Friday, July 22, 2011

What the Heck Is Going On At Capital?

Apparently Carl Nolen was fired. Now he wants to buy Capital.



  1. I'd say Capital is a sinking ship, but it's already sunk. The quality of beers they've been producing aren't what they were a decade ago, and they've been in a process of pushing a new crappy beer every year since Island Wheat.

  2. Step 1 - Make better beer.
    Step 2 - I don't care, just follow Step 1.

    I'm sorry, but Capital's beer has been just.... forgettable. They've played on the pseudo-craft market for so long (Supper Club, Pale Ale, Summerfest, Island Wheat, etc) that they've forgotten what "craft" really means, or tastes like.

    Kirby touched on this ~18mo ago on this blog:

    Compare US Pale Ale (I don't think that they ever changed the recipe?) to something like Moon Man, and the difference is VAST. The hop flavor has been pushed to 11, bitterness is perfect (for my tastes anyway), and it truly is in another class.

    There's just too much Good/Great beers out there to bother going with something that's just "OK".

  3. Hey Trav your being a bit hard on the ole' Capital. They are what they are, a middle of the road brewery. Sometimes they surprise with something out of this world, but usually not. Right now they're popular in the neighborhood with the $9.99 12 pack can. The US Pale and Amber
    have been this summers hits with us.

  4. sure the do traditional styles, heavy on the lagers, but they do them remarkably well and win sh*loads of awards for them. Kirby's Doppelbocks/ Eisbocks especially, are on par with the world's best. As more adventurous breweries push the boundaries, Capital is the refreshing and consistent middle ground for their thousands of fans

  5. Capital still makes excellent Dopplebocks, but that's kind of where it stops for me. The rest of the beers range from passable to forgettable. US Pale Ale is ok, and while I'll agree it isn't very hoppy, Moon Man isn't as well. As a hophead, Moon man just doesn't cut it for me. New Glarus wouldn't know a hop if it hit them upside the head. Granted, they made the IIPA, but that's a one-off and it's probably the weakest double IPA you can find that says made in Wisconsin.

  6. Carl Nolen was fired, NOT Kirby Nelson! This was most likely a business decision. Perhaps Nolen and the board disagreed about how to expand their facility or they didn't like some marketing move he made or something. I don't know what happened but I doubt it had anything to do with the alpha content of the US Pale ale.

  7. To each their own, I guess. If you had to name 5 incredible brews from Capital, could you? I couldn't. I can tick off 5 from New Glarus pretty easily (Cran-bic, IIPA, Moon Man, Staghorn, Dancing Man Wheat), and the same with Ale Asylum (Hopalicious, Ballistic, Big Slick Stout, Bedlam, Diablo).

    With Capital it sort of ends after their Dopplebocks. They're not pushing the envelope, and they're not innovating. That might have been ok 10+ years ago, but they're getting completely overlooked as big guys get bigger (New Belgium, New Glarus, Founders, Bells, etc) and small guys grab the innovation/pushing the boundaries aspect (Central Waters, Ale Asylum and to a certain extent Tyranena, particularly with their taproom-only beers).

    I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm trying to let Capital know why I haven't bought a 6-pack from them since I bought a case of Maibock last spring (ie, 1.5 years ago). Everyone else is stepping it up, and Capital has...... Supper Club.

    Oh, and to Steve, Moon Man's just a pale ale, and a relatively flavorful (but not bitter) one at that. If you want bitterness, go full-on IPA. :)

  8. Did it appear to anyone else that two stories in the WSJ were pro Carl Nola plants designed to make Capital look bad?

  9. I do find this whole thing really interesting. Last time I spoke with Kirby (about a year and a half ago) he said some (sort of) contradictory things about the business end of Capital. He said that Carl Nolan was the best thing that ever happened to Capital Brewery, then went on to say how much he hated Rustic Ale, and that it was simple a business decision aimed at making a Fat Tire-like beer. When a brewmaster tells me he hates a beer that he made, I find that very strange, and it obviously means he disagrees with some of the business decisions being made, yet he went out of his way to say that Carl, as the leader of said business, was doing a fantastic job.
    Obviously it was not Kirby's decision to fire Nolan, but it would be very interesting to see why he was removed. I thought Supper Club (their biggest recent marketing push) was doing pretty well?

  10. It never ceases to amaze me how people are more than willing to voice an opinion without the burden of facts or knowledge of the truth. It does make for some intereseting reading, though.


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