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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Pivní Filosof -

It is quite funny, and pathetic, when the so called "craft" (I'm getting tired of that word) brewers use the same bollocksy rhetoric as the marketing robots of the macros.

The other day a Spanish blog talked about a micro from Barcelona punching their chest while saying they have the "best low alcohol beer in the world" after only 16 reviews in Rate Beer!

RunawayJim -

I think my problem is that they define craft beer as a number. Should a brewery trying to take on the crappy beer market by making beer meant to have little taste be considered a craft brewery simply because they make fewer than 2 million barrels a year?

The Brewer's Association needs to re-think their terms in my opinion. You can be a craft brewery and make a lot of beer, it's just a matter of how you come up with your recipes. Each recipe made by the folks at Boston Beer Co. is carefully crafted in small batches until it meets certain standards. That's the definition of craft. They're taking chances just as much as any other craft brewery. How many breweries regularly make a beer that drinks like a cognac at 27% ABV? How many breweries took a chance on a beer that tasted like maple syrup blended with soy sauce? They basically kick started the American extreme beer scene.

Maybe they don't need the representation of the Brewer's Association, and probably shouldn't be benefiting from it, but they most certainly are "craft" beer. And the BA would be stupid if they booted them entirely. They should be kept on as advisers for the BA and its members.

dave -

The under six would include Pabst who I wouldn't consider craft, though I have no problem drinking their wares on occasion.

Unfortunately for tax law purposes, qualifying a number is the easiest thing to do (could you imagine coming up with a law with the terms RunawayJim points out), and for whatever reason people decided to follow along with that definition (b/c its easier?). Interesting thing, the IRS measures the tax by volume in the fermentation tanks, not what is removed from them (or at least that is what Jim Koch is quoted as saying in Ale Street News - Section A - June - July 10).

JustMe -

Here's an idea for Mr. Koch: Stay small. How many businesses have we seen that were great when they were small to medium size and then fell apart when they went big? I'm sure at some point Budweiser actually made a good beer. Perhaps as good as the stuff Sam Adams makes now. Look at them now. They're a giant marketing machine that also makes beer. IMNHO, if Sam Adams continues its enexorable growth it will, someday, be no better than or different from Buttwiper.

Alan -

Pure Silliness:

- Brewers Association has page entitled "CRAFT BREWER DEFINED"

- Mr. Papazian states "Contrary to what many bloggers and news media report the Brewers Association does not define craft beer. It is a talking point among the eight bulleted concepts. It isn’t part of the definition of craft brewers, though there is a nod that craft brewers do make craft beer."

Horse pucks. The Brewers Association is a key participant in this silliness.

The Professor -

@justme: "IMNHO, if Sam Adams continues its enexorable growth it will, someday, be no better than or different from Buttwiper."

Why...just because they're becoming mainstream? I don't agree at all.
If Sam Adams keeps growing and keeps making great beer, that's a good thing.
The other argument (unrelated to this one) that always puzzles me is the criticisms leveled at AB-InBev and other big companies 'invading' the so called "craft" scene (and like Pivni, I have become weary of that term too). For years, beer geeks pissed and moaned saying that the big brewers were making flavorless beer. And now that the bigger brewers are bringing out some beers with more character (in some cases, succeeding quite well) many beer geeks have a problem with THAT.

Good beer is good beer. The craft is in the making, not the size of the brewery.

Gary Gillman -

Alan, I'd pin the distinction on average brewery size (output) as measured over a reasonable period, I think that's the only sure and reasonable criterion (not age of the brewery, what it makes, its markets, etc.). Clearly reasonable people can disagree on what that threshold should be, but essentially, those smaller producers who cannot benefit from the same scale economies as large ones should get an assist of some kind, in reduced taxes or in some other way.


dan smallbeer -

Many thanks for your thoughts, Alan. It's a troubling issue whichever way you look at it. I find the idea of credentials dubious in the first place. I'm not aware if Canada has a specific "craft" definition, but I think perhaps we're better off without one. My thoughts are here:


I enjoy your blog immensely, thank you.

Alan -

Thanks, Dan. Nice to hear.