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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Alan -

Is the answer in this odd book of ale poems and ale prose from 1860? Or this one?

By the way, please say this of me one day: "He consumed enormous quantities of chicken broth and drank immoderately of Old Port and Albany Ale."

Robert -

In the 19th Century, it was very common for food items (and all sorts of items of manufacture, for that matter) to take on the name of the city in which they were made, and individual cities would earn a reputation for a particularly high quality of a product. In the case of Albany ale, it seems the city became a center of beer brewing and exported its products all over the United States. (See this 1854 description, for instance).

It looks like Albany was American's beer city long before St. Louis or Milwaukee!

Alan -

So if Albany ale was in every city in the Union, where did the idea that lager created the mass market come from? How did Albany ale get to every city in the Union if that 1854 report is correct? What was it like that it could travel so far and receive such praise?

Martyn Cornell -

Very interesting, Alan - and I also note the mention of "Twankay" tea, which made me realise for the first time where Widow Twankey, Aladdin's mother in the pantomime, got her name from …

Ed Carson -

I think demographics created the demand and the market for lager beer. While there was a large influx of people to the United States from the ale drinking part of Europe,primarily Ireland, starting in the 1840's; a larger number came from the German States(the potato also failed there, and the usual political reasons.) German workers were often recruited by manufacturers( they were seen as more industrious than most.) By the 1880's, the large cities of the Northeast and Midwest were largely culturally German.

Alan -

Oh, I agree - that is not my point. Here is a good that was transported far earlier than lager and apparently quite successfully. We seem to know very little about it. It deserves its own analysis separate from lager.

dave -

In regards to "What was it like that it could travel so far and receive such praise?" could also be asked of 'Philadelphia Ale', which seems to fall in the same classification of Albany Ale in that the name is a place representing a bunch of beer styles, because they were shipping their Porters to India. http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2010/08/ale-and-porter-brewing-in-philadelphia.html

Alan -

And also Taunton. Seems like there were lots of trans-Atlantic beers being shipped.