The Session #29 - Return to Flathead Lake
Recently, this comment appeared on a post that I published last year:
Just saw your comment on working through the pain from last year...good comments and helpful hints, except the Flathead Lake Brewing comment "not all craft beer is brewed equal"...this is true, but not in the way you presented it: Flathead Lake Brewing has won every award for brewing in the state, beating out all the big guys, and has actually brought home two World Beer Cup awards, which are the most prestigious awards in brewing. As far as "we've run out of beer, again"...well that's just crap, as an employee there, we have never "run out of beer", we have just run low because we sell so much of it to local accounts...so yes, not all craft beer is brewed equal...if it was, Glacier Brewing, Kettlehouse, and some of the other beers you mentioned would be winning international awards and running low on beer as well...To which I replied with this:
Anyhow, my two cents...keep up the good work...just keep it accurate. :) Cheers!!! - Info
Info (if that is your real name!), I appreciate getting feedback from employees at breweries I've mentioned, and apologize if it seemed I was ragging unfairly on Flathead. My comment about them running out of beer stems from two separate visits I made back in the summer of 2007, when I was refused growler service because as the person working stated, they were "running out of beer". Without speculating further on what was going on at Flathead back in '07, I will say this: A return visit this past summer showed a *very* different brewery, one that had on tap a number of great beers, some fun experiments in the works, and absolutely no problem filling up a number of growlers for me with some excellent sustenance with which to spend my evening staring at the lake. I apologize for not putting that positive update on this post earlier.The truth of the matter is, you're put at a serious disadvantage (and I'd be curious to hear what Stan has to say on this) whenever you try to establish an informed opinion about anything, not least of which a brewery, based off brief, singular visits.What's been said about first impressions often haunts the words of blogs (and Info, that's "blog" as in "web log", not to be confused with a travel guide, nor something that anybody reads anyway), capturing quick observations, often read divorced from the greater timeline, one that can frequently be misconstrued as concrete, permanent, final judgments. Unfortunately, though, most blogs, this one included, oftentimes neglect to amend their stance on particular experiences regardless of a change of heart on a subsequent visit. Something tells me if I'd be more proactive in expressing my pleasant return to Flathead last summer, Info wouldn't have felt need to comment in such a way that seems a little disparaging to the other local breweries in his/her community.
This month's Session pertains to tips and strategies on the road of beer travel. Lesson learned? Simply, don't be shy about voicing your impressions, but alternately, be prepared to reevaluate those impressions after repeat visits. And that said, be willing to revisit places that may have disappointed the first time around, because there's really nothing more rewarding than being proven wrong. Ultimately, I'm certainly looking forward to revisiting Flathead Lake Brewing again this summer (if only to fill another growler with that Flanders brown of theirs) to see what fresh surprises they have in store. This time: more pictures, more notes, and a promise to make good on updating our impressions. I'll hunt out for Info, too, if just to apologize in person.
The Session is a blog carnival originated by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. This month's party is being hosted by Gail and Steve of Beer by Bart. For a summary of the Sessions thus far, check out Brookston's handy guide. You can also follow folks' entries on twitter by searching for posts marked with the #thesession hashtag.
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