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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Martyn Cornell -

I like to have a good Scotch on hand (I'm an Islay man meself) for those evenings when another beer would leave me too bloated. Gin is certainly essential, for when something swift is required pre-dinner, though I prefer using Angostura to spice up orange juice. There's often something odd on the go: Calvados, or Armagnac, perhaps. If dinner parties are likely, port, or madeira are going to be in stock, and there will always be a bottle of something in the dessert wine area available. If my mother-in-law is coming over, there has to be vodka available.

Alan -

I have a different bar in the winter and Islay is definitely part of that. I do like Calvados, too, but it is a little hard to find in Ontario - trips to Quebec are required. A vodka monther-in-law! That could go either way.

gromit -

I like your list, and I'm no old man. I think a bottle of Campari would find an excellent home amongst your tidy selection.

Gin/Cinzano/Campari for a negroni
Campari and soda for an Americano


Alan -

One more bottle... makes for two fancy pants names? I'm going to have to make room. I hovered over the Campari but its only now that I recall that the first car I ever owned was, in fact, a Volare.

Stephen Beaumont -

Campari for a negroni is a must. (Use equal parts of each spirit, up or on the rocks.) White rum for summertime mojitos, too, and cachaca for caipirinhas -- bottles of Leblon and Sagatiba are still floating around the LCBO. Plymouth is a great go-to gin, but something aromatic like a Bombay Sapphire or Hendrick's would be a good addition, and what of white vermouth for a martini? Tequila? There are some good ones in the LCBO these days, and a well-made margarita can be a lovely summer drink. I'm not much for the sweet stuff generally, but Grand Marnier and/or Drambuie for after dinner, and Cointreau for a multitude of cocktails, including the aforementioned margarita.

Alan -

Good point, Mr. B. I get the sticky stuff in for Christmas and the cups of coffee that need to inspire one in the months that follow. Being Nova Scotian, I am unable to buy white rum. Physically unable. And high school cured me of tequila. But other gins. Worth considering.

Knut -

There's always gin, some Cognac and Calvados.

Often some Danish schnapps, right now replaced by the Icelandic spirits affectionately known as Black Death. Norwegian barrel aged aquavit.

Campari. And some LBV Port.

Alan -

I am pretty sure aquavit is also on the list of ordinary things that are not provided in Ontario. I like pouring that on smoked oily fish. Then again I only do that late in the event...

Stephen Beaumont -

Personally, I was of the same school of rum until I tried to make a mojito with amber rum. THAT cured me of the sickness! And believe me, Alan, tequila is worth a revisit, well worth it. The tequila of your high school days is a far cry from this stuff, for example.

Alan -

What? You mean I don't have to drink it out at the reservoir near Truro NS?

Alan -

Note to my past: you were a fool not to buy Pimm's and stick lemonade and cucumber spears in it.

Gary Gillman -

I've slowly built up a store of spirits and other alcoholic drinks, which I taste once in a while. Initially this was due to curiosity and trying to understand others' traditions although I like most of what I bought. Rum is a constant (I prefer the Demerara style), so is gin (any kind, I find they taste mostly alike even the new crop, but plump generally for Beefeater), and malt and other Scotch whisky. But I have a good store of Irish whiskey (Jameson is probably my favourite, the regular blend), a couple of bottles of an arak from Sri Lanka which have an unusual jungle wood-like scent, coconut-derived, some (legal) potcheen from Ireland, some Campari (rarely used), some Madeira, and a few bourbons and U.S. straight ryes. Generally also some Canadian whisky, currently Wiser's Very olds 18 years old.

I have a few absinthes as well, which I use only for the Sazerac cocktail. And good old McGuinness's Anisette, which I bought because I liked the 1970's-style bottle.

I have blended some of these drinks, which I find a good way to balance out extreme flavours, and also, it is a way to secure new tastes without spending more. My gins now are almost all blended, with Beefeater being the top-note.

Tequila is well-represented but I never developed the taste really.

My last acquisition was Houlle genever from the the Flemish-French north country, a lovely flavourful yet accessible drink. But we have something locally that is not that different, De Kuyper Genievre, made under license I understand and a good example of a Dutch-style gin as Houlle's is. I like these with a dash of bitters.