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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Pat -

Interesting commentary Alan...

I have this completely unconfirmed feeling that the realm of long-term alcoholics probably doesn't intersect the "good beer" world all that much, but I may be completely wrong.

On the other hand, I do have a large number of craft brewers nearby (I'm in San Diego), and I have attended events at places where there's really no mass transit/taxi cabs available and realized that there was no way I could even get through the flight of tastings and drive myself home.

I'm intrigued by a new thing launched by some of the area's "good beer" bars that make transit a bit easier. It's heartening to see some efforts down these lines, as I think any of us who live in non-dense urban or suburban (or, of course) rural areas need to think through these things.

Either that or I'm just getting to be an old Gen-Xer ;)

Alan -

Hah! We old gen-x-ers have to stick together.

I think that advocacy for public transit is a great addition to the good beer scene and I certainly know what you mean. Me and pals were stranded at a very good and very drunk beer fest. No public transit, no taxis and no walk back to the city centre as we were at a public facility that was not even connected with sidewalks. Whacks of car loads drove off but many were stranded and more than a few apparent participants were in the drivers seats as the cars took off.

Greg -

Pat - your comments about the lack of convenient mass transit in San Diego is apt. When I was down there a few years ago, I was staying in a hotel downtown, and while I managed to make excursions to a few of the bars I wanted to visit using transit, it certainly wasn't easy.

In one case, I was able to make it to a notable bar to meet some local beer geeks via two buses, but by the time I left, transit was no longer available and a taxi would've been a small fortune (assuming I could even get one), so I accepted a drive from one of the people I had met up with. He, like everyone else there, had had a LOT to drink - and he, like almost everyone else there, was driving home.

And sadly, in many of my beer travels, I've found this to be the rule rather than the exception. Another example similar to Alan's above: The Michigan Summer Beer Festival is held each year in Ypsilanti, a town that it's virtually impossible to get to from elsewhere without driving. When a bunch of us went down from Toronto a few years ago, we stayed in Ann Arbor, and one of our group stopped drinking partway through the festival so he could safely drive us back to the hotel. Most of the other people around us did not do this, and there were therefore hundreds of drunk drivers leaving Ypsilanti that evening.

So yes, better public transit is definitely the answer. But it's not the only one. I'm just not sure what the other answer(s) might be.

Alan -

Neither am I sure about answers, Greg, but as I think you imply we need to be asking questions. I think it is the job of we bloggers to point this out even to the point of a bit of straining of relationships with the fests or brewers or whoever. Safety and health are still real issues when were are not discussing actual alcoholism.

Pat -

Thank goodness for growlers and "Good Beer" enjoying friends who live within walking distance... that's the best solution I've come up with thus far.

And it helps that there are two breweries with a mile or so...

But having driven out of the (quite remote) Stone facility after an event or two, I've wondered the exact same thing about the state of the average driver heading home...

James W -

Great post. I see where you are coming from on this one. While know from my experience that enjoying a good craft beer is a more "slow" undertaking than drinking light lagers and macros. Hbeerepiphany.wordpress.comowever, craft beer in general has a higher average ABV and it seems most of the truly sought-after beers are rarely below 8%. I hope that the majority of people reading your blog understand craft beer enough to use discretion when drinking more than one or two pints of high ABV brews. Plus, what fun is it to get drunk and stop having the ability to taste the nuances in the flavor or smell the hidden aromas as the beer warms? This isn't to say people still do not abuse craft beer, but I do not think your blog is encouraging it by any means. Cheers!

P.S. The comment box isn't letting me input my website so here is the link: Beerepiphany.wordpress.com

Jeff Alworth -

"disbenefit"--is this really a word?

As to the hypothesis, I'd like to add a report from the Oregon frontier. In the years since craft brewing entered the scene, Oregon's per-capita consumption of both alcohol and beer has declined. This seems counter-intuitive until you consider why we consume beer now and why we consumed beer then. The focus now is to taste the beer, to enjoy the company of friends in a pub. Rarely is the purpose to get smashed. In 1980, there was only one reason to grab a half-rack of beer.

I believe Martyn's onto something.

Alan -

HI Jeff. But you are talking statistics and not specifics. I hear what you and Martyn are saying but does that excuse a beer fest without good safe traffic routes out?

Ed Carson -

I think Walt Kelly answered this question.

Jeff Alworth -

Safety routes is a little different issue. (Though in Portland, most of our fests are right on both bus and light-rail lines.)

I do hear you, though. It's perhaps the difference between the more communitarian great white North and libertarian US. We tend to think of things in terms of individual responsibility rather than collective responsibility--not always appropriately. As beer bloggers, we do have to be careful about what it is we promote. And, since you don't like stats, I'll say that I've seen a definite decline in the interest of Portlanders in getting drunk and an increase in their interest in good beer. Beer, moderately consumed, is not dangerous. So...

Alan -

I don't so much dislike stats but they only get you so far. But I hear you, Jeff, and I think it is true that in places like where you are there is likely enough public transport and the focus on moderation. Yet isn't Portland Oregon still a relatively a rare place, a bit of a beacon for the rest of civilization?

That being said, I think our perception of moderation is like the embarrassed man buying clothes for his wife in a 1970s sit-com: "she's... err... medium." I am not sure that most beer fans drink moderately and I am not sure that all beer fan behaviours are harmless. I have just never seen any actual proof one way or another from either the prohibitionists and the anti-prohibitionists.

Ed Carson -

Correct! We have built communities that put everything on the outside. Employment, food, and the third place(church and/or pub: see "The Parish of Dunkeld"), all of these, you need a vehicle to get to. Of course, this is all thirty, forty, fifty years under the bridge. And all we are left with is the problem of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and other substances.

Alan -

Exactly - there is no drunk driving where there is no driving. I thought I wrote a post on suburban planning being a factor some time ago but can't find it.