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."


Comments are locked. No additional comments may be posted.

Gary Gillman -

Phenomenal beer, lovely balance, refined but full taste. Green glass can't hurt it, it just gets better. Wizardry of Belgian brewing. I believe by the way that some English ales were like this in the 1800's, golden, matured for 6 months or more. Saison means season means season-brewed, like the English March beers were, say. The Belgians took a Scotch ale tradition from the U.K. but I think they took an earlier one from England.


Craig -

Wells Bombardier. I'm partial to Bombardier. I may have mentioned that before.

Gary Gillman -

Alan, since you are based in Canada albeit not in Quebec, and since I know you like the historical angle of occasion, I found this recently which may interest you:

From page 376 on is a description, from a French text of circa-1840, of "biere de saison" as brewed in Liege and environs. The author, M. Lacambre, is precise in his descriptions, and was a scientist or engineer of some kind.

Some observations: first, he uses the term "biere de garde" in this and other parts of the book synonymously. A saison, or garde (keeping), beer is brewed in a certain season, which he identifies as over the winter until not later than March, for storing from 4-6 months although the beer can last longer he says. (He notes you can brew it in April or May but you risk early acetification in doing so).

But generally it was drunk after 4-6 months, so indeed as Michael Jackson and other said, it would have been consumed over the summer as a refresher and probably finished in the fall, when new beer would start to be made. An analogy presents itself with German maerzen beer I believe, as it does with English Season beers which were brewed in October-November or March similarly to last until the next brewing or longer. Lacambre explains that these saison or garde beers were made also in different parts of France and gives a detailed explanation of the method as used then in Strasbourg, for example.

And so I think, probably it is unlikely that season beer came in to these areas from England, but rather that there was a generalized practice in Europe, in the pre-lager days, to make some top-fermented beer in this way. (For a time the practice was emulated by lager, which was a stored beer too, made in the winter and drunk over summer - year-round refrigeration tended to make irrelevant the distinction between current use and stored lager, however).

Lacambre does not refer to blending old and young beers but evidently this did occur because he notes that Liege ale could be made young or saison style. This suggests to me some brewers or retailers blended the two to get an even palate. I don't know if Dupont is blended in this way although some saison in Belgium, Silly's I believe, certainly is. Lacambre does refer extensively to blending in his chapter on lambic and similar beers, indeed he states it is a hallmark of their nature and that the constituant beers made by the Brussels brewers were often (not intentionally!) unpotable. As an example of unpotability he gives the example of extreme acidity. It makes me wonder whether uncut lambic or some of the craft sour ales we are now seeing, were ever really drunk straight in the old days; maybe they had a small specialty market. Anyway, it's another question.

I thought these ruminations might be of interest as you sip the Dupont of a sunny afternoon - in the right season. :)


Simon Johnson -

It's a beer that persuaded me into the 90 minute round trip by bus today up to my nearest decent offie to go buy a bottle. It's one of my favourite post-lawnmowing beers. That and Orval. And Jever. And something by Cantillon.

So I now have a full fridge. And a garden like a jungle. Bring on Sunday...