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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Gary Gillman -

My view is we should not curtail imports. Transport costs can be lowered by further resort to canning and using lighter forms of glass.

Also, what really is the difference to shipping a B.C. brand, say, to Ontario or further east, and bringing beer in from the EU?

Imported beer often arrives here within two months or so from packaging, and most seems to come in within 3 months. That is fresh beer essentially, provided not mishandled on the trip over (but that would be the exception). A three month sales window compares favourably I believe to the time in which a lot of domestic beer is sold. True, some import beer can be found at LCBO packaged, say, 6 months ago, but careful shopping can increase the chances of buying something packaged in half that time. And I think it is fair to say much of the beer at 4-5 months old is still often pretty good.

I really believe too that bringing in good imports is good for domestic beer. It raises interest in beer generally, and provides inspiration and context for the domestic brewer.


Alan -

Well, I was having a think about this and realize I have a conceptual contradiction which you are pointing out. My "local" included upstate NY but it is also "imported" when I bring it over the border after grocery shopping. The better way of phrasing it would be "distant" beer v. "local".

Gary Gillman -

Certainly all things being equal, the local product is preferable. I've had local beer (too often) which was oxidized or otherwise not at its best, but general point certainly taken.

In the end, I'd say buy the best of the local and best (including freshest) of the more distant..


Jason Harris -

The only imports (as in EU) beers I drink regularly are Franziskaner and Weinstephaner, but I'd miss them. Otherwise local stuff all the way.

Note that I am in fact in California and not Canada

Also, I haven't had the Trade Winds Tripel, but the Bruery does have some solid beers. Their best IMO was their Humulus Lager. Too bad they never bottled it.

Alan -

I hadn't thought of Weinstephaner. That changes everything.

And I am sure the Bruery does a better beer experience than an auslander like me gets to have. But the fact is that it was wonky. I am off soon to beer shop in New England and have spied a place with bottles of Lost Abbey. I may buy one and try it before buying others. It is good to be careful.

Jason Harris -

Most of Lost Abbey's beers should have a good shelf life, they tend to be the styles that age fairly well

Bruce Ticknor -

I really enjoy a lot of Ontario's craft beers but there are only so many of them.
I like the variety provided by the imports but I also wish that I could easily get more beers from other Canadian provinces.
That said, a lot of the 'imports' at the LCBO aren't worth the shelf space, and their are damned few B.C. beers (for instance) to be found there.
I guess B.C. doesn't really fit you're definition of 'local' and given Canadian laws it is probably closer to 'imported' than 'local'.
Nevertheless, I would miss the EU and American imports.

Knut -

It's not only a matter of local versus distant, it is also a matter of which beers age and travel well. I find many session beers are better close to the source, and there are farmhouse breweries here in Norway who are very reluctant to ship beers out of their region.
But the question of cans is very relevant to this.

Do Canadians seriously think they can survive on domestic wine?

I question polls like this. It's like asking people if they want greener and more eco-friendly food. They answer yes, but the choices they actually make in the stores is influenced by lots of other considerations.

Dave Thackeray -

Hey Alan!

You've a real sticky wicket here.

On the one hand you're at the mercy of the human preference for variety. I imagine there are some real hero beers spread across the US as is the case here in the UK - although domestically, tthe very furthest a British ale travels is measured in hundreds of miles at most. Another paradox - say we were to imbibe at the source, in the majority of cases you actually pay more than if that beer had travelled from coast to coast!

On the other hand you want to shop local. I think in many cases we could avoid buying imported beer if breweries generically were more in sync with the needs and changing palates of their drinkers.

You might be able to brew seasonal beers - that should be applauded to a degree, but can you brew dependent on people's swinging predilections for dark, then wheat, then Lambic and back? It's this sensitivity to preference that gives the best breweries, but certainly not those in the majority, the chance to enjoy thriving times.

This isn't A Good Beer Blog, Alan - it's a Fantastic one. Keep coming up with these thoughtful articles. Great work!