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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Mikkel Frimer-Rasmussen -

Try to find the light ale called "Summer Fusion" from the Danish micro brewery named "Amager Bryghus". The American market is their largest export market.
It is rater heavily hopped, but light in alcohol and therefore calories.
And it tastes well :)

Bruce Ticknor -

Grand River Brewing makes several very tasty brews and all at low alcohol content (except their Russian Gun Imperial Stout).
How well does low alcohol translate into low calorie? Probably pretty close in the beer world but I have never checked it out.
Some research for tomorrow.

Gary Gillman -

Good comments.

Another well-hopped beer, not a craft beer but widely available, which combines good flavour and low ABV and calories, is Amstel Light. Another, a craft product, is Sam Adams Light. The potential is there and it should be exploited by craft brewers.

I would hope though they don't go wholesale in this direction. Rich malt and high or higher ABV are characteristic of great beers. It just is so. Better to drink less of them than compromise too much on this issue, else one risks the disappearance of the very thing that has made the craft beer segment unique and valued.

Many years ago, I read the mordant-but-accurate comment of a regional American brewer apropos light beer. When asked why he didn't make a light beer, he said, if you want light, pour half of our high test in a glass and re-seal the bottle for the fridge. Pour soda water in the glass to fill it. You have light beer.

I do it all the time. Recently in New York, at a beer bar I wanted to try a cask stout that was 7.5%. I ordered it, drank 25% of it, and asked the bartender to fill it with soda. I had an instant 5% ABV version and it was excellent. And I had more beer in total than my dollar initially purchased.

So this is another stratagem for many (I won't say all) high calorie, high ABV beers: cut them with carbonated water to your desired ABV.


Gary Gillman -

I might add that without question, a circa-4% excellent beer can be made. Many fine English bitters are the proof of it. Some of the traditional European styles were in this range, e.g., much German and Czech lager 100 years ago (Urquel is still 4.4% I believe). However, our beer culture would be poorer without IPAs starting at 5% and often at 6%-6.5%, ditto for stout in its classic form, ditto for old ale not mention barley wine (Burton and Scotch ale in traditional terms).

Let's expand the current range in North America, not restrict it is all I am saying.


Bruce Ticknor -

Gary Gillman
I agree with most of what you are saying. Great tasting beer can be low ABV but some beer just seem to demand the alcohol.
A barley wine just wouldn't be without the alcohol.
But I draw the line at watering my beer. That's what questionable bars do and I'm damned if I'll do it to myself.

Chris -

As the saying goes, "Drink well, drink less". That is what I do. I want hops and malt in my beer. Light beer doesn't cut it for me.

Alan -

I have never been convinced that the quantity of flavour has anything to do with the quality of flavour. "Drink well, drink less" makes no more ultimate sense as "drink well, drink more." Depends on what you are drinking.

Ten years ago, I was a mad homebrewer with an acre vegetable garden. I brewed 3.2% beer - milds and ordinary bitters - with bags of flavour that I used to drink as I worked out amongst the onions. No need to overly limit my intake when the beer was so well suited to the day's work.

Thomas Cizauskas -

Thanks for putting the numbers in perspective, Alan. Good analysis.

Gary Gillman -

Alan, I can't disagree with you but can only express my own taste. Sometimes I don't want to drink low gravity beer, it's too much liquid and indeed calories can mount consuming that way. A single 6.5% pint is often easier to drink and satisfies more than two beers at 4% each.

On diluting beers, of course it's different when I do it intentionally to my own drink vs. what underhand pubs did at one time e.g., commonly in England in the 1800's. I used to make shandies and then I realized I could retain more of the flavour of the beer being mixed to leave out the flavour in the soda. Big saving in calories too. The kind of water you use makes a difference, I find you want something soft with small bubbles and not saline.