The New New Pony
Since it’s inception, Show Pony Pale Ale has had a couple significant tweaks in recipe and in brewing process. Sometimes beer gets changed in the pursuit of stability or consistency, but sometimes it’s in an effort to better the flavour. Even though we’re quite happy with our beers at the moment, it’s inevitable that the Last Best Beers will continue to be adjusted in ongoing attempts to further improve them. Some of these adjustments might be very slight, and some might be more significant. This blog post is an attempt to explain why beers should never stay the same and why it’s important to push the limits of our local beer community in order to stay relevant and in order to stay special. Like I’ve suggested in the past, we need to remember that beer is very delicate and each experience is subjective.
Designing great beers is an artful process, and like other mediums it’s important to consider if the work or masterpiece is ever truly finished. The nice thing about being a small brewery is that we can expect some slight batch deviation at the product level, and we’ve learned a lot by keeping very detailed brew data. At Last Best we use this data to manipulate and adjust our beers in accordance to market conditions and to keep up with our audience.
This leads to the idea of the “collective palate.” The collective palate concept explains how beer came to have regional flavours, it’s why west coast IPAs taste different than east coast IPAs and why some places drink more Belgian styles and others identify more strongly with German beer styles. And because there are no wrong answers when it comes to enjoying beer, and so many different ways to make excellent beer, we find it important to really determine what the local collective local palate expects from their local beer providers. This discovery process isn’t as easy as nailing it once and holding steady, this is a target that is always moving and something that we are always re-evaluating because people’s tastes continuously change and evolve. This is an even harder task in new and growing beer markets because every experience is relatively new. As beer drinkers, when we are exposed to more and more wonderful fresh styles and ingredient combinations we find new ways of appreciating and interpreting these experiences and we grow to expect new tastes. It is our job as a brewery to not only keep exposing you to new flavours but to also keep finding out what was or wasn’t appreciated about each beer as you experience it. We then sort through that feedback and apply it to our continuously improving beer offerings. This includes the new seasonal beers but also keeps us constantly reflecting on beers that we currently find “just right.”
Understanding this moving target concept has also forced us to realize that under no circumstance is any beer going to be completely perfect, but it also makes me really appreciate the magic that happens when an almost perfect beer is celebrated in the right place with the right people.