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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Stan Hieronymus -

Hey Alan - I could be wrong (I'm used to it) but the MBAA and Cicerone programs are not intended for consumers but for people who make life better for consumers.

Alan -

"...people who make life better for consumers..."

You have just lost me. I am pretty sure that just the mark up required to introduce the You Don't Know Enough To Be Happy program for people who enjoy beer already is not a great idea.

What makes you think that beer fans need a better life?

Bailey -

If courses and training mean that we can visit a restaurant and see a carefully chosen selection of beer rather than the five crap beers their wine distributor happens to stock, then that's good news as far as we're concerned.

Alan -

But does it mean that? Purchasing of stock and front line training are different things, no? I am quite content to go into bars, find at good bottle or tap and happily ignore the waiters who has no clue what they are serving me. I actually assume I will know more because of my hobby interest. Frankly, I am there for a beer and maybe a meal, too, not a conversation.

Alan -

Because one way or another this is where it is all leading:

"...“Celebrity” brewers in the form of guest beer writers, visiting brewers and colleagues will also add to the diversity of the brews..."

Lord help us.

Stan Hieronymus -

To be more specific, the program is intended for "Front-of-the-house bartenders, wait staff, retail clerks, and duty managers who want to learn more about beer,"

Craig -

As much as restaurants, be them high-end or otherwise, may think that a cicerone is going to increase sales as a "value added service", I'm not convinced. I think realistically, people are craft beer drinkers or their not. Think of it like quitting smoking. People will quit when their ready, no amount of anti-smoking propaganda is going to really affect anything. The same goes for beer drinkers. A restaurant hiring a cicerone isn't going to convert a Bud Light Drinker—and that Bud Light drinker isn't going to make the decision to go to that restaurant because the have on on staff beer nerd. Having a knowledgeable staff is one thing, and it's great if the bar's buyer buys great beer, but I don't think you need a cicerone to do that. Honestly I don't think 99% of patrons would care if a restaurant does or does not have one. It just seems like a group of beer nerds trying to get paid for being beer nerds.

Alan -

I know Stan. That is why I wrote "...the vast majority are happy with their own understanding of beer." Training front of house staff to train customers is both an expense and the assumption I am writing about.

Jeff Alworth -

"Or are you willing to pay 15 bucks a glass to have the waiter then tell you how clever you were to choose the beer that cost 15 bucks a glass?"

If I had had a mouthful of beer when I read that, it would have shot out my nose.

I guess I'm slightly on the fence on this one. Whenever I talk to people who are sheepish about feeling they don't know enough about good beer, I try to convince them that they don't really need to know that much. Beer is pretty simple, and people don't need a lot of information to sort themselves by style.

On the other hand, when I walk into a restaurant/pub and find an unfamiliar beer, I want the server to offer more than "it's pretty dark" as a description. Twice in recent weeks I've gone into a place and had a beer described as being "like Stella," and in both cases this was wildly inaccurate. (It was like Stella in that it was not a cup of coffee.) I'm always appreciative when someone gives me a decent idea what kind of beer it is.

Alan -

I hear you and, while I am glad the clever sentence had sinus filling capacity I have a third experience most times. I want a bar tender to tell me what you got and I will take a stab at a best guess myself. Even with a well informed bar tender, I feel I am listening to a script rather than having a conversation.

But I am cursed from having pursued this hobby. I don't know what a newbie would want anymore. Haven't for years.