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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Velky Al -

I think that is an entirely fair comment. From my experience of their beer, it has been imbalanced and not able to live up to its reputation within some sectors of craft beer geekdom. Given a choice between Dogfish Head and the likes of Stone, Lagunitas and Brooklyn then Dogfish will usually finish second. Simply because I would rather spend my money on something I know I will enjoy, and my experience Dogfish causes me to be cautious on that front.

Innovation is all good and well, but just because something is innovative doesn't mean it needs to be done.

Jeff Alworth -

It is entirely fair. Sam is constantly setting himself up as the arbiter of what good beer is, and so Dogfish Head's beer can be judged by a similar standard. Personally, I like to stay away from the whole "good" question. It seems both useless and also a little jejune. It was a valuable conversation 25 years ago, when North American beer had gone so wrong that it precipitated the craft brewing movement. But now it has that quality of, who's better, Pedro Martinez or Sandy Koufax (to follow your sports analogy). It's unanswerable and just sort of silly.

Jeff Holt -

Perfectly fair. I haven't watched much "Brew Masters" because Discovery put it on opposite something I like more. I am astonished at the almost orgasmic reaction the show has received. There are sites that recap each episode and comment on it. I thought only Trekkies like me did that sort of thing. I like your analogy.

Alan -

...and I LOVE your Trekkie analogy. That is gold. I am more of a Doctor Who fan myself but the correlation between sci-fi nerdiness and craft beer nerdiness is a great comparison.

Pok -

Seems a bit harsh to me. Anyone who runs an outfit like Dogfish (or any other brewery for that matter) has enough skin in the game to put their opinion on what makes a good beer out there.

Alan -

Well, that is fine and quite correct but then also do not hold yourself out as some kind of guru-tastic judge with statements like...

“Make sure you recipes are unique,” followed by “the world doesn’t need . . . (quoted above)”

...without expecting to invite consideration of where such a point of view is coming from.

Pok -

Sounds like someone asked him what he thought.. and then he told them.

Seriously though - isn't the definition of a niche market like craft brew the quest for uniqueness or "one of a kind-ness" or least a local varient of distinction? Why brew an existing style if you can't either improve on it or deliver it locally where it didn't exist before? Maybe that is what he is on about.

Velky Al -


Given your preference for Dr Who, which is thoroughly understandable, is there then an argument for saying that there are elements of the craft beer world who don't take themselves so seriously, or even earnestly, and thus differ from the more Trekkie elements of the craft beer world?

Alan -

I don't know how far I can take the analogy given that Doctor Who fans can be bigger weenies than Trekkies.

Stan Hieronymus -

Pok - I called each of the beers from Kout na Sumave (Czech Republic) one of a kind. New brewery, "old" styles.

And as I just typed deep into the discussion, I suggest you go listen to the chat, maybe in chunks (rather long).

Alan -

Didn't Sammy Johnson say there are no synonyms in English, Stan? That should apply to beer as well.

Stan Hieronymus -

Oops. That would be "I'd call." Lot of miles today and not a decent beer to be found in Junction, Texas.

Pok -

Okay - I listened to the first 7 parts of the archived chat. Interesting for sure. Sam's words of advice to a start up brewer are to get noticed by creating a beer nobody has ever seen before. I suppose that will get the attention and the business of the "hard core" beer geeks but I would expect the long term viability of the business to require a flagship product with more mass appeal - so yes, like a classic style.

Craig -

Enough of this disgusting and prejudical retoric. They prefer to be called "Trekkers" to "Trekkies."

Velky Al -


When last I enjoyed the beers of Kout na Sumave, I simply called them all "bloody marvellous" - anything else would have be extraneous.