer. If it is an active, busy label, I expect something different. This goes for the name as well. You know what you are getting when you order a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. But if you never heard of Flying Dog's Raging Bitch, who knows what to expect.
Finally, the two aspects that matter the most to me are the style and the reputation. I typically "feel" like some type of beer. Not always the same as the day/hour/minute before. Then I consider the reputation of the brewery. Have I liked the beers I have previously drank from the brewery, what beers do they typically brew, (if I have not had anything from them) what have I heard others say about their brews and finally, sometimes I bow to the almighty review sites- stay away from the letter or numerical overall rating, but look to see how people comment on the taste. If I wanted to drink a Belgian (or Belgian style), I would choose something that matches (maybe a trappist, Ommegang or Allagash). If I wanted a bitter beer, I would look to go Stone, Troegs or Victory. If I wanted something "Off-Centered" I might look Dogfish Head.
All of these factors can make a difference for me in my beer quest. For each their own, for mine, right now I would like a sour.
The Session #123: CyberBrew
3 hours ago