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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Donavan Hall -

With Lew doing is Session Beer Project I feel a little silly heading up to Boston for an Extreme Beer Fest! What's funny is that everyone I've been telling about this trip gives me a strange look: "I thought you were the session beer guy," they say. "Yeah, well, the things I do to cover the beer scene." I'm no fan of Extreme Beer, most of it is way too sweet and cloying for my palate, but I'm hoping I'll find some things that I like when I'm in Boston. I've had a couple of Imperial IPAs that aren't too bad. Maybe I'll find an Imperial Double Bourbon Barrel Baltic Stout Porter that will change my way of viewing the beer universe? I'll let you know. I'll pack my mp3 recorder, camera, and laptop. See you on the other side.

Stan Hieronymus -

Donavan - I am a fan of many of the beers that will be there (whatever you might call them).

But, as festivals can be, it looks like a tasting event. The conversation will be about beer. Nothing wrong with either of those things, but the difference between beers that attract attention and sessions beers becomes pretty apparent. The point of session beers is the session. Craic, conversation, whatever, that won't be about beer.

Hang out at Cambridge. I guarantee The Wind Cried Maria and Ceris Cassee are great and sure would like to try the Weekapaug Gruit.

Lew Bryson -

"Almost manifesto," indeed: you're the one who insisted it was a manifesto in the first place!

I've run into a lot of carping about the top limit of 5.5% for the Session Beer Project, but I'm standing firm with it, at least for now. There are several reasons, which I will agreeably present in numbered form.

1. Even after losing 20% of my great weight, I'm still a big guy. My session beer may not be your session beer; YM, as they say, MV.

2. I don't live in the UK or Ontario where sub-4.5% ABV beers are readily available (Beaumont just e-mailed me today, telling me to be careful what I wished for; central Ontario, he claims, is awash in session beer but woefully deficient in head-bangers); I have to take what I can get.

3. We Americans, well... Like the byplay went in the "Due South" pilot: "Are you sure they were Americans?" "They drove a Jeep Cherokee, they all had new boots, and they all had big guns." We just think 5.5% is a session beer, and we're kinda lunk-headed about it.

And that's what I'm sticking with for now.

Alan -

Hey, baby, I was just saying any good campaign for action needs a manifesto! You're one just lacks the nutty adjectives and accusatory tone. Your fairmindedness and objectivity is so newbie. Seeing as you are new to the blogging thing that is cool but you seem to be keeping a level head about the whole thing - which is really uncomfortable for other bloggers to read. How are you ever going to get to the inevitable blogging regret post - you know..."I feel really bad about calling the Bears/Madonna/Bush/that last comment maker the worst team/singer/president/idiot because my Mom/my boss/I/my girlfriend heard about it and said I shouldn't be mean/such a jerk/unemployed/so wrong." Just saying. <p>Now, your points:<ul><li>I am rather unsmall myself at 6 foot three and probably north of 265 lbs. I just do not like to get swizzleheaded like I did when I was a kid but I do have a liking to drinking a number of buckets on occasion. Hence my love of the rare super low alcohol beer with great flavour.</li><p><li>I think Stephen B. is right and wrong about us being awash with session beers here but not if your level of strength is acceptable. There is plenty at five percent. Canadians have this weird thing that beer has to be at exactly five percent or it is somehow suspect. We do not treat them generally as being in a special class - they are "normal" because God forbid your average Canadian guy is ever challenged to move off the square he paints around his drinking habits that he figures is "normal".</li><p><li>We Canadians can out lunk any lunks anywheres so don't play the lunk card. ["lunk" is actually a word in Cree for "Canadians" - little known fact.] We really don't have "session" in mind. When I was a kid in Halifax our recreational options were, for example "going to a movie" or "drinking". The result intended is usually being "stumbling drunk". In fact, I have a record with a song called "Stumbling Drunk" on it by the band Jughead. In <i>Three Sheets to the Wind</i>, Pete Brown talks about the Danish state of mind to be attained called the <i>hegge</i> or something like that¹ - there it's the three beer buzz. In Canada, except for the very small craft beer set, there is the manly manly getting loaded thing that is much more like the Irish or Aussie thing - but not really the English getting mind-numbed thing.</li></ul>That all being what I see, I want session beer to let me have than physical feeling of being well dampened but without the pounding that even a 5% beer is going to give you. As I mentioned around here somewhere, home brewing +/-3% ordinary bitters on cask was the best access I ever had of this goal. So for me that is the sessioning I would be wanting to see more of. And at a price that let's me have five at 3% instead of three at 5%.<blockquote class="smalltext">¹I am too lazy to lift my arm and check the right spelling.</blockquote>

Adam -

Wow! This session beer topic has really got some legs. Who knew Lew could be such a stirrer :-)

Alan, do you have any sessionish recipies you would like to share with a homebrewer? I have a hankerin' for brewin' somethin' "session" about right now.

Alan -

I will have to pull out the old recipe book this evening, Adam. I recall that the real trick was naturally low fermentables that created body being in the mash like raw rolled barley as well as picking a low attenuating yeast that left a lot of residuals. I will hunt out my notes.