Sam Adams At Standard Tap
We admit that our eyebrows raised when we saw that the Standard Tap was pouring Sam Adams Oktoberfest the other week. We wondered if the rationale was that Sam Adams had purchased the old Stroh brewery in Fogelsville. But as we downed some more local beers we admit it slipped our minds. That is until saw Jack Curtin’s blog point out that there was now a conversation about it on the NorthernLiberties.org bulletin board. And being that it is the NorthernLiberties.org message board there was a lot of conjecture and some misinformation. But luckily for all, Standard Tap owner William Reed weighed in on exactly why Sam Adams is on tap at the Tap.
Check out his post after the jump.
Hi, this is william from the Tap. I’m happy people are paying attention to the beer list, we think about it a lot.
Paul and I opened the Tap in 1999 with the goal of showcasing and supporting local breweries. It isn’t a gimmick, it is a philosophy we believe in. I have never understood beer bars that proudly proclaim “NO CRAP ON TAP”, but are happy to serve it in a bottle or can.
(And we don’t serve PBR in any form BTW)
We had a similar decision about our local only policy when Dock St reappeared in the area. We wouldn’t carry it because it is brewed in Utica, NY. The owner insisted it was a Philly brand, but where it is made IS important to us. When Dock St. opened the brewpub in West Philly, we started carrying their beers from there (and they are really, really good).
As to my relationship with Sam Adams: I worked as a brewer for Sam Adams, for 5 years at the pub in Philly. During that time I occasionally went to the Stroh brewery in Fogelsville for the BrewMasters of America meetings. The brewers I met from there were justifiably proud of both their brewery and the Boston Lager which they had just begun to produce under contract with Sam Adams. It was probably the only beer produced by traditional methods, and not brewed “high gravity”– which is essentially brewing concentrated strong beer that is diluted at packaging.
Besides Sam Adams and Strohs, most of the “beer” made there was cheap swill, malt liquor and alco-pops (Hard lemonade and malt coolers). Despite this, the brewers racked up many awards at the GABF for the relative quality of the American style lagers they produced.
These guys were more than competent. They had passion and standards above what was asked of them. It was ominous to me when Pabst acquired the brewery ( maybe 2001? ) and eventually they decided to shut down production. That brewery was minuscule to the big brewers; and I’m sure it meant even less to the accountants who pulled the plug.
Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer, is perhaps the only person who could have saved this brewery from demise. I am glad that he did.
Supporting the local economy is part of our mission at the Tap. Sam Adams’ purchase of this brewery is keeping hundreds of people working and doing what they do best. This is the second traditional brewery that they have bought, the first was the Hudepohl-Schoenling in Cincinnati. Also a very traditional brewery that would be considered obsolete and likely shut down by the largest breweries.
As to the beer… well they say that you can’t argue taste. I disagree, Sam Adams makes some great beers and I am proud to serve them. If you don’t like a beer, that’s fine, that is why there are more than one offered. I think the negative bias is common in those who don’t believe anything that is readily available can be great. I don’t often hear objective criticism of the beer, just dismissive comments about the brand.