A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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matt -

that's the worst writeup of this truly incredible ale i could have possibly imagined.

shame on you.

go have a nice cold coors light.

Alan -

Boo. Go hug a malt extract manufacturer.

Alan -

And here is a test. Go buy a $4.95 a quart Rogue Dead Guy Ale available now at the LCBO as well as a $29.96 Headstrong. Do a side by side. Then apologize and admit my last sentence is right.

John Lennig -

Well, it's nice to see this brew out in BC, altho it's only available as a SIPP LCB jargon for restaurants only. I had to order a case(that's a good thing!) to get it. I first found it in a private store.

About 7 years ago, it was available in LCB stores as a 6 pack 340ml bottles. Passing thru Belzberg, Montana, I stopped in at Big Hole Brewing, chatted, got some freebies. Anyway, nice to see it here, at 3.19/650ml, it's good price, and I LIKE IT!

John Lennig -

Hmmmm, something didn't sound right.... it was Belgrade, Montana, not Belzberg..... Big Home Brewing

bob -

I've had a few beers in my day - yah know? And frankly, only Anchor Steam and Creemore Springs (when it's fresh) manage to step up to the plate the way Headstrong does. Truly incredible ale and lager at a decent price, too.

Jones -

The first Headstrong I had I thought was honestly good. But Alan is right. Compare this to a Rogue Dead Guy Ale, or even a locally brewed Mill St. Tankhouse Ale, both are many times over much much better beers.

Alan -

Yet for the price point, it could be fair value.

Corso -


Does anyone know of an email address for Headstrong Pale Ale? I would like to contact them.

Thank you!


essemee -

Headstrong Pale Ale brewed in Guelph, Ontario by Wellington.
Craft beers must be fresh; when fresh, the Headstrong Pale Ale is the best beer value available, from can or bottle, in Ontario.
Of those who enjoy real ales, this statement probably applies to the great majority (greater than 80%); I'm talking of those who do not place themselves above others, those who simply enjoy good beer.

Alan -

That last bit makes no sense - unless you are trying to say we are to limit ourselves to what the herd goes for.

essemee -

The "herd" is drinking 'Canadian', 'Blue', 'Bud', 'Coors' and sometimes 'Laker/Lakeport' or 'Brava'. The last time I looked there was no stampede to the tiny space on the shelf at some, few, LCBO stores where there was Headstrong.
Back to your original commentary, the Headstrong PA is simply mislabeled. It should say 'North American Ale' but then who would buy it? It is fine the way it is; it doesn't need more yeast flavour and it certainly doesn't need more Goldings. Western American hops are just fine thanks. BTW - Some of the wells from which Guelph, Ontario draws water are amongst the hardest municipal water sources on this continent.

Pootz -

There are no malt extracts in the Wellington version for a fact. If it seems sweet it's because the finished product weighs in at 17 plato but hasn't the bittering to carry the malts with the second grade bramlings and fuggles used in this version.

It IS the bargain of the LCBO beer section and it rots Wellington's socks off that it does better than many of their bottle sales.

Alan -

Well, I should try again as there is a reasonable chance I had a beer that sat on a shelf in addition to the insufficient hopping.

mike -

its just alcohol. everyone chill.

Bill -

I would just like to say that I love the Headstrongs. They are back and better than every. I live here in British Columbia. They have actually brought them out in a 473ml Can. They have the great original Pale Ale and the New Munich Lager. Try them out you can find them in almost any Private store in B.C. and if you can't just ask and they will bring them in for you. The new Munich Lager is just great. Hope this helps.

Ken -

Does anyone know where I can order this beer online? I lived out in Montana for a short time and fell in love with Headstrong, but alas I live in New York where it is not available. Thanks.

Ron W -

Ken, some information that may help you track down this beer. The headstrong pale ale now sold in Ontario is, according to the can, now produced by Big Hole Brewing Company, Utica, NY 13502. I think you will find that the only brewery in that Zip Code is Matt FX Brewing Company.

The headstrong munich lager mentioned above is also available in Ontario, brewed at Big Hole Brewing Company, LaCrosse, WI, 54601. Again, the only brewery in that Zip Code is City Brewing Company. Both beers are packaged in 473 mL cans (i.e. 16 US ounces) and give a web address of www.bigholebrewing.com. You will see that going there is a dead end.

It would appear that someone owns the brewery name, trademarks and recipes of this defunct Montana brewery and is contracting out the brewing and canning of the beer to others, for sale to at least one large buyer, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It may take some sleuthing to figure out how to get hold of this beer short of visiting Ontario, since it seems to have no web presence. Or perhaps a visit to Matt's in Utica?

Alan -

Interesting. I had no idea, Ron.

Brian -

Drinking a Headstong Pale Ale brewed in Utica right now and must say I like it more than 95% of what the LCBO carries. I might put the Anchor Liberty and a couple others ahead of it but for $2.05 I can easily live with it.

Zev -

This is the best beer of all time

Matthew -

I am a recent immigrant to Canada currently drinking a 473 ml can of 5.5% headstrong pale ale. I bought it today at an LCBO in Peterborough, ON and have never heard of it before. Normally I drink IPA, except I can't find an American Style IPA in Canada. The headstrong pale ale is, I think, the closest that I have come, and it's from the States. Forget Alexander Keith's, it doesn't do it for me. I normally drink Summit IPA, or Redhook Longhammer. Rogue Yellow Snow if I'm feeling wealthy. Can someone please tell me where I can get decent American Style IPA in Ontario? Thanks.

Martin Cuda -

Headstrong Pale Ale brewed in Utica, New York.

I agree with one of the comments that "a fuller yeast presence would bring it together better." Although overall I definitely enjoy this ale.

Due to the current economic conditions I have been shopping predominantly for North American beers. The LCBO in Cambridge unfortunately does not have much selection in the way of American micro brewery product. Headstrong fortunately is available and has become a regular purchase item as I can always find it. However, I would love to see more American product at the LCBO. We have been fortunate to have such great trading relations with the U.S. and we have benefited from it. So let's show our support for the Americans where we can.

rocknuts -

I tell you this is my new session beer...they have decreased the price $1.95 now, I buy in Ottawa and man this is the best beer for the price, and probably one of the better beers in the entire LCBO. You can't go wrong with this beer, and for the price, UNBELIEVABLE.

Jimmy -

Overall, I think I agree with Allen's summation of Headstrong PA. It's no where near the best in its class, but for $1.95 a tall-can, you would be hard-set finding a better beer around the C-plus to B-minus range. Wonderful value.

Dave -

Well ballanced and full of flavor best at room temp this is a great beer for those who like it "hoppy" and for the price you can't beat it because getting a good beer with this much depth is impossible all you have to do is buy a six of old mill and be the judge... Headstrong pale ale is beer and good beer because it has what other beers dont "TASTE" I am a Sleeman drinker myself and enjoy the occasional Guiness or Dragon Stout and trust me I enjoy a good beer that lets you know from the first gulp that enough was put into it to get somthing out of it. Good job guys!

Mike -

You know what? I can taste actual hops here. That's a plus. Headstrong may lack refinement, but, it is so much better than every other beer in Ontario that sells for the same price +20%. I buy it 'cause it tastes like a good beer that doesn't pander to the masses. At the end of the day, I'm glad there are beers like "Headstrong" who make a bold tasting, hoppy beer.

Jeff -

Seems they've changed the can.. Anyone have any info on whether or not the recipe was changed as well? I hope not. Had one last night and it might've been just my taste buds at the time, but it seemed a bit less bitter.. These new cans don't have the 40 IBU stamp on them either. *sigh

bill -

One of the BEST Pale Ale's I have tasted this summer...........too bad its in a 473ml can........which robs the customer by 27 ml versus 90% of the worlds production of canned beer = 500 ml.

Probably owned by Molson or Labatt!