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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Gary Gillman -

Excellent thinking Alan, and the regional links are definitely there, sometimes stretching beyond what one would think. Peter Austin from Ringwood in England assisted both Granite Brewery in Toronto and Geary in Maine to set up their plant, for example...

Today the links are often closer, e.g. the influence of APA from Washington and Oregon on numerous B.C. examples of the type. It took a while, B.C. was tenacious to U.K. tradition in this regard for a long time, as in so many others!.

But again I doubt the typical range of beer in a good Buffalo, NY craft beer is that different from its analogue in Toronto. And surely it works the other way, I'll bet the obsession with Belgian ales in Quebec has influenced a few beers on the other side of the border. And that can be, not just beers brewed there, but beers becoming available in well-stocked beer retailers. And vice versa.

Gary

Alan -

Maybe it is more networked than just a borderless map but, like the origins of punk in the Pacific NW, it is about ideas and not boundaries.

Apparently the good folks who set up Middle Ages in Syracuse are also part of the Austin information chain, which explains their beers' buttery goodness.

Alan -

But, having said that, the pre-existing determination of what stands for "good tasting" in any community also must count for something. Craft beer must align with what the community already knows is good.

Gary Gillman -

Yes, and I could cite examples locally here. For example, there is a certain "brown ale" Ontario taste IMO. Hockley Dark has it, Wellington County Ale has it (maybe started it), Black Oak Nut Brown has it, and Amsterdam Brown Ale too.

Sure they are not all identical but they share a certain profile, and one I haven't quite encountered in the same way elsewhere. It's a subset of the St. Lawrence Watershed taste IMO since Montreal has some examples.

APAs are coming on strong here too now but in this case I find it harder to distinguish them from their U.S. avatars.

Gary

Gary Gillman -

On the brown ale, I should include Granite's Old Peculiar, and Upper Canada Dark Ale (still made I understand).

Gary

Alan -

I would differentiate the Granite brew from the others as it is really a Maritime import in the big picture. I drank buckets of that in the 80s in Halifax. But UC dark is the ur-dark of that Ontario style.

Gary Gillman -

Certainly that the Halifax location of the Granite brewpub preceded Toronto's by some years. Presumably the Peculiar started in Halifax, but it fits in well with the others mentioned. All of these are a take on English brown ale. (Nor by the way has Peculiar at the Granite ever reminded me of Old Peculier in England).

Upper Canada Dark Ale is an interesting case. I only started to like it after Sleeman bought it. Before that, it had a banana-estery note that was never my cup of tea so to speak. Some said at the time it had a Belgian influence, but if so I think that was accidental. After Sleeman started to brew it, it had a good clean chocolaty taste, not complex but well-flavoured with some decent non-aroma hopping. I've seen it occasionally at restaurants and bars in the Queen Street and University area in Toronto; it isn't widely available but you can find it, in bottle too sometimes I think.

It represents more the first generation of Ontario craft brewing but is very valid for that and I suspect once the infatuation with very assertive APA and DIPAs wears off these browns will get more attention.

10W 30 by the way is yet another beer in this style, IMO. And I'd argue the same for Muskoka Dark Ale.

Gary

Gary

Alan -

Good points all. Muskoka's take is attracting a lot of my attention recently. Not really sure why it stands out for me but I do agree that this somewhat unique presence in Ontario is both legitimately local and, can't we now say, traditional good craft beer.