Off KILT er Experience

For the longest time, Millstream Brewing Company has been the only bottled option for Iowa beer. Narrow choices: bad for beer folk. And then there was Olde Main. Wider choices: good for beer folk.

Several weeks back, I ran across Off KILT er Scottish Ale from Olde Maine Brewing Company, from Ames, Iowa.

“Yipee!” I cried.

I’m not an impulse buyer, but I bought some on the spot. You see, I’d been subliminally planning to buy beer from an Iowa brewery the moment I saw it. So it really was a well thought out purchase. Since according to Thoreau, “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone,” I resisted also picking up the Long Face Amber Ale. Another day.

I like the Scottish Stylie, so was happy to check this one out. It pours an attractive amber hue, with a lazy head that doesn’t stick around. The aroma and flavor cast toast, faint caramel and wisps of smoke in a malt forward drinkable brew.

Since trying it, I’ve read a few negative reviews, but I prefer the bottle in front of me to a frontal lobotomy. Some reviewers like looking for flaws. I like finding what a style might be, rather than what I’ve decided or have been told that it is. I haven’t had homebrews or commercial brews made by the grumpy non-beer advocating Beer Advocate  whose reviews I perused. They might really know what they’re talking about, but they don’t have to be so pious about it. Or they might be full of themselves. But really, I think this is decent for the style.

People who are no fun: pious people, grumpy people, people full of themselves.

Drink the beer in your glass and decide if you like it. I hope you like it. I’ll drink more Off KILT er. The bottles I have had were just fine.

For the sake of balance, how about I be grumpy for a moment?

Freaking distrubutors! So I thought to myself, I’d like to have another Iowa beer option at my restaurant. Turns out Olde Main’s using the same lame distributor Raccoon River is. I approached them about this beer, which they knew nothing about. This didn’t surprise me, but they said they’d look into it. After five weeks of “waiting on a phone call” or “not to sure of the status of that one,” I decided to go to the source.

Jeff, the brewer, had beer in my hands within three days. On the next day, the distributor calls to tell me he’s got beer for me. “I have beer,” said I. A little time elapses, and Distributor Guy pesters me about ordering the beer he worked hard for, since no one else in my area’s selling it. I’ll order it and sell it.

But I’m annoyed that this guy has no intention of trying to place this beer elsewhere, as is his job. It’s the same thing with the Raccoon River beers. They’re making no effort to sell beers they’ve contracted to sell. In fact, they put up road blocks for those who ask for them. Troubling and off-pissing. And I’m not even the brewer. I had to involve the brewers both times. Bad. Lame. Crappy.

Good beer though. Try it if you can find it.

4 Responses to Off KILT er Experience

  1. glennh2os says:

    “Freaking distributors!”

    Were they any different in NC? More idle curiosity then anything, and I know your perspective is slightly different now with the restaurant. I’ve seen this weirdness from working at the beer festivals here. Half of the distributors I’ve talks to don’t know their beers as well as I do.. It’s really actually pretty sad.. Breweries really care for their beer…. distributors not so much..

  2. Wilson says:

    The distributor I’m speaking of here and now happens to be the A-B distro: Doll Distributing. One thing I neglected to mention is that they don’t even include these 2 breweries (how many more?) on their price/product lists.

    I’d say there’s this same tendency all over, but varies from distributor to distributor. And then it varies from sales rep to sales rep. I work here with 2 distributors I don’t like and that don’t care about craft beer (one openly derides New Belgium, a beer he reps). My third distributor is very good, but they do more imports and by choice I don’t get as many beers from them as I’d like. If I’m going to give a distributor some cash, I’d rather give it to these guys (Glazier’s).

    As for NC specifically, you know my experience is specifically with Tryon. On the whole, I thought they did a pretty good job, though some reps clearly better than others. There was one guy, who shall remain nameless, I couldn’t stand. Chris (beerpimp on beerinator), who did Durham and Carrboro, was fantastic. Coupla good guys out in the mountains, as well.

    However, breweries have got to watch their backs. Beer drinkers like you, Glenn, are the best kind. I remember you letting us know about problems out in the market (in a concerned and helpful way–it was like having another rep out on the streets).

  3. […] Iowa Bottles A few weeks ago, I talked about the addition of Olde Main to the Iowa bottled beer selection, specifically the Scottish ale, which I found to be a pleasant […]

  4. […] Off KILT er Experience hits on a second experience with the same distributor, one that I see picking up a few craft beer accounts only to sit on them. […]

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