This is a train of thought sparked by the large amount of sediment in the two bottles of Thornbridge Halcyon that I drank this week, although it's not specifically about that beer or brewery. For the record, I think it's a great beer, and after having been lucky enough to have a couple of pints at the Sheffield Tap last night, think that Thornbridge are one of the most most focused, exciting and technically proficient breweries in the UK today.
My question is pretty straightforward: How do people feel about brewers releasing new beers that turn out to be slightly flawed in some way? I made my feelings clear about Gadd's Reserved a few months ago, and would point out that Eddie Gadd correctly (but still quite magnanimously in my book) offered to replace any beers that people weren't happy with. Also, I'm sure that it was awesome when it was bottled, but perhaps it wasn't stable enough for the long haul (or even the medium haul).
This year's Halcyon is a great beer, but speaking to brewer Kelly Ryan, it's clear that they didn't actively engineer or desire the loose sediment that has occurred. And there are a few brewers currently making small batch trial beers (3 or 4 brewer's barrels at a time) which are just that - trial beers. And every now and again, something will happen so that a batch of a signature brew isn't quite what it should be. Should they be selling them? As a retailer, it's easy to sell the first case or two of a new beer, but the real test is repeat sales - are people coming back and buying it again, or is it a bit underwhelming? And if it is underwhelming, should it even be on sale in the first place?
I'd love to know your thoughts.