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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gr -

Donovan, as another correspondant, I have to first say you do a rather amazing job here at beer blog. You are a fantastic beer reporter. I am embarassed when my pathetic dispatches are held up to yours.
But I can provide an answer, what makes a good local. In my case, on the outskirts of Ithaca, which is a small city with a million students. The place I like best is The Rose, which is closest to my house. But like yours, it has a laughably small beer menu. The Chapterhouse has maybe 70 beers on tap but is a college hangout, and I havn't been a student in decades. Ithaca Ale House is a new and exotic restaurant and bar, but is somehow very trendy with a lot of glossy pale colored wood decoration, and a lot of people in suits and ties. The Rose is absolutely friendly, with a fire place, and a nice range of folks representing the area, from a few students, a few professors, and plenty of electricians, artists and anybody else, of what seems unusual in America, a complete mix of ethnic backgrounds. So, in a town with a million bars, I like the place that is:
-friendliest and
-most unpretentious, diverse crowd

BTW-I love whiskies too....

Donavan Hall -

I'd have to agree that proximity to one's house is very important for "a local." I'm at the age where I don't fit in at the college hang-outs (which in general do have a better beer selection) and at Callahan's I'm ten to fifteen years younger than the rest of the pub-goers (well, most of them). One reason for that is that most folks my age have kids at home, so hanging out at the pub is difficult to fit in when you have to shuttle your kid from swimming lessons to soccer practice to a birthday part, etc. then help them with their homework while simultaneously making sure they maintain some acceptable level of personal hygiene. It's no wonder the thirty- and forty-somethings aren't showing up at the pub.

KevBrews -

This is off topic, but did you see that the Boston Globe has an article about one of your sponsors?


Peter LaFrance -

Essential to an ideal local is an owner who truly loves what he or she is doing. Next comes a manager who is in tune with the owner and who is a fine host, excelent business person and genuinely friendly. The staff must be friendly, helpful and also enjoy what they are doing. The ideal local is a place where you are made to feel special. Perhaps the most important ingredient is the customer base. Without a few "regulars" (folks who have been there long enough to have seen the entire service staff change over at least twice, and friendly ones at that, it just won't have the feel of an ideal "local." The beer may be just cold and the food edable but without the above it is just another bar.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Peter LaFrance

Donavan Hall -

Peter, I think Callahan's is just that sort of place. I know it's in the best interest of the place to make you feel welcome when you are dropping a chunk of change in their till each month, but it's good fun to recognized and welcomed. Cheers!