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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Eddie -

I was someone who thought pumpkin beers were gross, but had never tried one until recently and now I am all about them. I think just like any beer, you have to try one that is just right for you. Good post!

Jon -

Good grief Alan, this is practically linkbait for the likes of me. :) I will have to blog this and point to you now of course.

No surprise that I'm totally with you on pumpkin beers. Yes the "classic" pumpkin craft beer (in the sense that the craft beer movement from the 1980s can be considered classic) is the pumpkin-pie-in-a-glass and I love that but I'm just as interested in seeing where the pumpkin beer can evolve to: New Belgium/Elysian's recent Kick, for example, or what I've heard about Jolly Pumpkin's La Parcela.

Pumpkin doesn't have to mean spices though I think most people who are averse to pumpkin beers are thinking just that, and that's where the divisiveness comes in. If it's not handled well, no matter what type of beer, I can understand how spices could ruin a beer for you. But what it comes down to, really, is how can you dislike pumpkin pie? That's just crazy talk. :)

Pear beer is new to me. For the record if pear beers started making appearances like this I'd be all over them too...

Jolly Rodger -

It's all about Midnight Sun's Treat... an amazing Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. Their barrel aged version is amazing as well...

Mark Pacilio -

Alan, Good post. We've been trying all of the new pumpkins we can get our hands on here in NNY. Walover's Organic Pumpkin from Vermont is very good, and Post Road pumpkin ale is also a favorite, along with Dogfish Head. Its nice to mix them in with the seasonal Oktoberfests that also emerge this time of year.

Brett -

Thanks for posting this article. I blogged about it also.

My reaction is - what really unique and flavorful craft beer styles aren't divisive? I certainly know drinkers who don't care for 100+ IBU hop bombs, don't like a ton of roastiness, refuse sour beers, and even I myself don't care for over-the-top maltiness (i.e. doppelbocks).

The divisiveness is evidence of variety, which is what we all like about craft beer.

Gary Gillman -

Pumpkin beer is one of the great innovations of U.S. craft brewing. It has at least one spin-off, pumpkin stout, which is a winner too. I've just read about a pumpkin wheat beer, which sounds intriguing/

The only pumpkin stout I know is from Cape Ann Brewing in MA I believe, but I blend my own to similar effect. Generally I like 1/3rd (or less sometimes) pumpkin beer, 2/3rds any rich stout.

Probably my favourite is Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin, and also Southern Tier's Pumking, but I like many Canadian ones too (Grand River's, also Great Lakes's version).

The style doesn't need the boost, but similar beers were known in U.S. colonial times. A wide variety of fermentables was used to make beer including squashes and pumpkins, and spicing ale is as old as the hills. The style doesn't need pedigree, but it has it anyway.


Douglas McLeod -

Propeller's pumpkin beer is more like a pumpkin pie beer -- the spices are the point. I think I prefer a pumpkin beer that's about the pumpkin.

Craig -

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, too. I road-tested Smuttynose Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumking and DFH Punkin. Not my cup of tea—the lot of them. Rather than pumpkin "pie" beer, I'd much prefer a pumpkin "bread" beer. Something darker and toasty with less spice and maybe even a hint of diacetyl for that buttery touch. Although, I did have Wolaver's pumpkin beer and it was a little closer to—but lighter than—what I'd like to see. Generally, though, I'm not a fan.

You can check my take here

Kyle -

I'm not the biggest fan of overly spiced pumpkins, but I don't understand antagonism to the style. Pumpkin (and all squash) are indigenous to North America.

North American beers have usually bent the rules of the Old World for one reason or another - climatic necessity (California Common), capitalism (American Pale Lager), creativity (Imperial IPA). Why not add pumpkin to beer?

I think beer drinkers steer themselves towards the assertive or complex styles so often that they're not willing to give credit to a creative and sessionable seasonal.

ericmsteen -

I like your thought about 'indigineous beer' as well as what you said about what could we come up with for every month of the year.

I put together a project that explores that a bit, not for every month, but for a few of the warmer months. The beers made explore what can be found on different trails in a particular area. At least here in Colorado, flora can change drastically by going a mile into the mountains, or maybe certain weather patterns form differently in a particular part of a city that affect what grow there. I'll let you read more about it here: