Which brewery/bar/restaurant/bottleshop/other place in the Mid-Atlantic has passed its prime, and why?
3 Stars jumped the shark 2 years ago. They are literally just hype and marketing at this point. Their new car series is lame and the beer is sub par.
I also think that Lost Rhino has jumped the shark a bit too.
I’d probably go with the DC OGs - 3 Stars and DC Brau. I’m sure they’re doing well, but I haven’t had anything new from them that was super solid in quite some time. They both seem to have solid followings inside the district, but I think they’re playing off a lot of the DC-centric element more than anything they’re actually brewing.
DC Brau’s Alpha Domina Mellis releases have been good, but their collaborations were hit or miss. Solar Abyss is really the last thing that wowed me from them, and that was over 4 years ago… If they could replace their core beers with Yonder Cities, OTWOA and Penn Quarter Porter and make them readily available, I’d be onboard again.
3 Stars was kind of fun towards the beginning. I went to a homebrew event there years ago and wasn’t impressed by the brewer/owner’s attitude. I’ve been back once since they built their little beer garden/building inside their facility. It’s fine, but feels overpriced for what you get in my opinion, even if it’s on par with the rest of the locals when it comes to prices.
I suppose you could lump in Lost Rhino in that same pack, they all opened up around the same time as one another and have all been surpassed by other local breweries.
Since this isn’t just about DC, I’ll throw in at least one brewery from a bit further away.
Dogfish Head: I still “like” them, but as Andy mentioned at the last DC tasting, when was the last time anyone bought a DFH beer? Dick ruined the question since he actually had bought some DFH prior to the tasting, but the question still stands.
I actually have enjoyed a number of the “limited” release beers (whether they are limited run bottles/cans or if they were draft only at one of the Alehouses). They range from pretty good to average. A few have that weird kind of under attenuated, too sweet, with flat mouthfeel, but most of those were more than a year ago and almost all of them were the draft versions of their beer.
My complaints have nothing to do with sour grapes from Sam’s backlash against Ratebeer or his defending the integrity of beer journalism or whatever. When they do a beer well, they can do it well. They definitely poured their hearts into Dogfish Head Raison Brett’ra a few years back. Some of their taproom only stuff is good. Their mainstream stuff just doesn’t hold the same allure as it used to.