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."


Comments are locked. No additional comments may be posted.

Alan -

That is both hilarious and a drag. I thought Canada's rules were bad. One question - click on the picture for a bigger view - why is the alcohol level listed as 0.9%?

Knut Albert -

I think it' a typo. It should probably read 6-9% or something. This was filled in by the Post Office man.

The English name of the department in the Directorate of Health and Social Affairs is the Department of Substance Abuse!

There is more interesting stuff in the instructions: If someone abroad dies and leaves me a bottle of beer, I will have to send them a copy of the will. If deemed necessary, I will have to pay for an authorized translation.

Alan -

Just because of that, I am now going to leave you a beer in my will.

Al -

It heartens me to know that bureaucratic red tape is an international phenomenon.

Knut Albert -

You'll have to write your will in another language than English for them to demand a translation. An Inuit dialect would be just the thing.

Alan -

That is a good point. I can use a particular dialect for exactly that section. I trust all bee lovers will follow my example as well so that your heirs will be well watered in their time of sorrow - or as soon thereafter as the Directorate of Health and Social Affairs, Department of Substance Abuse, Dead People Division will allow.

Anders Christensen -

In Norway in the 1970s there was a scheme to get around this. Somebody would make an agreement with a wine-dealer, for instance in Denmark, and prepay for a certain amount of wine. Then the dealer would package it up as private packages and mark them as gifts from uncle this-or-that and send a few bottles every now and then. It was probably illegal even then, but at that point is was probably not enforecable. The current bureaucracy are probably to stop this loop-hole. It's quite amazing how much energy they will put into trying to stop something that is not a problem.

Knut Albert -

A lady called me from the Directorate this morning. They had found out that the Cracked Kettle is a web store for beer, and wanted to know if I had ordered the beer myself.
I said no, this was a gift from a friend om mine in Canada,who had placed an order. The next element in the chain of evidence is that Alan has to e-mail them to tell them that this is a gift.

(The next time I'll tell them that the package has been held up so long that the guy who gave it to me is deceased. Which could lead to some interesting legal implications.)

Alan -

I may well be dead before you ever get this beer.

Alan -

Email sent:<blockquote class="smalltext">Hello from Canada,<p>

This email will confirm that the six pack of beer from Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam sent to Knut Albert Solem of Oslo Norway is a gift from me. Should I repeat making such a gift in the future please let me know which officer of the Norwegian government I can alert so as to ensure its swifter processing.<p>

Many thanks,<p>

Alan McLeod<br>
Kingston, Ontario<br>

Alan -

Swift action from the Norwegian government:<blockquote class="smalltext">Dear Sir,<p>The regulations of import of alcoholic beverage to Norway state that private individuals are not permitted to import alcoholic beverage themselves. If you want to send gifts containing alcholic beverages to Norway, you will have to send a confirmation that the shipment is a gift. You ca send it by e-mail to: postmottak@shdir.no or by fax: +47 24 16 30 07.<p>Best regards<p>Ann Karin Danielsen<br>
Directorate for Health and Social Affairs<br>
Substance Abuse Department<br>
Direct +47 24 16 34 25<br>
e-mail: ada@shdir.no</blockquote>To which I replied:<blockquote class="smalltext">Thank you Ms. Danielsen and hello postmottak!<p>

I had been given the previous email to confirm that the beer is a gift. I now confirm the same to the email for postmottak you have kindly forwarded.<p>

This email will confirm that the six pack of beer from Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam sent to Knut Albert Solem of Oslo Norway is a gift from me. Should I repeat making such a gift in the future I will email postmottak@shdir.no as the designated officer of the Norwegian government to alert to ensure its swifter processing.<p>

Many thanks,<br>
Alan McLeod<br>
Kingston, Ontario<br>

Knut Albert -

So, we have smoked out the Substance Abuse Department. (The Dead Guys Unit will have to wait for later!)

I checked with Wikipedia:<blockquote class="smalltext">The word originates from Latin substantia, literally meaning "standing under". The word was used to translate Greek philosophical term <i>ousia</i>.<p>

Substance may refer to:<ul><li>Substance theory, in philosophy, that element of an object without which it would not exist, or what exists only by itself (<i>causa sui</i>)</li><li>Chemical substance, in chemistry, a substance is an element or compound with uniform composition. If a substance is not a mixture it is called a pure substance </li><li>
Substance (medicine), in medicine, substance is any drug, chemical, or biologic entity, as well as any material capable of being self-administered or abused because of its physiologic or psychologic effects </li><li>
Substance (Joy Division album), a 1988 Joy Division compilation album of songs recorded in 1977 to 1980 </li><li>
Substance (New Order album), a 1987 New Order album </li><li>
Substance Co-op, a Manchester-based social research company </li><li>
Substance design, a London-based design company
Substance look-and-feel - an open-source look and feel for Java Swing applications </li><li>
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, a tactical espionage video game.</li></ul></blockquote>

It is obviously number 3, any material capable of being self-administered or abused because of its physiologic or psychological effects. What is amazing is that these people assume that if it is physically possible to abuse something, everyone will do so. And it has to be controlled to such an extent that a middle aged man should not be able to receive two liters of beer as a gift. At the same time, the beers can be imported by a commercial company and sold to young people in dingy bars after midnight.

Yngvar -

KnutAlbert, when one reach your age, only one bottle of good beer can kill you. The department for substance (ab)use wouldn't want that to happen. On the other hand, importing pale lagers from Bulgaria would be ok, as they are harmless to older guys like you. The only reason for that is that you wouldn't stand the boredom of finishing several bottles. Therefore you will have to give me all the good beers from around the world that you have in your basement. (You can keep the Bulgarians ;-) )

Anders: It seems your trick from the 70's still works. I often recieve bottles from abroad, and I never had any problems with that except for stating that it is probably a gift. That can be done by email and it delayes the packages for a week or so. Always got the beers without any more expences though.

Perry Burt -

You are now in my will. I am leaving you with all contents of my home brew kegs should I pass away. That should keep the civil servants busy for a few years filling in forms and buck-passing.

Knut Albert -

I got the form back with a signature and stamp, so I now have approval for the import.

Jeff Cunningham -

Wow, I can't believe that you had so much trouble getting a couple of beers. Time to start lobbying! Is there a craft beer organization such as CAMRA in Norway? If so, please tell me who they are, there has to be a way around this. I have another customer in Norway that would like 3 beers sent along with some glasses. I am going to alert her to this blog before I send. Please let me know how the beers look when you actually receive them.