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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Craig -

As opposed to my normal spouting of about things I know little about, I actually have some true expertise when it comes to things involving design and communicating concepts and information visually.

The thing to keep in mind is that the data will determine the design. The organization may need to be more than one chart. A Minard-esque diagram would work well for brewery (or breweries) outputs over a given period of time but not necessarily for distribution. A density map, on the other hand might work best to show frequency of advertising in a specific place or places and/or distribution. What is paramount is that the information that is to be displayed is concise and applicable for whatever kind of chart is being employed to convey that information.

Bailey -

Ah, excellent point. Knut said something similar recently, too, and, as I said in a comment there, it's all too easy to drink beer, think about beer, read about beer...

Have you read Microcosm by Norman Davies? Barely mentions beer but does a great deal to illuminate the central European 'beer lands'.

Alan -

See, because of Tufte I have a clue about what you wrote, Craig.

dave -

Tufte is a great read. A co-worker has the Napoleon's doomed march illustration on his wall, and I find myself staring at it every-so-often.

And when making an illustration about an aspect of beer you don't need to clutter it up with beer bottles, glasses, kegs or nameless other beer paraphernalia.

Alan -

Flow charts seem an obvious option for design.

[Ed.: excellent graphical representation of data rimshot action!!!]

Maureen Ogle -

Pesky stuff, all that jangled data. (And, yes, welcome to my world....) Books like the one about the Dutch brewing family can be extraordinarily useful, but as you say, it requires weaving its information and "data" with scattered bits and pieces found hither and yon. Which is why Chapter Two of the beer book too me FOREVER to write.

But: it's so. much. fun!

Jeff Alworth -

Tufte rocks. Until 2010 I was doing research on Oregon's child welfare system. We had two readers for our work--the funders (usually the feds) and the social workers in the system. That latter group was the one we really cared about, but boring data converted into boring or confusing charts (Tufte's "chart junk") ruined our chances of communicating our findings back to the social workers who could use it. That's really what charts are--communication--and good ones can be a revelation.

It's true anywhere--child welfare systems or the beer world.

Craig -

My artistic side is making me say this: Information presented in a visual context does not always design make. At least not good design.

Alan -

And since I don't know what that means I think I am still OK. I have my coloured pencils ready to go but the tax form needs filling out first.

Craig -

I'll clarify. Take Powerpoint for example. While most Powerpoint presentations display information visually, they are rarely well designed.

By the way, design snobbery ranks right up there with beer snobbery—and having a foot in both pools makes me down right unbearable!

Knut -

Norman Davies book ordered. Thanks for the tip, Bailey!

Ethan -

@craig makes me laugh. out loud. in the "with" way, mind you.