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Sixpoint 3 Beans

February 8, 2013

I used to like Sixpoint.

In fact, I used to like Sixpoint a hell of a lot. I felt that for a while the brewery stood for all the things I like about beer brewing. They used to be clearly dedicated to putting out a superior product, something that you could hold up to people and say, “You see this? This is a glass of motherfucking Sixpoint and you should be drinking it right now.” It was because of that dedication that they became popular, but popularity leads to increased demand for a product and you’re faced with an important choice when you try to meet that demand. Do you expand to meet demand regardless of quality, or do you continue to stand for what made you great from the get go regardless of that demand?

Sixpoint seemed to have chosen the former rather than the latter. They started contract brewing, which isn’t something I consider synonymous with bad beer because a lot of great breweries I talk about contract brew. However, Sixpoint didn’t seem to make their contract brewing uniform, and there started to be inconsistencies in their drafts. Suddenly, a Sixpoint wasn’t always delicious. I felt there was a shimmer of hope when they began their canned products, and I still think that the cans hold closest to the quality of their earlier years. However, with the legal backflips they go through to remind you that they’re head quartered in Brooklyn despite being brewed elsewhere, it’s starting to become apparent to me as a consumer what matters more to them than good beer: Image.

You don’t drink Sixpoint in a can, it’s in a #nanokeg. Their beers are brewed by the corporation Sixpoint Brewing, and then you’re given the corporate location of Brooklyn. Similar to Apple’s designed in California motto to keep you from remembering that their products are made in China. They want you to feel like everything’s coming out of their small Brooklyn warehouse when it clearly isn’t.

The worst part about all of this though is that… well, with all this focus on the image of the beer sometimes they make products that are simply wrong, and that’s what brings me to their 3 Beans “Baltic Porter.” It’s a big collaboration between them and a bunch of independent coffee houses and coffee bean growers, which once more calls up the interest in style over substance. They want you to know that they’re partnering with other people that share their values, though Sixpoint’s values seem to be, “Look how cool we are, we have values.”

When I ordered this beer, the bartender sighed and said, “This is the worst Baltic Porter I’ve ever tasted.” After drinking it, I flagged him down and asked when the bar had begun to serve frappuccinos. This is because overall, I’m reminded of the Sixpoint Gemini a “Double IPA,” that was barely hopped in comparison to their own smooth Bengali Tiger let alone true Double IPAs. This beer doesn’t call up other Baltic Porters I’ve had. Instead, it reminds me of Starbucks.

The beer poured a dark black with a heavy head that was surprisingly bright, almost white in its coloration. The only smell I could really get was a weak scent similar to a chocolate covered coffee bean. There was a middling body and it was a super smooth beer with no particular creaminess to its mouthfeel, it just slid right over the tongue. When it came to taste, as I said to the bartender, I was reminded of a mocha frap. There was chocolate and coffee flavor, and it evaporated leaving me with a burnt coffee flavor on the back end. With the exception of that back end I kind of enjoyed it but I didn’t understand what they were going for by advertising it as a Baltic.

I don’t know what’s going on over there in Red Hook, I just hope that things are getting mislabeled or someone’s gone a little zany for a while. I still think there are some merits to Sixpoint products, and I think that they have some great guys on their staff in a variety of positions but… I don’t know how much longer I’m supposed to wait for them to get past their branding and back to what made their brand something worth marketing to begin with.

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From → Beer

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