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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Gary Gillman -

Thanks for posting this Alan, glad it is of interest. The history thing fascinates most craft beer fans I think, me not least in part because I lived through the era being discussed.

All the best.

Gary

Herb Meowing -

What's not to like about a retro-discussion about Ballantine IPA...eh?

My life's one and only regret is not knowing how really good this brew was back in the day. IIRC...$0.29 / QT and fookin'delicious.

What's somewhat surprising is there's no 'authentic' recipe floating around the blogosphere or Interwebs. Posers abound but where's the real article?

HM

Neil, eatingisntcheating.blogspot.com -

As a British beer fan I found this really interesting as the dates go right through the periods where beer over here was pretty awful (i.e. the 1970 and 80s) and CAMRA had to fight to bring well made cask ale back from the brink of extinction.

I suppose I've always thought of American Craft beer as a pretty new thing so to read information about the history of it (which goes back much further than I had wrongly assumed) is fascinating.

Gary Gillman -

This link contains a suggested recipe to brew a beer like the 1970`s Ballantine IPA:

http://hbd.org/discus/messages/43688/43922.html?1200684371

A memory jog: maybe Ballantine IPA was a general inspiration for Old Foghorn, not Liberty Ale, but anyway the creative U.S. brewers of the 1970`s would known, most of them, of Ballantine IPA even though its sales were very small.

CAMRA and the real ale movement in the 70`s were inspirations for craft brewers in America. To their credit though the Brits had retained much more of their old traditions than North Americans had. Still, the revival succeeded in both places.

Gary

Joe Stange -

Reading about SN and Ballantine makes me think about that clean American ale yeast... an important player in the character of American pale ales. As in, it quietly lets the malt and hops do most of the talking.

I recall reading somewhere that the SN yeast was a descendant of the Ballantine ale yeast. True? If so, where did the Ballantine yeast come from?

Gary Gillman -

Not sure if any connection there. I agree fully regarding the dominant malt and hops profile of Ballantine IPA, I don't recall that the yeast gave it a bready or highly estery quality, for example. The malt and hops did sing a big tune though.

Gary

Mark -

re: Ballantine and SN yeast. The long standing "story" is that Ken Grossman (and other homebrewers) would reculture yeast from bottles of Ballantine for their homebrew, and that Ken eventually used this same yeast when SN started.

Though I had the chance to verify this story when I spoke to Ken in fall of 99, I forgot to ask him. However, I did ask his brother Steve, who did not flat out confirm their yeast is indeed derived from Ballantine, but did say that yes, that is pretty much how it happened.

Gary Gillman -

But could that occur with pasteurized beer? No live yeast in such bottles, no?

Gary

Mark -

Gary, I agree that pasteurized bottles would make it impossible to harvest yeast. My wild speculation is that SN did source the Ballantine yeast, but through "less romantic" means.

Herb Meowing -

@GaryG

I brewed the Bullion/Cluster recipe found on http://hbd.org last winter. The body t'weren't right b/c the mash was too hot. Stashed a few bottles to see if time actually heals all beers.

Need to find a spot in this fall's production schedule to try again.

HM