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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Niklas -

This just seems like accurate, detailed reportage to me. You really object to the use of the word "pairing"? You'd rather not know about a potentially interesting beer dinner?

I'm much more alarmed by the reactions of some bloggers to stuff like this than any sort of supposed snobbery inherent in documenting a beer/food event.

Alan -

Hey - no one saw that coming. Finding objections more objectionable than the object of the objection. No one has done that before.

No, I just object to precious price pumping at the consumer's expense. And making the drinker a passive object in the eating and drinking equations. And using beer as a cleanser.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe "...impossibly rich..." does mean a Pulitzer is in the mail.

Pivní Filosof -

I like pairing food with beer, in the sense that when I cook something I see which of the beers I have in my cellar will go better with it.

I like when writers talk about how different kind of beers can pair well with different kinds of food, so people will start to see beer not only as a refreshment but as a drink.

But there are ways and ways to do it and the text you quote is, IMO, not the right one.

Alan -

[Applause!]

Thank you. I am glad to know someone appreciates my art.

[More mad applause and whistling. Foot stomping even...]

Stephen Beaumont -

Pity you didn't offer the following excerpt from what is, purple prose aside, a rather well-written article, and reflects the whole point of the thing:

"For a population raised to view beer as little more than cold, wet and fizzy, it remains to be seen whether it can ever come close to the ubiquity of wine at the nation's dining tables. But the present interest should prove more than a passing fad. After all, it wasn't that long ago that a nation of beer drinkers scoffed at the thought of swapping their pot for a pinot.

Echoing Hahn's comments about educating people about beer through food, Renee Quayle says: 'If people are aware of dishes they can cook at home and have with their mates, then I think it would broaden people's horizons as to what can be done with more specialist beers. I find that you typically get beer with pub food, so it will be nice to see how far you can extend the range of food that can be matched with beer.'"

Alan -

You will recall that I do not feel that there is a natural leap from cold, wet and fizzy directly all the way to precious pairings over silver and linen.

In the intervening space we have good beer in grocery stores, introducing good beer to pals in rec rooms and backyard BBQs. I agree that food and beer are great together but so is good beer and a good chair not to mention good beer with good company whether there are even peanuts on the table.

Associating good beer too closely or too primarily with the sort of fine dining described in this article (and an unending succession of other similar articles) is a disservice to the cause as it places good beer in that rare place that few can either afford or have much interest in entering. Good beer should not be uncomfortable.

And, again, don't miss the point. I love to cook well at home as much as the next guy. My raw cheese collection is as good as yours. My complaint is about the marketing of swank as too large a part of the story of good beer. Good food as swank has its own problems of exclusivity that we do not need to introduce into good beer.

Alan -

There is some context available in this post of mine from this morning as well.

Alan -

Further evidence. Kevin Brauch's twitter twert today about an event in Toronto tonight:

"FYNN'S FOUR COURSE, FIVE BEER, BEER DINNER - tonight, 7:00PM...THURSDAY - GOURMET FOOD & WINE SHOW VIP EVENING - Cheers!"

VIP evening? Please. Nerds need to be called out when they start calling themselves VIPs.

Stephen Beaumont -

A couple of things i think you're missing, Alan:
1) Beer + chair or beer + company = no news; beer + great food + insightful pairing of the two = news
2) I've said it (to you) before and I'll say it again, there's plenty of room within the ranks of great beer experiences for beer and good company to coexist with beer and gourmet fare. One needn't preclude the other.

Some context of my own.

And the Thursday event Kevin is referring to is this, which has nothing to do with beer nerds or his dinner at Fynn's.

Alan -

#2 - agreed. I am not suggesting that and will now defend you on that point.

My only quibble is this part of #1: " insightful pairing of the two." Note that is why I highlight "pairing" as I just don't agree. I make a big distinction between brewing innovation and pairing as well. For me, talk of gourmet, high-end beer or VIP and the like is anti-thetical to #2. They clash.

Beer and great food? No issue. Pricey VIP pairing sessions? 30 dollar bottles of beer? Verging on anti-good beer for me.

[To be fair, though, I do see now as you say that Tuesday night is not VIP. Thursday night is VIP. Is that now a let down?]

Stephen Beaumont -

A clarification, Alan: Tuesday night is a beer dinner Kevin is hosting; Thursday night is the "VIP Night" the organizers of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo put together, at which I gather Kevin is appearing. I don't even know if or how much beer might be around Thursday, but it certainly won't be the central concern. Not by a long shot.

Alan -

Yes, my error. But the day I see a VIP beer event, oooh, let me tell you...

Brad -

> But the day I see a VIP beer event, oooh, let me tell you...

Not sure if you're familiar with All About Beer magazine's World Beer Festivals scattered about the Carolinas. In addition to the regular entry fee you can buy a "VIP" ticket for something like 30 more bucks to get access to a special area with rarer and typically high-gravity beers not available out on the main floor.

I'm told the VIP area at the Columbia fest last year was nothing too special. And in the case of South Carolina, at least, the event is limited to beers already available in the state, so for a beer drinker familiar with the market this ticket upgrade becomes even less attractive.

So there you go; hope I didn't ruin your day.

Alan -

Hmmm... how would the Fantastic Four deal with this new information? How would they save the world from this new menace?

Alan -

You speak my language, Brad.