A Good Beer Blog

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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."


Comments

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James -

Nice post. Alan. Can you tell us why all the "s's" in the newspaper article are typed as "f's". Fubfcriber? Did they not have the letter "s" on their typewritters back then? Yet "amiss" is typed as "amifs"

Alan -

I knew my early 80s BA in English Lit would come in handy sooner or later. I give you... "the Long S".

Steve Gates -

Alan, interesting stuff, I'm not sold on the idea that Ontario found it's own way more than any other Canadian province, the nature of the man who chose UC vice the well established LC speaks for itself in terms of strength of character, unparalleled determination and good ol' Canadian pluck. Dalton was your classic UC entrepreneur, ingenious, inventive and inovative. He was also a poet, a prolific writer and a politician in waiting. I don't think he was the first Kingston Commercial brewer, Robins, Robinson, Gilespie, Burley and Schofield come to mind but he was one of the first. I don;t think that Finkle was the first either, the idea that the beer drinking desires were stronger in Bath than they were in Kingston seems proposterous, I will give Finkle beerpub props but I would think that someone was selling a local beer in K-Town prior to him. Oh by the way, I'm from Kingston as well, thanks for the article, I love the sleuthing you did to find the Dalton ad in Montreal... good job, so typical of the times in that a UC entrpreneur seems driven to make it in LC before he can call himself a success.

Alan -

Citations! We need citations for those observations, Steve!!! Where do you find the names Robins, Robinson, Gilespie, Burley and Schofield? I am practically speaking locked away from libraries so have to make most of this stuff myself.

But I do tend to agree with you. Since I wrote that, I have learned a little more and see that there was a Brewery Street in 1800ish. I am not sure where I got the "first commercial brewer" idea. Commercial might be the twig. You should read the new book by Alan Taylor "The Civil War of 1812" as well as "In Mixed Company" which might combine to indicate that before a certain point beer was tied to either home or the taverns and taverns were part of a non-commercial imperial complex... not a lot of entrepreneurs so much as Tory lackies and backroom boys being given sweetheart deals to control the military supply contracts or obtain the licenses. BTW - distilling was banned in the war of 1812 so I doubt anyone was brewing. Rum kept everyone happy.

Steve Gates -

Alan, quite right, distilling was banned but brewing never was,because soldiers being soldiers (by the way I am a soldier ) had an invested right to 5 pints aday, even after they retired! The beer had to come from somewhere and it seems that political affiliation or personal contacts did not help you, what meant anything in those days to a post 1812 brewer was your regimental affiliation or your element of service ( army or navy ) Henry Murney and Thomas Davis of Kingston are but a couple of these former military men flogging beer. The Prescott brewing scene was even more military minded in the early 19th century brewing industry with men like Kilbourne, Lewis and Conway pitching wort in a post 1812 economy and catering to the needs of the troops of Fort Wellington. The period od 1830-50 are an even more interesting brewing period in the St Lawrence corridor. I am examining the brewers that were fighting for Col By's contracts during the construction of the Canal...any observations besides the obvious Robert Drummond choice? Beerfully, Steve.

Alan -

Where are you getting this stuff? Are you over at RMC with access to all the good stuff - by which I mean records? Did Murney and Davis, for example, have leases over at the City Brewey next to Place D'armes? And were they pre-1812 as well?

Steve Gates -

The Brewery near Place D'Armes was the Kingston Brewery with Forsythe, Robinson, Burley et al the City Brewery was located on Ontario St below West St, the original site of Burley's last brewery. Murney was pre and post 1812 and Davis was post 1812. I have a book written on this material, I just need to type it, my goal is to have it on the shelves for summer 2011. I have travelled everywhere for my info from RMC to Queens and Pt Vincent to Ogdenburg on the American side.I have always been interested in Kingston brewing history and I am enjoying chatting about it.

Alan -

Well, that relieves me of the need to write that book, too. How are you with 1860s-70s baseball?

Steve Gates -

I have no interest in America's game, have you located any adverts from other breweries attempting to trial the Kingston market similar to what Dalton was trying to accomplish? I am always interested in foreign competition probing the early Kingston market.

Alan -

The only thing I have seen is that there was an Albany Ale agent in Montreal. Have you followed the Albany Ale posts?

It would be interesting to know if there was brewing in Ogdensburg. It was a fairly autonomous prosperous community, well funded by land speculators and developers as the focus of NNY trade into the Montreal market.

Baseball was Upper Canada's game, too. Predates hockey with a peak of Kingston's madness around 1873 or so. Worker's games pre-shift at dawn. Thousands attending games.

Steve Gates -

Ogdensburg was the home for the Crichton family brewery... quite large and quite successful. It's proximity to Prescott allowed a liberal trade relationship to develop. Your observations about baseball are interesting, in fact, I have uncovered a reference to brewer Wm Ellis as an skillful baseball and cricket player and often played in Kingston with "uproarious appreciation" I have also located a reference to Oswego Ale being sold at a hotel in K-Town. I have read the Albany Ale posts but I am not so sure if I understand the nature of the beverage...same as reg beer but made of malted wheat perhaps???

Alan -

No, we think now it was a high test export brew (10%?) that was pretty hoppy but mostly the odd thing is that it shipped to Newfoundland and California.

I think I have run across Ellis's name. You have confirmed my suspicions with the Ogdensburg and Oswego comments. I wonder where they got their malt.

Steve Gates -

The Ogdensburg Brewery procured their malt from at least 60 farmers from both sides of the river, it was a real free for all with long standing loyalties ie. I sell to Labatts because my father did. Did Albany ale originate from Albany NY? The markets of NFLD and Cali seem like polar opposites, what was the attraction to those markets? What is the common denominator?

Alan -

Have you done any research over at the Watertown Daily Times? I have a good connection there - they still have their own librarian. I am convinced that there was plenty of cross border St. Lawrence trade that was legitimate and served as an example of co-existence. The WDT might have more evidence if you haven't hit there yet.

It is very odd that there is no local popular history about it but there is no real local popular history as far as I can tell. I am a Maritimer. Lack of local popular history is like having TV stations that only broadcast every second night.

Steve Gates -

I basically kept me research to those communities regarded as River Towns, Cape Vincent, Oswego and Ogdensburg... all 3 have active historical societies and are a friendly lot. Local popular history is abundant in Prince Edward County but 50kms east and there is virtually none, I have found that communities with a long standing military presence has helped create this phenomenon, a culture of secrecy borne of military operational security is moct likely the culprit... this is my theory and it is not corroberated with actual fact or statistics.

Alan -

Interesting stuff. Soon time to have that beer, you know.

Steve Gates -

That should be do-able eh? Somewhere where there is casked conditioned ales would my preference. I noticed in another blog site you mentioned going to NY state for a half decent beer, what are your favs... what do you think of Neustadts 10w30? New beermaking show coming on Sunday at 10 PM... could be cool.

Alan -

Hard to find in Kingston. My local preference is oatmeal stout at the Brew Pub. New York is Beervanad compared to here. In Syracuse, the Blue Tusk and Clarks are among the great beer bars in the western hemisphere.

Steve Gates -

Alan, Is there anything in the LCBO that you can recommend right now, I usually play it safe and buy Belgian beers but can you suggest something from Ontario? I should be supporting the local breweries since beer making seems to be important to me, at least, historically. Thanks.

Alan -

I would check out Beau's if you haven't already. I like Muskoka Dark, Church-Key Northumberland (a throwback stock ale), Black Oak Pale Ale, Mill Street Betelgeuse Belgian Tripel, Neustadt 10w30 Brown Ale.

I really liked the large format bottle of Muskoka Harvest Ale I had the other week and it is also on tap at the Brew Pub... which reminds me about going for that beer.