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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jesskidden -

re: "The firm’s spokesman said Russia would remain its only beermaker outside Pilsen"- what happened to the Polish brewery that was announced a few years back? http://www.radio.cz/en/article/30613

Evan Rail -

Exactly! I just called Pilsner Urquell; they should have an answer for us soon.

Paul Garrard -

It is a con, no doubt about it. Thankfully this only normally happens to large volume lagers and stouts.

Alan -

Interestingly, that Headstrong license is micro to micro. I wish there were more of that to get more diversity into Ontario.

Knut Albert -

There are micros doing similar things, too, but I would usually say it's a matter of breweries helping each other out. When Nøgne ø goes to Finland to brew a batch of Christmas beer for the Finnish market, I feel it is perfectly all right. If Ølfabrikken in Denmark have a capasity problem, they brew at Nøgne ø to be able to deliver to North America in large enough quantities.
But there should be labels telling the consumer where beer is brewed.

Evan Rail -

Well, I got the news from Pilsner and put up a whole post on Beer Culture, where you guys would be welcome to tell me I'm wrong. The main points:

Pilsner Urquell brews under license in both Poland and Russia.

The Czechs export both malt and hops to their Russian and Polish license breweries.

The Russian Pilsner Urquell is made with 100% Saaz hops, not Russian hops.

The license brewery in Poland was built to Czech specs (they noted: open-flame heating, chains inside the brewing vessel) and is run by a Czech brewmaster, for what that's worth. I didn't hear about the brewery in Russia, but I'd imagine they meant the same.

There's a rumor going around Czech beer circles that says that the Russian version beat the original in an in-house tasting, I kid you not.

I dunno. Speaking as a journalist, this strikes me as a fairly typical sky-is-falling story. There's not much substance, and many of the facts (Russian hops?) are incorrect. In terms of getting indignant over licensed beer, I'll take a pass.

The Beer Nut -

As Knut says, it's all about clarity. The allowance of a "Brewed in the EU" label is a particular bee in my bonnet, particularly regarding this guy and his Made-In-Belgium Oirish craft beer. It's not just the macrobrewers at the wool-pulling game, alas.

Matt Dunn -

Well, PBR is made by Miller. Can we really say that the Miller plant(s) where PBR is made is the genuine PBR brewery? Hebrew is also exclusively a contract brewer. Pretty sure FX Matt makes all their beer. FX Matt also makes most (or all?) of Brooklyn's bottled products. Many, many US craft brewers contract out a lot of their production. As you mentioned, Flying Dog. Highland Brewing from Asheville NC also contracted with Frederick. Don't know if they still do. Lots of Ommegang is made in Belgium (though by their parent company). Is the Budweiser brewed in St.Louis the only authentic Bud? What about the stuff brewed in Newark New Jersey? I don't think it really matters. If the Russian brewer of Pilsner Urquell isn't doing it right (which seems to be less than obvious), that's a decision they or Pilsner Urquell made either deliberately to cut costs, for example, or incidentally by not hiring better people to oversee production in Russia. Though I do agree that all contract brewed beer should be clearly labeled as such so everyone can make their own decisions.

Knut Albert -

Nice excample, Beer Nut. Carlsberg did a similar trick in Norway. They used to have a brewery in Bodø, Northern Norway. After they closed it down, they still kept the slogan <i> Brewed under the Midnight Sun </i>. They were somewhat embarrased when someopne pointed out that it rarely shines south of the Arctic Circel.

jesskidden -

Matt Dunn said - "Hebrew is also exclusively a contract brewer. Pretty sure FX Matt makes all their beer."

Actually, The Shmaltz "Hebrew" beers are made in New York, but by Olde Saratoga (which is owned by Mendocino, which is in turn owned by the owner of the giant international beverage company, the UB Group).

I mention this not to "pick a nit" as it were (one needs a score card to keep track of all the beer contracts these days, and you better use a pencil and have an eraser handy, as well) but the fact that, unlike many contractors or contractees, Olde Saratoga is refreshingly honest with what they brew and for whom, actually dedicating a webpage to the subject-


Alan -

That is a good point. I think it is also fair to point out, according to my recollection, that Brooklyn beers clearly say Utica on the label and that when Ommegang had a spike in demand, the need to call in the parent company was at least referenced on the label.