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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dansmallbeer -

I followed this, with popcorn. I think this comment is fair. the other ones were combative which is nice, but it solicited unhelpful defensive replies from CAMRA crowd and the intellectual points were scattered.

The real problem in this whole saga is that several different issues are at hand all being treated as one. The CAMRA guys are often incapable of seeing any criticism of the way they do things as anything other than a challenge to CAMRA itself. Drawing on the moral capital of volunteerism is besides the point, telling others to do their own festival is besides the point — they don't (with exceptions) seem to want to face up to the responsibility they have to beer as a whole due to their elevated position and, as Brown points out, slippery use of "beer" and "great" etc which, I'm sorry, DOES give the impression that this event has a broader remit than the official line.

Alan -

Well, I do think we are all "CAMRA guys" in one way or another when we talk about what we think and we do for good beer. Don't we all, for example, suffer from being a bit much when we are perceived as evangelists? But the idea that only CAMRA could run a big festival is just weird when you look at how many are run in the US by any number of organizations stocked with their own volunteers.

dave -

I found your 13:18 and 14:24 comments reasonable, then again I studied economics for a while, so the concept was not hard to grasp.

Alan -

Put it that way, it looks like passages from the Bible.

Alan 13:18.

SteveF -

I'm writing this through the lense of a large amount of beer this evening, so that'll have to be borne in mind when reading the following.

But to return to the point I made in the comments at Tandleman's and as is being alluded to in this post here (and the comments), I'm not a CAMRA obsessive. Indeed the view that people who happen to broadly support CAMRA are niche dogmatists luddites is just as narrow minded as the perception from some on the CAMRA side that anything other than a pint of "real ale" is somehow bad beer. As I remarked at Tandy's place, there are rhetorical tricks at play here, which isn't a substitute for real debate.

The post you have quoted here, isn't jerky at al. But what you actually posted over there was. My initial responses were, admitedly, somewhat terse and perhaps not overly conducive to constructive debate, but your immediate leaping to Viz related conclusions was weird. As I subsequently followed up, I don't believe you actually provided evidence to support your contention. Your contention may be true (and I'm perfectly happy to accept it if it is), but I found it to be unsupported and I still do. Dave, above, describes the concept as not hard to grasp. That may be so; but the crucial word used is concept - to my mind you were talking in conceptual not evidential terms.

On the specific points raised in this post, you are probably right to some degree. However, I think you fall into a fairly common trap in online beer nerdism debates, that of extrapolating from the prominent to the general. For example, there is undoubtedly a degree of defensiveness amongst CAMRA members online (just as there is uncritical fanboyism of, for easy example, Brewdog on the other hand). However, this represents only a very small subsection of the membership. Most of the CAMRA members I know aren't defensive in these sorts of debates, in fact they aren't even aware that such debates exist. And if they were, they'd probably find it ridiculous. They are members because they like a pint of ale, enjoy the odd festival and generally want to see "real ale" do well. Nothing more, nothing less. There are a hundred and odd thousand CAMRA members; I doubt that much over a few percent care about these sorts of discussions. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't have them, just that it's easy to be blinded by the heat of online debate (a slightly mixed metaphor, but you get the picture).

I dunno if any of this directly addresses the above, but you get the gist I think.

Alan -

"I'm writing this through the lens of a large amount of beer this evening, so that'll have to be borne in mind when reading the following."

Rule #1: all is forgiven if there was ever a need to forgive. The man who reaches out after a bender is my pal!!! You go, girl.

Let me read what you have written and think but let me say one thing - I may have overstepped with the VIZ comment, even if just culturally. I spent a little time mid-80s in London and loved VIZ but appreciate it might grate. As might CAMRA bashing. I don't want to do that... yet I find myself getting close to it over and over.

Lemme think. It is late here, too. More Friday... maybe.

Ron Pattinson -

Yes, you're being a jerk.

Alan -

Does linking to this help in any way?

Barm -

No, not in the slightest. Every argument in the article that has any merit just echoes what sensible people in CAMRA have been saying for years. The rest of it is still the mix of lazy stereotypes and disingeneous arguments that we've come to expect. Look, here are some tasteless, poorly executed pump clips from cask ale brewers! Why can't they be hip and exciting like Magic Rock or Thornbridge (who, James conveniently neglects to mention, are also brewers of cask beer).

Joe Stange -

I wish Mommy and Daddy would quit fighting. THEY'RE TEARING ME APART.

Alan -

I really must stop poking bee hives with sticks... yet I just want to sometimes.

I do think, however, that this is not really limited to CAMRA at all, that it is not as serious as taken (and I think Mr. Tandleman is spot on as far as that goes) but... and this is the most interesting thing... the certainty that "in the end will all come together and have a swell time" is exactly (and maybe I am pushing it but... uniquely) because this is about good beer. Other than that sort of Protzian pricky streak displayed sometimes, good beer generally makes for cheeriness.

Alan -

A great continuation of the discussion at Boak and Bailey.