A Good Beer Blog

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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

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Andy Crouch -

The celebrity/idol thing is a good point and is on full display here in Boston this week. I've heard several attendees and non-industry folk reference the word celebrity in reference to a brewer, panelists have joked about it during seminars, and I even had a couple people call me one yesterday after picking me out of a crowd (which frankly never happens). That's definitely pushing the boundary of the word into some wholly unintended place. There's a lot of fawning over brewers and particular beers and I can't say whether it's a good or bad thing. These guys and gals generally speaking make very little money for back-breaking work and long days and produce some great products, so a little fawning is a nice added bonus. And most of them handle the notoriety very well.

Alan -

I don't know. Why isn't it good enough to say "we are busting our ass out there because we love the fact that you love our stuff"? That is more about meeting on the level, to get a bit Masonic. That avoids the downside of celebrity - confusion of the value proposition.

But you know what really irked me? The "I won't brew with corn" line. Corn? Corn is good enough for Spotted Cow, isn't it? Ron seems to like Spotted Cow. I'd rather have a well made corn beer than another overpriced failure of rockstar experiment.

That being said, I wrote it at the end of a 15 hour day in hard black shoes and a necktie.

dan -

Regarding the Corn in beer line....the next line is something like "What I put in my beer, I choose because it enhances the flavor" which could be said for spotted cow, but likely not BMC. Corn and rice was just what they used to illustrate the big guys try to eliminate flavor while they try to accentuate it.

though i could be completely off base.

Alan -

We are likely all fairly off base so go with it, baby.

Steve -

I liked the video because it gives context to the craft brewing industry. It says this thing is just as much about people as it is about beer. And putting a face on those people helps connect to the audience. Regardless of whether you recognize the face as celebrity, brewer, or anonymous industry person, seeing the face speak the words is what makes the video powerful (oh, and the Sigur Ros soundtrack of course!).

Tim -

Well as anyone who has read Ambitious Brew knows, corn and rice were initially used to mimic the beer brewed in Budweis using American barley, which was higher in protein than continental barley. The adjuncts at that time (1860s if memory serves) actually cost MORE than malt, but they had to use them to achieve a brilliant beer.

As for celebrity brewers, I have extreme distaste for the idea and that is about all I have to say about it.

Jonathan -

To echo Steve's comments, I did think from an industry standpoint it was a great video. It made the point that "we're all in this together." I can' think of many other industries where people who in many respects are competitive with one another can also band together for a greater good.

And to be fair, Alan, celebrities only achieve that stature once people give them that power. I don't think they can be blamed for being fawned over. It's really we, the people, that empower that.

I would argue that most craft beer drinkers have no idea who these guys are. It's people like you and me that are so entrenched in this culture that see the most references, but we're a small % of the total craft beer drinker population, which is still a small subset of the total beer drinker population.

Alan -

"And to be fair, Alan, celebrities only achieve that stature once people give them that power. I don't think they can be blamed for being fawned over. It's really we, the people, that empower that."

I suppose that is right and one reason that I am advocating against it. As an add for all good beer it is a good step. As an expression of the marketplace event of craft beer, it smacks a bit too much for me but, as I say, that is me after a long day in a tie.

Sean Wilson -

I posted a few thoughts on the adjunct/corn thing at the Fullsteam website. Relevant part here:

"One part of the film that I was a bit torn on was the “adjunct” part. You’ll notice one section about not putting rice or corn in beers. While of course you read the script as handed to you, I also mouthed a few tongue-in-cheek words about “not putting rice or corn in our beer…except for that Southern Rice and Corn beer we’re talking about doing someday.” And for that matter, our sweet potato beer is an adjunct, as 25 percent of the fermentables come from the local vegetable and not from imported grain."

Shamless link here:
http://www.fullsteam.ag/2009/04/i-am-a-craft-brewer/

Regarding 'celebrity,' it's all terribly relative. I didn't know many of the people in the video...and I was in it. A handful of people wrote me or posted that they were excited to see so-and-so. Celebrity isn't a result of excellence in self-promotion; it's generally because a certain group of people want to see or interact with someone they aspire to know, learn from, or emulate. What's the harm in that?

Alan -

"Celebrity isn't a result of excellence in self-promotion; it's generally because a certain group of people want to see or interact with someone they aspire to know, learn from, or emulate. What's the harm in that?"

See, I fundamentally disagree with that. It may well be excellence in self-promotion and can distract people from finding better yet sometimes more modestly priced beers.

But I am fully with you one the corn and rice thing. There is a great American rice beer out there waiting to happen. Don't be put off by the barley Nazis.