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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Barry M -

I'm neither!

"No, I'm neither!"

etc...

Bruce Ticknor -

I have to agree with Martyn that these comments are "some total lying crap". That said, Like you I have no connection with CAMRA, the closest chapter to me is in B.C. (as far as I know) or is Britain actually closer to Ontario than B.C. is?
I have never talked to or read a beer blogger who thought that "the best beer they have ever had is the next". I read a lot of beer related blogs from several countries and I have never encountered that New must be Better attitude, in fact many (including me) seem too intent on the past.
Beer bloggers ((bloggerati) I kind of like that word) in general don't seem to fit either the puritan or precisionist description but beer judges seem to fit the puritan mold and CAMRA seems to fit the precisionist mold.

Alan -

"Bloggerati" sounds a bit like a bowel disorder to me.

Martyn Cornell -

What I found – well, amusing, actually – is that there are only about 130 beer bloggers in the UK, and at a very rough guess I'd be astonished if they had a combined regular British audience of more than 12,000 people, which makes our real-world influence tiny, but if What's Brewing is to be trusted, Valentine devoted three times more of his Camra AGM speech to attacking beer bloggers than he did to attacking the government for constantly putting up taxes on beer, the anti-alcohol health lobby, supermarkets for selling cheap booze and pub companies for putting pubs out of business, combined.

As you indicate, Alan, the parallels between religious sects and beer organisations are sometimes worryingly close. I'd categorise Camra as Calvinist - there is only one true path to heaven, and only the few are chosen.

Tandleman -

Well I was there when he said it and it was a small part of a wide ranging speech in which the government were most certainly attacked, as were many others. You'll have to ask the Editor about the prominence he gave to any part of the speech.

It is odd isn't it, a kind of cheek, that many in the blogging world feel free to attack CAMRA and its members in the most pejorative of terms, but throw a hissy fit when the CAMRA chairman decides to hit back a little.

But apart from the jibe about the best beer being the next, (and many bloggers do butterfly around the exotic which is rarely cask) what was factually incorrect to the extend of lies? Many bloggers do promote and encourage keg beer; Real ale does have a definition whether Martyn cares for it or not; many bloggers do seem to promote new and exciting - whether you think that a good or bad thing is a moot point - and many do struggle to define craft and what it is or isn't, while rallying around the term and using CAMRA's non support of it as a stick to beat them with.

Seems to me that Colin is being condemned as a liar - good God - a liar - for that. Some might just call that somewhere between intemperate and over the top.

Phil -

If you ask CAMRA what "keg beer" is, they'll tell you it's not "real ale" and that it's not as good as real ale. I don't think this should surprise anyone - it follows from the definition of "real ale" that they've been using all this time. However, that's a long way from saying that CAMRA is "anti-keg". See my comment at Zythophile, and the response from a local CAMRA bod.

Alan -

Yet, CAMRA does nothing to ensure beer is actually good in all cases. Fine single malt is also "not real ale" but it is wonderful. Because CAMRA focuses on a technique and not a quality, it leads to praise for the poorer in some cases. As I said, I really don't care personally but to then go off on a growing alternate voice in the market (and a market you have controlled) it does look pretty obvious what's going on. "Join and have a democratic say" is the same as saying "shut up, get in line and know your place."

Craig -

I think where Valentine goes off is, with his "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric. Most people don't groove on that kind of thing.

Tandleman -

"Join and have a democratic say" is the same as saying "shut up, get in line and know your place."

You have a very perverted idea of democracy it seems.

Tandleman -

"Join and have a democratic say" is the same as saying "shut up, get in line and know your place."

You have a very perverted idea of democracy it seems.

Phil -

Alan - CAMRA is not against single malt! CAMRA is a campaign for real ale - it's not a campaign for all that's good in alcoholic drinks, or even all that's good in beer.

Craig -

Phil, I think you're making both Alan and Martyn's point. If a blogger reviews a keg beer and likes it, that blogger isn't saying that the keg beer is better than real ale. They are simply saying that, that specific keg beer is good. CAMRA should speak to real ale, and let the blogger write what they want to write about. I don't see why Valentine and CAMRA take the position that bloggers are somehow undermining their efforts. Are bloggers only supposed to write about real ale?

Jeff Alworth -

I also read Martyn's post with interest--and later, amazement. Alan, I know you regard American beer fans (and bloggers) with amusement for how seriously we take things. The British fans and bloggers are an order of magnitude more engaged (enraged?) and opinionated.

I can't speak to the role of British beer blogging--though from this distance, a theological metaphor seems apt. It's less so with American beer bloggers, though. Most of the beer bloggers I know and read are actually a wholly different tribe. Debates rage in American brewing, but bloggers mostly don't get involved. We're halfway between fans and journalists. Since there's no profit margin in beer for the dead tree media to bother with, the amateurs pick up the slack.

But we're big fans, too, and to the extent we get into criticism, it's usually pretty wan stuff. People read beer blogs because they like beer, not because they want to get caught in the esoteric wars of old farts. In this way, I think the metaphor would be that US beer bloggers are the cruise directors of the USS Craft Beer.

Alan -

Enjoy your hive, Tandy. Rather the bloggerati than the Borg.

I agree, Jeff. I enjoy the (false pretense) of independence being neither American or British. But I do think that we bloggers are justifiably cranky old farts who are free to poke a stick any any shady presumption, any false prophet and any conflicted interest we see. Sure, I don't harp on bad craft brewers or even every dumb idea but the idea that individual voices in blogs need to know their place when someone like the head of CAMRA pontificates (or a big US craft brewer or an established beer journalist) is utter utter crap.

I think what Martyn is done is open a pre-existing rift of some sort, perhaps those who need a group to tell them what to do and those who can make up their own minds.

Phil -

Craig - that's fair enough, but I don't think Colin Valentine's got a down on beer bloggers in the abstract. His point was that they were putting pressure on CAMRA to embrace 'craft beer', and/or criticising CAMRA for not doing so - which some beer bloggers certainly have done. For him to reply "No thanks, we'll stick to campaigning for real ale" seems perfectly legitimate to me.

Tandleman -

Phil - At last light rather than heat.

Craig -

Phil,

As an unaffected, outside observer, I find it a bit ironic that CAMRA was originally started as an opposition movement and now bristles at criticism from a small group that differs from CAMRAs ideals.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Alan -

Mr. B's buttery good comments are on point as well.

Alan -

Pete's well considered post this morning.