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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Curmudgeon -

You don't have to tip in British pubs either.

And 1939, following the Great Depression, was something of a peacetime low point for British beer production, so isn't really a representative starting point. The stats show that it subsequently reached a peak in 1979 and has shown a gradual decline since then.

Alan -

[Who wouldn't tip in a pub? No wonder I get good service in the UK.]

Your observation makes my point even better. Doubles production compared to a peacetime low. The real point is the common comparison of pubs to beer production.

But, really, who wants to go back to 1979 when crap beer in ugly pubs was a bigger part of the entertainment industry. Maybe we could bring back violence in the fitba stands and three channels on TV as well. Punk was angry for a reason.

The Beer Nut -

The pro-pub lobby often cites the smoking ban, drink driving legislation and taxation as factors which are driving pubs out of business.

I reckon they'd be better off fighting central heating, home entertainment and mass-produced soft furnishing: these are the pub's real enemies.

(I didn't think you were serious about the tipping-in-pubs thing, hence your not mentioning it in the body of the post.)

Jon K -

This'll be something to do with that whole "Bowling Alone" thing, I shouldn't wonder.

Dave -

It sounds like we need a government bailout for pubs? But seriously, I drink my beer at home because it's cheap, but several of the brewpubs nearby me don't bottle their best brews, which sometimes forces me to drink expensive beer.

Bailey -

A few years ago, my aged Ps shared their views with us on why they don't go to the pub anymore and prefer to drink at home. Short answer: as Beer Nut says, because their house is much nicer than the pub.

Ethan -

I mourn the loss of pub/beer culture, because 1) while it might not be having any negative impact on beer sales volume, it does have a pernicious effect on sociological structure that creates more coherent and less fractured communities and at the same time 2) the very things that are causing it--an on-demand movie and gaming space in every house and other surburban features--compound those woes.

A country that drinks together does a lot of other things together, too.

Joe Stange -

Oh, people are still drinking together. But now they are also doing it at each other's houses. Personally, I drink more beer in front of my gas grill than I do my TV.

Alan -

Show me a pub that gives me what my shed does on the perfect day.

[BTW - I never mentioned tipping in pubs. I mentioned tipping where I find myself when not at home. Handsome is as handsome does and I tip where I please.]

Jeff Alworth -

It's worth noting that 50% is still massive compared to North America. I don't know about Canada, but only 10% of beer is purchased on draft in the US. We used to drink a lot more in pubs, too, but it cratered about 30 years ago and has been at that level ever since. (Though those looking for a silver lining might note that it's up slightly over the past five years.)

Would anyone like to place bets on where the British floor is on draught sales? 30%, less?

Ethan -

Your shed is a thing of beauty, and I have no problem with a shed beer. As well, at certain times in one's life, it's frankly inappropriate to haunt the boozer. Nonetheless a healthy pub culture is, in my opinion, much more important than just beer sales. Drinking together at people's houses isn't the same thing, as you're not drinking with strangers.

Alan -

See, when you are with strangers, then you actually have community. In a community you have to put up with the bores and jerks. Also because that pub is a microcosm of the community, not itself the community. Fan pubs? That's "scene."

Publican Sam -

For me, having run pubs in UK for over 30 years, the demise of inferior run, poor service, crappy decor, dirty toilets, sticky carpet pubs is nothing to mourn over.

However, the inexorable rise in taxation, alternative ways of entertaining ourselves and (yes I will say) the rise of the off-trade supers have all played a part in the closure of many pubs, some of them well run.

The smoking ban didn't help and neither has the general economic downturn.

Diversity in offering and providing a quality social experience is the only way for pubs to survive and I'd like to think that (as with restaurants) if you get great service you would tip (even if it's just putting a half in for the barstaff).

Every pub I have run has participated and at times become one of the hubs of its community and to lose these valuable social resources would be detrimental to UK society.

Ethan -

I think it's interesting to mediate on the difference between a pub and a "pub", or a Fan Pub as you put it. To me, a critical factor is: kids & dogs welcome. I am so sick of drinking being sequestered off as an "adults only" activity- quite frankly, that is part of what paves the way for alcohol misuse and binge drinking. The American relationship with alcohol is most definitely unhealthy. More pubs, and biergartens, would really help. Sure, sometimes adults want to be away from kids--their own or others!--so it's cool with me that there also be bars for that. But family friendly is where it's at for me anymore, that's sure.

Alan -

We are lucky. The Kingston Brew Pub even offers PBJ and ice cream on its menu to confirm its a family place.

I just made up "fan pub" but I love it. I am working on a lexicon as we go along. "Scene" is another recently returned personal usage I like.

Alan -

Just keeping them together. Another usage: national craft, regional craft and local craft.

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Steve Gates -

It is difficult in these times to truly enjoy the Pub as our Fathers or Grandfathers did because the times they are achangin'. Society's crackdown on drunk driving, the annoying and disrespectful attitudes of todays youth combined with my own lack of patience and antisocial misgivings often make for a less than positive experience in the Pub. My preference strays towards the comfort of my cottage or shed or the company of a few likeminded Army buddies with similar prejudiced and preconceived notions. One can hardly be shocked that the Pub is in decline with social conditions like this existing today.