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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Thomas -

I took it more like someone trying to show up fashionably late to a party, but the party is ending as they arrive. It's great that NYTimes is covering the beer, but let's be honest the hoppy bomb party is over or on it's way out. Doing more with less, finding new grains and spices to play with through the shortages that is where the fun will be.

Evan Rail -

Quiet is the new loud, man. Just as there's been a turn from buttery, over-oaked New World chardonnays to more austere, Chablis-style wines, things are going to swing back soon. I think it's clear that an advance party is preparing the ground for the return of unextreme beers. Look at Lew's session beer project, which just got written up in Imbibe, and Ron has been recently writing about mild (mmm, mild!).

In the Czech Republic, there are a few interesting unextreme brews: cult fave Bernard is one of the first popular brewers to bring back lehké pivo, or "light beer," with 2.2% ABV, as well as an amber version of its very good non-alcohol beer. Opat offered an "extra-hopped" beer last year, but it was hardly very hoppy by Double IPA standards (maybe 38 or 40 IBU?), and it had just 4% ABV. In many cases, bigger is still better here, but I think I can feel the ground shifting.

Wilson -

Great post. I'm all over the place with my tastes, and evolve constantly. I'm only now coming back to hops after burning myself out on them a few years ago.

I like the salt comparison as well. The pissing contest will continue to evolve, and always there will be something new to try, as well as something tried and true, whatever the season.


Alan -

It will be interesting to see if the hops shortage will combine with what we may call "hop fatigue" to reduce the ever present call to the extreme. Have some invested too heavily in the concept of extreme as part of their branding to let this happen without a fight?

Paul of Kingston -

Again - it's a matter of personal taste right? I do enjoy a force 10 blast of citrusy boquet with a medium level of bittering. So all in all I tend to think more hops are better than less. A massive Thomas Hardy Ale at just under 12% has a time and place for me too.

However, and this is the real beauty of the beer experience, I was recently amazed at the fullness of of a semi-local mild ale weighing in at a miniature 3.5%ABV. I want more of this end of the spectrum.

I suppose my point here is that there is room for all and more on my fridge shelf and I think that it would be a bad thing if the craft brewing industry eroded the independance of their art by trend chasing.

Evan Rail -

Hear hear! I vote for Paul to have all these beers and more on his fridge shelf!

Ron Patinson -

The year has started well. Loads of really nasty arguments on beer forums. Must be the hangover after christmas. I think I'll stay at home with my Brewers' Almanack. That never insults anyone.

Buttle -

It's all well and good to damn the debate and say to each his own, but I don't think anyone is truly arguing against this. With beer as with art, people are going to argue strongly for their tastes, and on internet forums, they will do so nastily.

The more beer you drink, the more you appreciate subtleties. Or is it the opposite: the more you drink, the more you need big hops to taste them (sort of like with spicy food)?

Alan -

Hemingway in the introduction to <i>Death in the Afternoon</i> said something like the second, something about that the things you love destroy your capacity to love them. That may be a bit dramatic. One of my favorite excess obsession moments was about 15 years ago in an interview on Morningside, a CBC radio show, Leonard Cohen admitted he ended a tour as he could not afford the wine as he needed to buy more and more expensive wine if he was going to be able to drink two or three bottles a day. He was up to a $3,000 a day habit.<p>It isn't the nastiness of the debate. It is the lack of understanding that the debate is an impossibility given, as you say, to each his own or as I would more put it - each is lost in his own.

Lew Bryson -

"In many ways, beer has an audience of one and that is you."

Lew Bryson -

Oh, hell, I got so worried about whether I could read your feckin' spam trap that I forgot to finish my post. Really, Alan, that thing's more a pain in the ass than most!

So..."In many ways, beer has an audience of one and that is you."

Great line, great thought, and a reason why I'm doing fewer tasting notes. I just don't know why people care if I taste nutmeg and orange zest and earthy notes. Isn't it enough that I enjoyed the beer, all by myself? Is that selfish, or existential, or solipsistic, or just confused?

Alan -

The real irony is that the reCAPTCHA has attracted an extra 537 Romanian spams a day.

Unless I am working in a thought (or misapprehension) about the brewery or a trend, I really only post the notes for me so that I can keep track when I am on the road.

Chris -


Here's something nearly as asinine as perfecting the 'hoppiest' beer...

A remote-controlled 'beer cozy'...Yikes...

Steve -

Hmmm... I think that Lew had it right... its all about what *you* enjoy in a beer... not everyone looks for the same thing in a beer and not everyone enjoys the same kind of beer. What *you* enjoy in a beer should not be wrong in the eyes of others. Personally, I enjoy many types of beer, but I do have some favorites... some of those are on the "extreme" side of hoppy and many are not. RELAX... have a beer (and enjoy it)!

Ryan -

I agree that it is all up the the person with the beer in hand. But I also think that with these extreme beers, we need to think about them differently. Why do they need to be served in pint or even half pint glasses. It is either due to historical reasons or testosterone. I do not believe that scotch is served in such small portions only because of the alcohol content, but rather due to the flavor profile. Strip the part that gets you drunk and could you really see yourself drinking a pint of scotch? I don't think so. It is hard to truly enjoy something when your taste buds have been destroyed by the drink in hand. I wrote all about this issue in this post on my blog:



ALan -

Very good point. We need more beer bottled like Anchor Steam.