Where Do We Go From Here?




I make no secret of the breweries I have some sort of allegiance to. Otter Creek is one of those breweries. Long before they were gracious enough to donate beer to my wedding, Stovepipe Porter (RIP) was, to me, a perfect example of a porter. It was loaded with complex flavors, and really won me over to the dark styles of beers. I was just a drunk dude in Connecticut with Slayer playing in the background, getting excited with each sip I took.

The thing with Otter Creek though, was they...just existed. To many of the people in this “scene,” Otter Creek was just “whatever.” When this whole "craft" beer thing really began to explode, people wanted more hops, bigger flavors, and extremes of all kinds. OC didn't have that. They brewed simple, but well-made beers. Unfortunately those kind of beers weren’t and unfortunately STILL aren’t what people want. And that is really too bad, you know? But that's not what this post is about.

A couple of years ago there were excited murmurings about their new Brewmaster Mike Gerhart, and how they we're going to be doing some really exciting things...and then they DID! I was lucky enough to have had the chance to meet him and chat with him briefly as he poured at a speed blogging event at Beer Bloggers Conference 2013 in Boston. He was humble, friendly, and clearly loved what he was doing. Before I knew it, the exciting turn OC was taking, happened. First came Double Dose, which was just...incredible. That beer blew my fucking mind. But every single beer since then has been a goddamned home run. Citra Mantra, Kind Ryed, Overgrown, Fresh Slice, and Backseat Berner are all fantastic and I can’t urge you enough to get out there and buy some and try for yourself. They nail each style they attempt. Granted, for the most part, they are all “hop-forward,” but still. Don’t just write them off as “Oh more IPAs” because fuck you, Fresh Slice is the best Belgian IPA I have ever had.

The thing is, these guys adapted, they changed, and as far as this lowly blogger can see, they have succeeded in a market that continues to grow and bring in people from a lot of different walks of life. From styles, to recipes, to label art, they revamped, and changed what people thought of this once "ho-hum" brewery. They became nearly unrecognizable, like when I squeeze my fat ass into a good looking suit. Seriously though, how many breweries can you name that have so drastically changed tactics and came out on top? Now, how many can you think of that could seriously use a new look, and a relatively new product?

That’s what I thought. And these guys fucking did it.

All of these thoughts floated into my mushy brain thing while at The Wine Source the other day, picking up ANOTHER 6 pack of “Backseat Berner.” Otter Creek is my go-to, repeat buy, brewery. For someone like me, and a lot of you, that’s kind of a big deal. We are inundated with choices when we peruse the shelves at our local stores. I know I get terribly overwhelmed sometimes. With so many choices it is a rare feat when I exercise my purchasing power by purchasing the same beer twice. But alas, I find myself doing it quite often now with Otter Creek. And it’s weird. But a good weird. Like if you’re out in public and you feel someone touch your butt and you have that half second of panic, and then turn around to confront the butt toucher, and it’s a good friend. I know, weird, right?

So that brewery that you or I talk shit on for not being exciting? Well sooner or later we might end up looking like complete asshats, because they might be pumping out some of the best beer available on your shelf in a couple years.

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