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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Stan Hieronymus -

The real history of modern day growlers:


The Professor -

The tradition survived into the early/mid 1960's in Central New Jersey, USA...Fords, NJ to be exact. The Liberty Tavern made some mighty tasty sandwiches and a rather atypical pizza (although it was quite good). They had everything available for takeout, including the draft beer. I made the run for my brother quite a few times...the galvanized pails were gone, and the beer was dispensed into coated paper (and later, plastic) containers by the quart. I was just a young 'un and technically younger than the legal age to imbibe, but learned early on that draft beer just tasted somehow better (lack of pasteurization or just the gloss of 'something special' ?) In any case it's probably how the late, great Ballantine Ale became a favorite for many years. (at least until around 20 years ago, when the current custodians of the brand removed all of the great character it had).

I had occasion to drive by the old stomp, and it's still there (and it has been for 60 years!) I wonder if they still sell quart drafts to go???

Pat -

Not to be too curmudgeonly, but damn... the picture of the Park Slope hipsters kinda ruins it for me ;)

Alan -

I dunno - except for the guy wearing the ski hat inside doesn't look too bad to me, Pat. I have never understood the wooly hat indoors thing. Around 2000, I was doing some volunteer radio for a music festival awards thing and this young artist was being interviewed and finally I asked "what is with the toque?" He looked like I asked why he was wearing long pants and not swim trunks. Two worlds, I suppose.

Thanks for the history, Stan and Professor. Here is Stan's link all linkified.

Bill (It's Pub Night) -

I'm a cheapskate, so I had to snort at this line from the Times article:

Some customers appreciate growlers for reasons of economy (refills range from $8 to $20 or more)...

Growler prices are almost never a good deal. I like to think in terms of the six-pack equivalent (calculator here). $8 is like a $9 six-pack, which might be a good price depending on the beer (especially in New York), but $20 is like a $22.50 six-pack.

If it's the only way you can get a particular beer, fill that growler, but it will rarely save you money.

Joe Stange -


So there were no glass-jug growlers before 1989? I've got nothing to dispute it, just seems hard to believe they're so young.

And Alan, which of Ron's many underlying theories is the one that suggests growler history is a big fat lie? Couldn't find it.

Alan -

Joe, I was referring to Ron's underlying metatheory (ie "it's all a big fat lie") and should have used that word. Good catch.

zythophile -

It was jugs (ceramic, as used on old-fashioned washstands) in the UK: pubs actually had special "bottle and jug" departments, with their own separate door from the street, so you didn't have to go into the bar.

Jen -

There's a nice little brewpub in Aiken, South Carolina - Aiken Brewing Company - where they do the growler thing. Or at least they used to - their web site makes no mention of them. My husband uses his growler as a change jar now. They have a great Scotch Ale that I loved. I have to admit that I think we did it more for the novelty (I'm a Floridian - a state not known for being "beer hip.") than for any economical reason. Their brewmaster actually came over and spoke with us on our first visit - good people.

Pat -

Just got back from a road trip and we got our growler filled a few times. The last was a delicious Kölsch from Jasper Ridge Brewery in Ishpeming, MI and we enjoyed it at the National Forest campground right on Lake Superior. $6.50. Deal!!!