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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Dave S -

I recently rediscovered Belhaven. Mine is the reverse of your experience. In olden times, maybe ten years ago, the bottled was porter-like as you experienced it. The bottles I've had in the last couple of years were lighter, amber, like what you had in the can. I never had it canned. Could they have two different lines? Or do we have two different tastes? I will look for the cans, and I too, like the "device'.

gr -

I am very fond of porters, and was surprised that my first taste of this ale was porterish, last spring. This beer seemed like a whole different item, although there have been a few months. (usually I have a strong taste memory, though)

ben -

i think that little 'widget' inside all of these draught cans is full of nitrogen. there are two ways to 'carbonate' beer: with CO2 or N2. Nitrogen is the gas of choice for most, if not all, real draught porters. the nitrogen (N2) bubbles are much, much smaller than CO2-created ones. they hold the head muchlonger. you pop the draught can, the widget opens releasing all the N2, and voila, you have a tap-like drink. cool, right?

gr -

Frankly, it is cool. I got myself a can of draught Tetley's to try too, it calls it a widget. And, best of all, it is easy to make a black and tan at home (with a pale ale on the bottom, and Guinness draught poured over a spoon on top)!!!! Impresses the wife AND visitors.

Stevetut -

The "little ball" is called a "widget" and it is an abomination to beer. It causes nitrogen to be released when the can is opened and produces an artificial creamy head similar to nitro-serve draught beers. Like nitro draughts, it results in a bland, homogenized taste that has had any hop characteristics knocked out. Beers that use them are not considered good by most craft beer lovers. Boddingtons is a great example. Although they make an acceptable( but not great) real ale in Britain, the stuff available here is crap. Beyond that though, you should avoid ANY beer packaged in a can - even if you have the bottled version. There are no quality beers anywhere that are canned - not Guinness, not Belhaven(used to be a good brewery)and certainly not Boddingtons. Why do you think NO quality microbrewery cans their beer? Beyond taste issues though, canned beer totally lacks any aesthetic appeal.

Alan -

Hi Steve. Microbreweries are canning:<ul><li>Butternuts of New York,</li><li>Oskar's Blues from Colorado, and</li><li>Hockley from Ontario.</li></ul>But I take your point as I do not love the widget beers myself.

stevetut -

I can understand taking cans of real craft beer backpacking, etc. now that it appears there are a few microbreweries canning their beers, but other than that, I won't drink canned beer any more than I'd drink beer from a plastic cup!

br -

in certain circumstances where beer in a plastic cup is the only choice I'll take it over the alternative of no beer.

gr -

Now now now, Steve, we're just having fun with a toy. Sure, the microbrew made in the pub is always the first choice, but this is a different category. Craft beer lovers know this, and for example, everybody wishes Boddington's and Guinness were better, but there you go.
Your comment about hops would EXPLAIN A LOT though, why the bottled Belhaven Ale is different from the frothy can.

gr -

Listen, Tetley's English Ale beats ALL these guys in the fluffy, ball in a can competition.
Beer advocate sez:

Yummy!!!!! Frothy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

stevetut -

Sorry guys, it sounded to me like you thought canned nitro-widget beers were really good. As for Tetleys and comments on Beer Advocate extolling its virtues -- you can find people there who rate Labatt Blue and Coors highly too. Just because it gets some raves there doesn't mean anything. Also, there's no such thing as so-called English "pub ale". It's a marketing ploy used to sucker drinkers who don't know British beers. Real ales are what you find in any decent pub over there. The next closest thing are bottle-conditioned ales. Tetleys in a can is neither.

John Jones -

I stumbled across Belhaven Draft at a Scottish Pub in Savannah, Georgia called Molly MacPhersons. The Belhaven Draft was the best Ale I have ever had. When I got back to Atlanta I found Belhaven Ale in the bottle. It did not have any where close to the same taste as the Pub. I contacted Belhaven and finally found the Belhaven Pub in Cans which is so close to the Draft. This is the Belhaven you all want to try and get a hold of if you cannot find a pub with the Belhaven Draft. Yes it does have a widget in the can. You will not be disappointed. John Jones - Atlanta, Georgia

tom mcclure -

best dark beer ive tasted but hard to find in abilene,texas