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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Stan Hieronymus -

Because I'm too lazy to register at just-drinks.com, and you must do that to comment, I'll ask the question with hopes Pete drops by. Who is this?

One blogger expressed outraged disbelief that such a book omitted an entry on Leipziger Gose bier.

I ask because I might have been the first to point out Gose is not in the book. But not in outraged disbelief, or at least I thought.

Gary Gillman -

I am not registered there either (maybe later) so would like to comment here on his other point, about how draft beer is sometimes served badly.

There is a tradition though (as I've gleaned it) of beer being served "liberally", without the "restraint" showed most other drinks. This manifests sometimes by the drink being allowed to overflow, and to serve the beer intentionally this way to the (presumably) avid consumer. It highlights the "generous" and "uninhibited" aspects of the beer ethos, in other words. I think of that old Mexican ad, reproduced in the World Guide To Beer by Michael Jackson, showing a mug of lager overflowing held by a sturdy brewery worker and a wild boar below laps up the drippings from the glass. (Maybe too it's a kind of indirect allusion to the strength of the beer, a la bock labels depicting a kicking goat).

Countless other examples can be cited of beers poured with "vigour" in this way and of course you see it every day in bars around the world, which doesn't make it right but I think this attitude of generosity, informality, is part of it.

One of the most enduring images of this is how servers carry foaming glasses at Oktoberfests and set them firmly on the tables wherein more foam soaks into them.

I prefer myself to be poured a beer cleanly in the glass, leaving it dry (on the outside!) even at the cost of slightly less measure. I don't like though when a dirty bar towel is used to wipe the sides clean: I'd rather do it with paper napkins myself. And I dislike in the extreme when the swan neck is immersed in the glass for a pint of real beer. It happens very frequently now, but I think the dried beer on the tap might affect the taste of the next one poured.

Oh well. The only perfect dispense is the one you do at home, but for most of us that means pouring from bottles or cans. So compromises must be made. Withal, the experience at a good bar is usually positive, but bearing with minor irritations seems destined a permanent part of having a drink out.

By the way one of the good things about the onward march of A-B-InBev is the practice I see increasingly of rinsing the glass in the machine they have for the purpose. Excellent idea. The main thing with beer service in my experience is that the glasses sometimes have an odour from the washing, dishwater soap or other off-smells. Rincing avoids that for practical purposes. And Stella Artois may not be the best lager in the world but in a pinch and if fresh it's still a good beer.


braukerl -

Perception is a funny thing. That piece didn't strike me as balanced so much as naked axe-grinding (a dangerous occupation). I notice no mention is made of Garret Oliver accusing other writers of McCarthyism. Taking beer too seriously only cuts one way, apparently.

Bill -

I read both these posts and it seems like some people who claim to understand beer probably don't know as much as they think they do. Beer overflows a glass because it foams up when you pour it. If you want a glass that's half foam then you don't have to worry about this. Most beer drinkers I know want to drink beer, not foam, so they fill the cup and the foam overflows. It's got nothing to do with disrespecting a beverage. If writers spent more time drinking and less time forming opinions on the social status of their drinks there wouldn't be articles like this wasting my time. By the way, I drink from the bottle or the can, so foam is not an issue and my hands stay dry and clean.

jesskidden -

‘Guys, get a grip – it’s only beer.’

Well, no, Pete, in this case it's also sixty bucks. That's a lot of money to pay for a book from a publisher which claims to stand for "scholarly, educational, and research excellence and authority" that is full of errors and repeating of beer myths without some of the authors doing any research of original sources.

I was just looking over the entry on "pumpkin ale" and one of the sources noted for the history of the “beer” was a homebrewing internet forum(!).

Bailey -

Again, I think the problem is that Ron Pattinson and Martyn Cornell (and Rob Sterowski, who I hope won't mind being referred to as an acolyte of theirs) are scholars foremost, writers second, so telling them to "lighten up" is like telling a professor of archaeology that the subject of his study is "just rubble" and that he should stop being so anal about it.

Pete's a great writer and a real champion for good beer, but that piece still sounds to me like a plea for he and other beer writers to be allowed to cut corners without being hassled by nerds.