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 -

Thanks for the nice words, Alan - even though it might cause readers to question your good sense ;>)

I can't argue with your conclusion, but I continue to want to be able to ask who is responsible for the integrity of what is in the bottle. That's easier when you can ask, "Where did this come from?"

For instance, buying Mikkeller beer here in New Mexico - where travel and age become more of a factor - is a crap shoot. I've quit gambling on that one.

Joe Stange -

I'm going to stick to my guns but concede that tasty beer at a fair price is far more important than all the rest of this stuff.

But since you brought up prices: It's surprising how many of the vagabond beers are sold at a premium. It wouldn't be fair to conclude that those guys aren't paying for overhead, since that would obviously be included in the rental price. An owner is going to recover his expenses. And it would be fair of those owners to make an added profit off the visiting brewers... It is a business, after all. Meanwhile the vagabond is trying to make a living off a relatively small amount of beer. So the price goes up a little more.

Which all raises the possibility that consumers are paying extra for an arrangement that is more convenient to a brewer without capital. Their challenge is to make beer tasty and interesting enough for us to fork over more.

Alan -

"...many of the vagabond beers are sold at a premium..."

But so are many of the owner-brewed beers. I think that has to do more with faux celebrity than business model. Yet, I agree, scale is there as an issue as well. So maybe the synthesis is that "local" vagabonds are fine but don't get all uppity or pretend to brew for the planet.

Ethan -

Why does it have to be a dichotomy, and either/or? I think it's akin to when I was being taught how to "read" English literature in high school and college. On one hand, you can just like the damn book, and there is absolutely no reason why that's wrong, or bad, But, you can also get all into the other aspects of the creation of that work- the author's bio, circumstances, and his/her personal foibles and dysfunctions; the era and culture in which it was conceived; the circuitous path from manuscript to publication (or instant hit, depending); even the author's own thoughts on the meaning and interpretations... all those things have (or can have) an impact on how you personally experience a work of writing.

Is beer any different? No, it cannot be. When I imbibe the beer, there is always more to it than pure enjoyment of the liquid within the glass. Your sense of perception--from a psychological, scientific perspective--is a combination of past experience and the expectations and inference derived thereof, as much as the action of chemicals on your receptors. The artwork matters. What you know about the brewer, brewery, circumstances, ingredients of the beer will have an impact. How many adjectives you have at easy command in your lexicon will obviously impact your overt report of the experience. &c. Even when judging blind, which of course helps reduce the effect of many factors, there are differences in sensitivity, differences in judging experience, and other things to produce natural variability. The experience of beer is a multi-factorial moving target!

So I guess I don't feel like I have to choose. I think Pretty Thing's beers, the ones I have had, are very good to exceptional- a range, and the high end of it. I'm sure partly Dann & Martha's humorous and offbeat personality, which is <i>in</i> the beer but which is also all over and around the beer, is playing a role, but it's not the only role- I am still tasting the beer.

Alan -

Are contract brews the opposite? Is the point of view as valid when reversed? I don't know that I like a beer less because I know less about it. But I don't disagree, Ethan, I am just thinking out loud about where it gets us.

Swordboarder -

Alan, if you could like it more because you know more about it then you would indeed like it less because you know less about it. But right now, you don't know what you don't know, and you refuse to investigate it.

And for the record, the brewers do love the beer drinkers.

Alan -

Well, that is your opinion not the record. Proof: I have yet to receive the prizes and gifts I so justly deserve from my loves.

And - so, tell me which of the thousands of staff of hundreds of north American Craft Breweries I need to be pals with to make this dream play out?

Ethan -

"I don't know that I like a beer less because I know less about it."

Not like it less, like it differently, is my thesis.

Swordboarder -

As a brewer I can say that I love the drinkers of my beer. More Agape than Eros though. And Eros is the only one that gets gifts. ;)

Alan -

Well, that is a good way of putting it. But even at that, one has to be wary of the suitor. You may be agape-ridden... but is it wise to ride along with you?

Swordboarder -

And here I thought love is all you need.

Alan -

No! No Way!!! I need well made value priced beer as well.