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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Ten Penny was my beer choice for 18 years. I really liked the flavor and miss it. Sure, I agree that it was not high in the profits, but look at what sells these days. "flashy labels and free hockey t-shirts", of if you drink enough, you may win a trip to a mansion to see a bunch of half-naked women. Sorry, but I prefer to take my chance on taste, rather than flashy gimmicks

Gordo -

When I went to Mt. A in the 70's we started to drink ten penny because no one else was. The cooler in the pub was small and ten penny was always cold.

BTW, my home town hockey team was the Minto Ten Pennies back in the time.

We kept drinking it because we liked it. We also claimed that we enjoyed the extra .3% alcohol. Drinking 15 ten penny was equivalent to drinking 16 'normal' beer. ;-)

It was never a big seller though and that could account for the off flavours you talk about. Beer is not wine. It should be consumed fresh. Also, I remember Moosehead changing the flavour of Moosehead a lot in the early 70s. I do not doubt that the flavour of ten penny could have been changed by Moosehead since I remember enjoying the beer.

Funky Yellow Banana -

Yes Gordo so many weird and wonderful experiments were carried out at Mt A in the 70's and Ten Penny was one of them. It was partially due to bragging rights to have the stomach to handle the extra 0.3% as well as the extra flavour. But I think you hit the nail on the head when you said Ten Penny was always the coldest beer in the cooler and non TP drinkers would never steal from you (fear of hurling).

jesse -

It's a shame Ten Penny is gone. It was good and I always liked drinking it at parties 'cause holding that bottle was always a good conversation starter: "What the hell are you drinking!?"
Agree with KKW about the gimmicky beers being the most successful. It's all about advertising, and since Oland Export, Schooner and the rest of the "non Keith's" Oland's products don't do ANY advertising, it won't be long before more of my favourites disappear as well...

dfog -

I first developed my preference for Ten Penny sitting on my dad's knee, sipping the head off the top of his mug.
I still miss it, and still haven't found a replacement.


BRING IT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pTzar -

Raised in the middle US, Ten–Penny was far & away my favorite of the cheaper ales when I'd attended NSCAD in the late-mid-80s. Of course I'd also smoked Players Plains, drank black coffee from the Green Bean, though I'd come to add molasses at home for the first morning cup, and I had learned to enjoy Marmite on… well, just about anything passing for bread & butter. One of the advantages of Ten-Penny Old Stock Ale was it tasted about as good as it was going to taste at any temperature that wasn't warm. Being poor students, we'd no reason to ever refrigerate the stuff as room temp was already cool and cooler wasn't going to help it much. I loved that stuff. I seem to remember Molson Brador being somewhat close but rather too watery. That brew also had to be genuinely cold. Other than that, I think we drank a lot of Fischer and an awful lot of scotch. Keith's, though incredibly popular, for me came to define undrinkable garbage; Coors for Canadians. Whereas the rest were merely unappealingly, generic & uninteresting …just bland and not all that compelling. Thinking of ordinary Moosehead, I just flashed on something we used to call moosebreath. I don't think I need to explain it.

Alex C. -

Ten Penny was my favorite beer made by the macros. I agree with pTzar in that it was one of the few mainstream beers that didn't require refridgeration and tasted great at any temperature. Keith was the choice of the college crowd in Halifax, but it was terrible stuff. It smelled and tasted like cooked cabbage (DMS) and I could never understand how it became so popular (great marketing I guess). I'd love to see Ten Penny back on the shelves...or even on tap!

Rick S. -

I was introduced to ten penny ale by my friends in Pictou County (fishermen) and really liked the flavour it delivered, but being from Ontario could not purchase it here....disappointed!!
To me it was the best in taste and I really miss it's unique flavour.

Would like to see it re-introduced and available in Ontario as I would surely purchase it and even love it in draft form.

Rick S. -

I was introduced to ten penny ale by my friends in Pictou County (fishermen) and really liked the flavour it delivered, but being from Ontario could not purchase it here....disappointed!!
To me it was the best in taste and I really miss it's unique flavour.

Would like to see it re-introduced and available in Ontario as I would surely purchase it and even love it in draft form.

Rick S. -

I was introduced to ten penny ale by my friends in Pictou County (fishermen) and really liked the flavour it delivered, but being from Ontario could not purchase it here....disappointed!!
To me it was the best in taste and I really miss it's unique flavour.

Would like to see it re-introduced and available in Ontario as I would surely purchase it and even love it in draft form.

theCOOP -

When did TP actually dissapear? Thought for sure I'd purchased it from the liquor store some time within the last 8-12 months.

Got the taste for it the same as someone else mentioned...having the first drink out of the bottle when I got one out of the fridge for dad when I was a child. I'm 35.

Hmmm, no more Ten Penny, and no more Midtown Tavern. Terribly shame!!

AC -

I remember my good old ten penny days. Most of them. A long way back, the moosehead grand prix, the beer tent. Every time I would order a ten penny all the beer girls would shout TEN PENNY!!!
Also ice cold at the lake, end of summer. oh yeah.

Two wishes...
Bring back ten penny
and bring back lawn darts

ScottU -

My father use to drink Ten Penny as I was growing up. I always said my dad's "Beer Belly" was my liquid trust fund. He like many other blue collar Maritimer's bought a 24 every weekend, when he didn't have to work, and relaxed with his beer. It was the first beer I drank after stealing one from my fridge while me and some friends who were camping in our back yard shared it. It tasted horrible, but still did not deter me from drinking beer when I was legally able to.

My dad after smoking and drinking most of his life gave it all up cold turkey, except from some nicorette gum, and fudge sickles. He just decided he wanted to live a healthy lifestyle so while he was in his late 40's he decided to stop drinking and not too many years lately stop smoking completely. He tried to take up running, but realized his chances of winning the Boston or Bluenose marathons were not going to happen so he stuck to walks with my mom and doing a lot of yard work.

One Saturday afternoon in August my dad came home from work and just made his way up the stairs to the front door. He looked like he was in a lot of pain. He told my mom that he couldn't walk any further, so we helped him in the house. I told her to take him down to the hospital and get checked out. He was soon diagnosed with cancer. It was all through him from colon to liver to chest, it was not good news all around, and a lot of tears where shed over the next coming weeks.

Shortly after the news of my father being diagnosed iwth cancer I remember that Moosehead Breweries in St. John were stopping production of Ten Penny beer. I decided to see if I could track down a six pack or a case for him. I sent an email to the head office in St. John, just a random request to see if they could tell me where I could find a case in the province and I could go pick it up. A VP at Moosehead returned my email, and I cannot remember his name for the life of me or I would mention it here. He said he would check the company inventory and get back to me. I gave him a bit of information of why I was looking for it, figuring, my dad could enjoy one last case of his favorite beer. The VP got back to me said they found a case in Cape Breton, Sydney I think, and said he was going to get in contact with the rep up there and see if he could swing by the store that had it and get it to me. I told him I could go pick it up and would pay for all costs to ship it. I gave him my address and hoped that the rep would be able to get me the case. The VP soon let me know that the rep had the case in hand and would soon be sending it my way, again I repeated my willingness to pay for any costs in doing so and thanked the VP kindly for his time and effort. He asked if I would be willing to do a news paper article at the time about our story but I turned it down as I just wanted it to be for my dad and myself. My dad was all for it, but I had already said so.

The beer arrive directly to my house a few days later, each bottle of Ten Penny individually wrapped in paper towel and bubble wrap to protect it in a plain brown wrapping paper. I took the book right over to my father's house and walked in and told him I have a special present for him. He got up from the coach and came to the kitchen, he asked what it was, and I said "just open it". He opened the package and said "where'd you get that?" I just said I made some calls and probably got the last retail case of the stuff in the Maritimes. He had a big smile on his face and said thanks and gave me a hug. I told him when he was ready to have one I would have one with him.

My father passed away that October, he never did drink any of the beer and kept the box in his bedroom closet. I didn't get to share a beer with my dad but the hug was more than worth it. My father was a big man in August about 240lbs and six foot one, by the time of his death in October he was about 165lbs and was laying in a gurney in the family living room gasping for each and every breath. He was a good man who did what he had to do for his family and put food on the table and a roof over our head. His cancer started in his colon and spread all over his body, if anything I can do it's to relay a message for all men to get a colon screening if there is history in the family or are at the age to get it done. My father passed away at 59 but I know people who have died of this disease in their early 30's and if caught early enough it can be cured. I have a young son who's 17 months now who my father never got to hold, feed or play with, I plan on being around to play with my grandchildren. Please get checked.



I drank ten penny beer while on a bicycle trip through Nova Scotia in the 1980's. I loved it. It was a very weird night with some locals I had met along the way. Too bad it is now gone.

bluenoseguy -

I served up a few - very few- of those at King's in the late 70's early 80's. Acquired taste.

Alan -

Kings grad 85 - who are you?

John -

I'm enjoying a Ten-Penny Old Stock Ale right this very minute... I only have a few left, and keep them for special occasions. Needless to say, I don't agree with Mr. McLeod's assessment of this fine, extinct ale.

Jeff -

I've never had the chance of drinking ten penny but schooner has been my fav since I was 15 and i always say schooner or later you'll have one I started drinking them the same because no one would drink them now on the eastern shore everyone drinks it so let's not let it die like ten penny did

Steve Gates -

Anytime we lose a Canadian beer option, whether you liked it or not, we should grieve. Ten Penny Old Stock Ale WAS distinct, it was regional, it was different than the rest of the yellow fizzy crap that most people drink.It had a history, a following, it reminded us of a time in our lives that we held dear, it reminded us of a person we loved, it reminded us of a place we met our wives or that crazy bar brawl where you might have gotten arrested... good times,good people and good beer. Guys we lost another choice!, and that should piss you off and bring a tear to your eye.

mac -

it was my favorite and i have been searching ever since

mcJT -

We drank it on PEI, we drank it in Halifax in the mid and late 80's when we were at Dal. We'd drink it at the liquor dome, Cabbagetown, the Seahorse, anywhere we could get it.
Those were sweet days!

MikeR -

I was trying to find some reference to Ten Penny and came across this link:


Seems like an odd coincidence...

Anyone know if theres a "Burnside" connection?

Alan -

Funny. Burnside is the name of the district of Dartmouth where the old Moosehead brewery was located.

Steve -

Ahh, Ten Penny Ale. Distinct flavour for sure. Never liked it when we were quaffing such fine brews as Old Scotia and Oland's Export in Halifax and Moncton, but after living in Ontario for a spell and returning to visit the East Coast after consuming Canadian and Blue for months on end, it sure was a welcomed taste- and a surprising delight! It really was a good ale after all......

john -

I can't remember the name of the restaurant but it was just outside Lunenberg.At least twice a week I'd sit down and with no questions asked I'd get my Ten-Penny and a plate of cod tongues.Fond memories to be sure.

Sebastien -

I made a wonderful discovery this weekend ... I found an old «beer bank» made by the family business in the 80's (or 90's) for Moosehead Breweries! I shared it on the wall of my new business! Cheers! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=563183053717191&set=a.251323788236454.57332.115762698459231&type=1&theater

will i am -

Ahh Ten Penny...we used to go on brewery tours at the moosehead plant in Dartmouth...before it was an actual tour. We used to drink our faces off and eat steam sausages. The trip was usually with a bus load of bar staff from Truro...these were epic adventures!
But I digress...my favorite drink on this tour was was stout and ten penny...half n half...think hillbilly beer.
I drank my share...and maybe yours dear reader but right now I'm having a dark rum and I am raising a glass to a dear friend of mine who passed this year...a drinker of the penny ale without exception...heres to ya Newf...love you and miss you cuz.