There are OG beers in craft beer and #FlagshipFebruary wants you pay your respects

11 January, 2019
“I love Hazy IPA’s.” “I hate Hazy IPA’s.” We hear this type of waffling almost daily. In craft beer, it’s either something new, a collaboration, an multi-adjunct experiment, CBD infused or pairs well vegan couscous steamed with local germ root and there's always a split divide of love/hate. This is why the #FlagshipFebruary campaign is so damn refreshing - a call out to grab sixer of an OG beer that got craft beer this far in the first place simply because people loved what was offered.

The idea began with a tweet from beer writer Stephen Beaumont, who was responding to a VinePair article about the struggles of flagship beers to attract increasingly fickle beer drinkers. His campaign has since garnered support from bars who are pledging to offer specials or throw events next month that highlight flagship beers. Forbes, who we kindly picked on for their 2019 craft beer predictions, also threw some love at the campaign. We're good Forbes.

We have no qualms calling the critics of this movement idiots. We are not “saving” any beer that may have run its course. Flagship beers paved an obviously strong and wide road for the now 6,300+ breweries in the U.S. Crazy newbies like Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale or New Belgium’s Fat Tire once introduced craft beer to a very saturated macro beer universe and did so with an uphill fighting passion to huge fanfare. And guess what any brewer worth their salt today drank to get so inspired to open their own brewery and continue to grow the craft beer industry that we enjoy today? That’s right, these flagships. A quick nod to Pete's Wicked Ale which is long gone but always remembered - thank you Pete Slosberg (who now rocks chocolate and beer pairing events).

If any of these OG beers secretly found their way into new packaging under a new name they could easily be industry leaders for a moment in the sun - hint, hint: 805. When we had limited choice with these OG’s we couldn’t give them enough love and the industry flourished. Now that we have too much choice we couldn’t tell you anything discerning about the last beer we had and the craft beer industry is on a slight downward trend. Hmmm.

If you’re a new home brewer, these flagships are great beers to cut your teeth on some core brewing principals by trying a clone recipe. For experienced craft beer drinkers, going back to the roots of it all can open up a new appreciation for what was created with what was available now that you “know” more about beer. Sam Adams is currently running a national ad campaign talking about the origin of hops that started it all in Boston Lager - and that beer is not on the list of their top performing portfolio pieces by any means.  

Step off your soapbox, carefully dismount from your high horse, go grab a pizza, some friends and a six pack of a craft beer that got us here and if you’re into the photo sharing thing - #FlagshipFebruary with some damn pride!

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some OG flagship beers to give a shot or reminisce with:

  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Anchor Steam
  • New Belgium Fat Tire (side note - 1554 was almost chosen to be the flagship when NB started)
  • Deschutes Black Butte Porter or Mirror Pond Pale Ale
  • Sam Adams Boston Lager
  • Firestone Walker DBA (one of this authors favorites)
  • Widmer Brothers Hefewizen
  • Allagash White
  • Stone IPA
  • Abita Purple Haze
  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale
  • Left Hand Milk Stout
  • Bear Republic Racer 5
  • Yuengling Lager
  • Alaskan Amber

Of course there’s solid flagships from every brewery as well so if you’re near a brewery, visit a local brewery often or are on the way to do some brewery tastings - ask them for their Flagship because they might not be there without it.