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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The Beer Nut -

Does it still get to be "Innis & Gunn, Edinburgh" even if the beer doesn't comes from there?

Neil, eatingisntcheating.blogspot.com -

Sorry but Innis & Gunn have never hit the mark for me. No hop character, and very little beer flavour at all really. Thweir head brewer has even admitted that the base beer is 'pretty bland' in interviews before. All the flavour comes from the oak aging.

It's whisky flavoured alcopop. Not beer.


Alan -

Neil, I am actually with Jordan that this is one of their better beers. Note one of the BAer comments "...a fuller, more complex character than the original version of Innis & Gunn." Have you had it or are you reliving disappointments past?

M. Noix: where is 6 Randolph Crescent as set out on the bottle if not Edinburgh?

So other than it's apparently a bastard and not even beer, any other observations?

Gary Gillman -

I like the one aged in a rum cask, and the Canadian whisky barrel-aged beer is pretty good. I&G's beers are not very hoppy, but the Scots ales weren't, to begin with. I think what may be happening here is the barrel character overwhelms/complements/supplements the hop character in the beer - but I agree that barrel character is "the thing" with these beers, I&G are appealing to people who like that.

Some porter brewers in the old days apparently liked the effects of wood tannin in beer, but based on my readings, oaky flavour wasn't wanted. I think the reason was, that flavour was often not a clean oak taste but a musty one, from resident bugs in the wood that were going at the beer.

Today, I suspect, first, casks that had held spirits don't have any bugs since they can't live in the high alcohol environment; second, modern cleaning and quality control standards will ensure a clean brew even if the beer is held many months in the wood.

So in other words, new tastes emerge for valid reasons and the I&G approach clearly has carved a niche. It makes sense really because oak flavour is characteristic of many (most, I would say) wines not to mention many spirits. Why not beer?

The Beer Nut -

Having clicked that Google Maps link, I'm now wondering where in that beautiful Georgian streetscape you think the brewery is.

Innis & Gunn beer is brewed by Greene King in Dunbar. Here.

Alan -

Hey - I can't see from here!

I just assume, like the old Royal Mile, that you could stick a brewery in any old corner of old Edinburgh. I haven't been there for 20 years but in the 80s there was a pretty solid set of brewery walls between the Castle and Holyrood.

But you do beg an interesting question. For most of its life, for example, Brooklyn Beers were made in Utica NY. Rhode Island's pride Narragansett is made in Rochester NY. Where is beer really from - the location of the governing mind or of the well?

The Beer Nut -

Gotta say: Google Streetview has to be the greatest gift to the nosey-parker beer tourist, and amateur beer historian, since air travel.

I'm hugely sceptical of beers that are brands first, beer second. Where someone has decided they'd like to market a beer, and then left the troublesome issues of licensing and production to someone else it's pretty much the opposite of what craft beer is about: beer that can be traced to a real place and a real person, rather than a phoney "Brewing Company" operating from a rented city mailbox.

I guess it doesn't help that I've never liked any of the Innis & Gunn beers, pretty much for the reasons Neil gives.

Alan -

Well, is it Orval? No - but this one is a more interesting take. Like Gary, I liked the Rum cask as well. [I have been wanting someone to try rum cask stouts, myself.]

But I suppose you may not have access to this one given it's branding. By the way, we like particular things in Canada: rye and ginger is a standard, Madeira, port and sherry sell well here and, frankly, Innis & Gunn has done very well here.