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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Pivní Filosof -

This is a raging debate in the Spanish beer blogosphere, there are some people who refuse to publish reviews of bad beers, or even of beers they didn't like, because they don't want to hurt someone. At least now we've come to the point that they (or at least most of them) accept someone else doing so, which, believe me, is a step forward from the position we were a couple of years back.

I'm not anyone to say what people should write in their blogs, but I fear that if they only talk about what's pretty about a certain segment of the brewing industry, instead of bloggers they will be unpaid shill. But that's not my problem.

Zak -

But Alan, how does one differentiate between poorly-made and poorly-conceived? For example, I'm ambivalent about the output of Hitachino Nest, which seem to me to be a collection of overwrought concepts that get in the way of the beer. They are all well-executed, but just, in my opinion, bad ideas.

Bailey -

I always find the Beer Nut's reviews frank without being snarky.

Each to his own on this issue, I'd say. If a given writer doesn't feel comfortable delivering a public kicking to a small businessperson, then I'm not going to blame them; I might, however, feel annoyed if they gave their beer an unwarranted *good* review (i.e. lied).

There are certain breweries you hear nothing about in the Blogoshire. That's often because their beer is bad/boring. Ignoring them is, in itself, (a passive) form of negative criticism.

Alan -

Zak, I think that poorly made and poorly thought out are two separate problems. I have more sympathy for the first as, with a bit of work, it can be corrected and the brewer is more likely to be accepting of constructive criticism. Bad ideas are harder to shake. Some are actually business plans as a sad effort to stand out or even, horrors, to become rock star beer. I think we could call that "premium craft" (ie paying more for the same or less) and I do take your point about Hitachino Nest.

Bailey, at some point the business have to get out of their awkward teen years. In this market, however, there seem to be a lot of folk sprouting grey hairs pretending they are still waiting to go to the prom. At some point, the voluntary buffering of strangers making a product we want to like but can't is not only impolite but counter productive and even against beer fan interests. Brewers are not my favoured nephews.

Alan -

PS: Max, there is nothing sadder than the unpaid brand ambassador. Just as we should disagree when we face premium craft, should we not call out the UBAs?

Bailey -

We know where our threshold is -- the point at which we consider a brewery fair game for public criticism -- but where other people draw their line is their business.

To put that another way, we're not mugs when it comes to breweries, or commentators on breweries: we don't to read anything which sounds like mindless everything-is-awesome-yay! non-critique; but we tend to respect people who focus on what they like and ignore what they don't.

We may not come to an agreement on this...

Alan -

No, that is well put and I bet a reader would actually find more expressions of disappointment in your writing than mine.

Bailey -

Perhaps the important thing is that a writer acknowledges there *is* such a thing as bad craft beer even if they don't name names?

Jordan St.John -

I have found a pleasant balance. Typically, if I'm writing for the newspaper, I try to be positive because I don't want to get sued and my job gets easier if more people drink craft beer in the long term. If I'm writing for the blog, I tend to just say what I think.

Jeff Alworth -

The time has come for a blog called: Beers to Avoid or something like it. I'd contribute. (It would be hard for that to be a single-writer blog, but maybe someone who drinks a lot more beer than me.) In my view bad beer comes in three categories, and they're all useful to condemn--though for different reasons.

1. Beers made cheaply to sell to a mass audience. Not all light lagers suck, but some--especially the gimmick beers--can be really terrible.

2. Infected/flawed beers. Mercifully far rarer than they once were, thanks both to more skillful brewing beer-handling.

3. Ill-conceived or badly-executed beers. These are the hardest to review, but the most valuable. If that cool sour ale that's getting a 99 on BeerAdvocate tastes like battery acid, someone needs to call it out.

I'm with you, Alan! (Err, right behind you.)

Jeff Alworth -

The time has come for a blog called: Beers to Avoid or something like it. I'd contribute. (It would be hard for that to be a single-writer blog, but maybe someone who drinks a lot more beer than me.) In my view bad beer comes in three categories, and they're all useful to condemn--though for different reasons.

1. Beers made cheaply to sell to a mass audience. Not all light lagers suck, but some--especially the gimmick beers--can be really terrible.

2. Infected/flawed beers. Mercifully far rarer than they once were, thanks both to more skillful brewing beer-handling.

3. Ill-conceived or badly-executed beers. These are the hardest to review, but the most valuable. If that cool sour ale that's getting a 99 on BeerAdvocate tastes like battery acid, someone needs to call it out.

I'm with you, Alan! (Err, right behind you.)

Mike Phillips -

Well said Jeff. I'm particularly offended by those that constantly pass off badly infected beers as "craft" and then speak to the skill of the brewer. Makes me sick. Freddy Beach New Brunswick produces more diacetyl than even Orville Redenbacher could ever hope to use.

Amanda K. -

I know exactly which brewer you speak of Mike. What's even more maddening is one of New Brunswick’s local beer writers, who also writes for TAPS, still promotes these ales as "good beer".