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 -

Are you enjoying the beer more because it is neato or because you taste something different? And do you think you would be able to pick that out in a blind tasting? What happened to "it's what's in the glass that matters"?

For the record, I don't think we can put a dollar value on the willingness of Sierra Nevada to experiment and invest in technology as they have - when they might make just as much money if they just "coasted" along.

Just wondering if this indicates a change in philosophy on your part.

Paul -

While I think it will always be a niché, I like the concept of estate beers. I haven't tried the Sierra Nevada offering, but the Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale was amazing.

While I may not be able to pull it out of a line up of standard craft beers as an estate beer, there is something special about it even if it's just in concept.

I doubt many breweries will start doing this as you need space and the environment, but I think in the future when I'm at the beer store, I'll give the GYO beers a second look at least.

Alan -

Not at all, Stan. If neato = is new and good or if different = new and good I am of one mind. It would still be what is in the glass that I am experiencing. I mean, if they are putting out "estate" beer that actually sucks, I don't think that is a good cause to get behind.

But I think we have to put a dollar value on this as we do all things as a consumer - especially when there is a Sierra Nevada complaint about the costs of their innovation. Remember, they do not pay these costs. The consumer does. If the consumer does not, Sierra Nevada would be a poor business and a poor innovator. And they are not.

Just as it's what in the glass that matters, it is what is removed from the wallet that matters, too.

Paul, you may not be able to pull of the estate but you might be able to create local by finding local hops and local barley or even find farmers able to do it for you. I know one Ontario brewer that is doing this. How is it malted? I do not know.

Jeff Alworth -

Hops cost something like $200k an acre to install, so the initial costs are prohibitive for smaller breweries. But you're right that the cost shouldn't be calculated in the first year. What's the value over 20 years of having your own hops? And, for breweries outside the NW, it may be the only way to execute an authentic fresh-hop beer. What's the value of that?

Dave -

I've had the estate, could probably pick it out against a regular sierra nevada pale ale (though adding other beers would up the challenge significantly), and found the price to difference ratio (i.e. how different does it taste to their regular pale) agreeable (would not have an issue opening up the wallet again for it). I saw the price as the addition of the growing cost and not as "gee whiz" this is different so we will make it more expensive. Good job over all.

Though most hops are still grown in the NW, more farms are starting to grow hops through-out the US. Harpoon Brewing used hops from NY for their wet hop beer (picked the hops and drove back that day for adding), and Sebago Brewing does a local harvest beer, though it does not seem to be a fresh-hop beer... there may be the possibility of that in the future (increased hop yields). So all might not be lost for breweries who want to do a fresh hop and not grow their own.

dave -

and Lew posted about Philly Brewing doing a wet hop ale using hops from "inside Philadelphia County." (The brewery grows their own, but also utilizes other local hop growers.)

Alan -

CNY is back in the hop growing business to some degree.