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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Ron Pattinson -

BA is the next best thing to a beer consumers' organisation? It's nothing like a true consumers' organisation and its presence almost certainly helps prevent one emerging.

And as a source of reference material RateBeer is waaay superior. More complete, more detailed. Here's an example of one of the glaring and extremely basic errors on BA:

"The common Munich Oktoberfest beer served at Wies’n contains only 4.5% alcohol by volume, is dark/copper in color"


They've got both the colour and strength of Oktoberfest wrong. What do they say 4.5% ABV? Because in Michael Jackson's World Guide to Beer it lists that, but the figure is ABW not ABV. I've pointed out their mistake to them and they've still not changed the article. Any surprise that I see it as a terribly unreliable source?

Alan -

Perhaps you've noted the actual state we are in over here. It is an interesting situation where basically a commercial interest has gone some way to corner the market on the conversation, gathered the available following and then promote this silly idea of brewers as rock stars. Frankly, it looks a lot like the role of an impresario. Do they represent the Malcolm McLaren of beer?

Jim -

The Alstroms and BA helped me get into beer. In fact, I'm a subscriber to the magazine and I occasionally read and post to the forums. I don't review beers, it's not worth the time to seriously think about what I'm trying to just enjoy. I do review places for their beerfly section. That, in my opinion, is the best part of the site.

As for the Bros themselves, I'm not a big fan. They can't take criticism. In fact, they tend to retaliate when one of their members, and even a paying customer, offers some criticism. They don't know how to run a business. If they keep that up as they grow (because criticism will increase when they grow), they're going to lose customers and members.

I heard stories of long time site members being banned for criticizing them when they turned the magazine into a piece of crap at the beginning of this year. People pay good money to subscribe. If you ban someone from your site for criticizing a poor decision to change something people pay for, you're losing paying customers. They've even banned people for criticizing them on other forums. It's almost childish how they act sometimes. They certainly don't know a thing about public relations.

That being said, I love what BA the community has done for beer. It's a helpful community (when you weed through all the "today's haul" and "what are you drinking this weekend" and "has SN Celebration Ale changed" threads. I've never really used RB. I've tried. I have an account, but the site design is so annoying to use.

Alan -

I haven't kept up the magazine after the one year so I can't comment upon that but I can't see them being bad businessmen even if there is a hard headed aspect to their approach. I think your last point is the key. Not so much about RB as how helpful the interface of the BA site really is. I don't travel five miles without checking out Beerfly and I get all my best adjectives for reviews there. It's entirely immersive and, like any episode of Doctor Who will tell you, as long as you stay on the right side of things, the benefits are practically immeasurable.

Tim -

I find when people use the word "haters" it indicates rote dismissal of criticism without considering its validity.

danny -

more and more I dislike BA and what they bring to the beer world. it just creates a feedback loop of navel gazing, bad criticism, and internet based hype. There is always a huge amount of "me too!" pile on whenever a flaw or problem is talked about that blows everything out of proportion. The criticism always seems a bit amateurish for individual beers; instead of talking about what is actually being tasted, people talk about what 'should' be there based on a style sheet description. ugh. and the hype for rare beers and hard to find stuff makes it impossible to actually enjoy smaller local products without fighting through ebay resellers and new beer hipsters.

I have been a subscriber to the mag since inception, and besides the bizarre quality decision this year (and all the fury that it created on the forum) the magazine is decent. though I wish they would grab an editor, some of the articles need some serious cleaning.

and rock stars? I don't think so. I seem the same people at every beerfest and event time and time again. preaching to the converted seems a bit too easy.

Alan -

Yet, in relation to the article, I think I have found the oddest comment I have seen on an internet comment thingie like BA:

"In cases like that, it's best to point and laugh. No sweat off our backs if you need an online comment section to vent. LOL."

I agree with the stiff upper lip (in all things) but needing an online comment section is exactly what our Alströms do to such success, no?

Jim -

Yeah, their hatred towards blogs, when they're pretty borderline, is something I've never understood. My biggest gripe with them is the fact that they have banned linking to beernews.org. They claim it's because the dude pushes his site on their forums (which I have never seen) and because it's a blog. However, it has some of the best news on beer releases (granted, it's a lot of the super hyped beers), in fact, he gets stuff up faster than BA (which is why we want to link to the site for the info). I'm of the opinion that they banned it because it's competition. The only blog aspect of the site is that it uses Wordpress.

I wish they would embrace the beer blogs rather than consider it amateurish. The majority of beer "writers" out there are bloggers. This whole thing is still in its infancy. Don't shun the future beer writers because they're doing it on their own blog and aren't part of some company or newspaper/magazine or they don't publish books on the subject. That doesn't make them any less legitimate. After all, beer is primarily a subjective subject matter.

I actually really like the magazine. It's very informative, though I wish they'd drop the news section for something a bit less time constrained. Most of the news in that section is stuff that's already been known for weeks before the issue is released. When I got the first redesigned issue, I was ready to stop subscribing. They did fix it and it is better. And while I understand the environmental concerns, they should have just come out and been honest with us and told everyone that money played a big role in that decision. Instead, they took the criticism personally (a big "no no" for any business) and started banning people from the site. They should have taken the criticism with stride and given the readers what they wanted. Eventually, that's how it ended up, but there was no need for them to take such offense. After all, these are people who paid the same price for a far inferior product.

They're hardly rock stars, though I think some people make them out to be. I haven't been to one of their fests yet. One of the things I wish they did with their American Craft Beer Fest (the one that's this weekend) is really feature the local breweries and the ones that are available in the area rather than push all these crazy "rock star" breweries that you can't get in New England. That would help convert the newbies rather than just give the converted their candy (isn't that what the smaller fests are for, after all?).

Alan -

To be fair on the rock star thing, I am sure they never would have claimed themselves to be that. It's just the brewers that get the slightly embarrassing fawning - and what exactly is wrong with being "common workers" anyway?

Jim -

I totally understand that. I have no problems with common workers. One of the best experiences I had with a brewer was at Kate the Great day when Tod Mott (the head brewer at Portsmouth Brewery) came out. Everyone started cheering for him and he just kind of shied away, truly humbled. After all, he was just doing what he loves.

Some of the brewers, however, can act like rock stars. I've heard stories about Jim Koch.

Alan -

From time to time Toronto has to market itself as "world class" which has led to the principle "if you have to say it's world class it isn't."

Being "like a rock star" is about the same thing.

Knut Albert -

I agree with Ron, as a reference, RateBeer is far better, at least when it comes to European beers. It has lots of dedicated contributors and editors, and no rock stars.
But I like the BA magazine.

Alan -

Why is it better? Better is such a subjective word.

Paul -

Why can't we get along? Might it be because of the heavy handed moderation of their website? That would be a good start.

tool -

that quote is soooo insane its not even funny. they ban everyone who hates on them on their website. the goatbros are facists who ban dissenters and then remove all traces from the site. don't even think about asking where the people went because you will be next.

Alan -

I had my traces removed once.

Knut Albert -

Better as in a much more complete database.