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.

Pivní Filosof -

If there are so many people who have an issue with CAMRA's stubbornly reactionary position vis-a-vis Cask Ale and with the organisation's refusal of allowing anything that is not Cask Ale served at the events THEY organise, why don't they just organise a "Craft Keg" festival then?

Alan -

I may have been partially persuaded to that point of view by those tweets. Not due to the strictness of the rules (I am a lawyer who understands equity so a rule will never be ultimately compelling) but the clubbiness of it all. I do think it is silly to call it the Champion Beer of Britain but as long as they lack authority, who cares?

dansmallbeer -

Regardless of your stance on the issues (and they are unfortunately construed in simplistic terms by many of the debaters — not your fine self of course) I think one valid complaint against CAMRA's fest is that, like it or not, to most people who don't obsess about these things, the GBBF represents British beer in a particular way while seeming to represent it in a general way. It's the biggest fest, its name makes it look like it's a national venture, and any "neutral" attendees there for a good beer would be completely reasonable to assume that what is on offer is a cross section of the best British beers — which it isn't. I think that CAMRA's festival is a great thing, and cask beer is a great thing, but I do have sympathy with people who feel that the exercise does a modicum of what Bourdieu might call "symbolic violence."

Ron Pattinson -

Not all the beers at GBBF are 3.5 to 4.5% Bitters by any means. Anyone who says that is an idiot.

I don't see anyone rushing to establish a rival festival on a similar scale. It takes a huge amount of effort and organisation. People should be grateful for CAMRA volunteers basically doing it for free. Instead you get the fan boys whinging about some irrelevant shit.

I haven't been for a few years and am really looking forward to the event. Especially Cask-conditioned Devil's Backbone Dark Lager.

Steve Lamond -

@Alan, yes I think Champion Beer of Britain probably needs updating so that all beers are eligible. This is another thing that has to be passed by members at an AGM though

Dan, the scope of the festival is fairly clear in that the campaign for real ale organise it. Whether people know what real ale is is another matter entirely.

You can call me Steve by the way Alan McLeod (not sure id you're the same Alan...)

Alan -

Hey Steve! That is me. I did tweet this post but it got lost in the shuffle as I posted abut 6 am N.Am. time as I was up with the baby. Thanks for the dialogue on the GBBF. It has really helped me understand the importance of the collective act of volunteering that is at the heart of it all.

Steve Lamond -

Yeah its a great day out to attend the festival but its much more rewarding to work at it, even if only for a session or two because you get a better understanding of how it all comes together, a chance to get people to try new things (especially on BSF!) and make loads of friends within CAMRA. Its also handy as you get accommodation and meals too plus the staff bar. Maybe you can head across one year to see it?

dave -

"the Champion Beer of Britain" seems to be similar in nature to rate beer's "the best beers in the world" yearly 'competition'. Where it is a silly name, that pisses people off, but the 'namers' don't have any 'authority' (as Alan said above).

The GBBF is certainly enticing to me, and one of these days I hope to hop the pond and attend, but I find it strange people stick with the familiar. I've always had the mindset that fests are for trying new things.