Does ticking make beers old school or new school

I was thinking about the whole ticking phenomenon, which means some breweries basically rarely brew the same beers twice so they can feed the tick monsters here and at UT. I also read recently that some breweries are having a hard time selling their old go-to staples these days.

Made me wonder if this brand-destroying phenomenon just brings beer back to where it was like 600 years ago, when every brewpub made their own beer which varied greatly batch to batch based on quality etc. Like where you probably never got the same beer twice, even if they were trying to do it that way.

Our consumerist society tends to focus on brand, which themselves focus on regular, homogeneous products that will reliably taste the same. (Obviously this isn’t true for lambics or some other styles but for the majority of cases).

Anyway, I’m just philosophizing here, but maybe things have just gone back to the way they used to be, only that now they brand every new manifestation of the same beer as something new.


What makes you think this?

Nothing really. Not speaking with any historical authority here. Assuming many brewpubs of the past didn’t always stick to the most consistent processes/ingredients etc. since they had to use what was available at a given time.

When I first started to really get into craft beer, a lot of breweries would brew the same beer, but would sometimes not use the same hop varietals from batch-to-batch. They considered it the same beer.

Now some breweries are brewing with the same ingredients, but are using a dozen different hop varieties, so now instead of one beer, they can sell a dozen different beers, often with completely different names from one another.

In the last few years I’ve gotten flights at breweries of 4-6 hazy IPAs and there’s practically no difference from one to another other than a different hop addition. In some cases it makes a difference, but I’d wager in most cases no one, perhaps not even people working at the brewery would ever be able to tell the beers apart.

Exactly, before the brewer had a recipes with some difference, mainly in hop varietals from time to time, but they would use the same beer name because a good brand was the point of focus in order to sell well.

Now if they change 1 ingredient, they will call it as a new product or if the brand is selling well, they’ll attribute a number, a hop variant, a year, etc…(and of course enter it as a new product on UT), mainly to feed the urge of trying new products / ticking.

This makes RB and other reviewing sites way less useful than before because we see more and more 1-timer products over established brands.

This doesn’t mean those 1-timer products don’t have the same quality that the established brands…now mass ticking will simply highlight more a great brewer over a great product.

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It’s tragic, really. We’ve ticked our way out of relevancy…

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RB especially. Untappd not so much because they get rates fast while one off beer is still available on the market. Also I think brewery average score becomes handy here.

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I wasn’t considering UT as a reviewing site (RB and BA are, mainly)… it’s a tick rating social media site, which indeed works well with today’s reality of ephemeral product market.

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A few observations:

  1. It is not just minor changes in IPAs. Stouts and porters are equally to blame, as the same stout is just tossed into a different barrel or has a different coffee varietal added in. See all the Speedway Stouts for example.

  2. In terms of how old school something is, the notion of meticulously collecting ticks is definitely new school. I feel wine snobs have long been tickers of sorts (keeping track of vintages and having a cellar and so forth), while the changes in beer hardly registered for most people.

  3. In terms of small changes in hops in the past, I feel that hoppy beers have become more hop forward (unbalanced if you will). Also, with globalization hop flavors that are available today are on a much wider spectrum. Swapping in Fuggles for Challenger is probably a less noticeable change than Fuggles for Sorachi Ace.

  4. With respect to RB, the problem is that there just has not been new blood for Many years. It is not like an Other Half varietal gets 2 ratings from people with fewer than 100 rates; it gets one or two from @explosivedog or me, or possibly 2 or 3 other people, possibly more if someone takes it to the UK or Denmark. If there were literally 2 or 3 more times users in major metro areas this would not be a problem. By 2 or 3 more times, I mean about 10 additional users… which is a very small number.

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Ya so many beers locally never clear the 10-rate threshold so don’t ever rank.

For sure. Thinking that whole horrible line of 50/50 brewing’s one average base imp stout, which they repurpose a million ways and put that wax top on and $40 price tag to make people rate it higher. Basically those guys brew one beer.