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 Mr. Socrates said, I know that I know nothing. Those six words can go a long way.

Alan -

Yet, I look forward to the Atlas as Hugh Johnson's one for wine is a great resource. I have hope for Jeff's own upcoming book. Maybe I am still suffering from the post-OCB blues. I do want more local guides... and drink specific guides, too. The news that Pete Brown is doing a cider guide is very good news.

But another 1293898312 Beers Before You Die or a pan-style guide? Save me. Another article on the history of porter? Save me.

Jeff Alworth -

The trouble with me is I'm a hyperbolist. I get it from my dad. Temperamentally, I'm an anti-absolutist, a mushy-mushist. My estimates never exceed 99%. But my instinct to say things in wild hyperbole always undermines me. See: always. There it is. The good thing is I think I've just found the title to my memoir--The Hyperbolist.

I'm really happy to hear you say you're interested in the book. It's taking so long I'm already feeling that sense that it's moment is passed. Plus, it will probably be an unnecessary footnote once Tim and Stephen are done with the subject. But it has been an enormously fun education for me, so there's that.

"And, for extra points, ought we restrict our selves to those things or is all the other mumbo-jumbo, myth making, rumour mongering the stuff that really makes beer interesting?" Remember that when you finally receive a review copy, will you?

Alan -

I should have put that in the post. You didn't invent "absolutely" and it is a perfectly good point. Yet... these things get me thinking.

Here's a question, though. After doing all this, would you be inspired to write a regional or style specific guide? I would love to read a detailed study of British pale ale, saison or even the beers of Idaho. With mapping. And critical review telling me which brewer in 1878 sold his soul and which IPA sucks today. Would you go there?

Jeff Alworth -

Idaho, state of my birth. I can't see that being a riveting book, but perhaps it's the familiarity.

I do think there are a few avenues left unexplored. I believe people like to read stories. Guide books are a little dull because for the most part they read like Wikipedia. Styles lend themselves to stories, which has promise. (The Beer Bible is structured around styles, sort of, and so I'm getting a bit of a hit of that already.)

Another way to go might be breweries themselves. One of the things I enjoy most is talking to breweries about their businesses. They didn't spring up from nowhere, and each one reflects the personality of the founder--they lend themselves to stories.

Example: There's a guy named Alan Taylor here in Oregon who's looking to found a brewery. He got into brewing circuitously, but definitively. When he was in college, his RA caught him drinking beer and forbade him from drinking unless he could figure out how to brew it himself. A German major, he ended up in Europe and, eventually, in brewing school in Munich. (I forget whether it was Weihenstephan or Doemans.) After he graduated, he managed a brewpub in Germany. Eventually he found his way back to the Widmer Brothers where he stayed long enough to decide he wanted to open his own brewery. At some point, he will open that brewery, and it will have beer, probably good, but we have a boatload of good beer here. I will remember the teen learning how to brew in the dorms far longer than I'll remember the fourth beer in his line.

As always, I'm not sure how you monetize those kinds of stories, but maybe some publisher knows.

(Random side note. I was actually pitching a regional guide when I stumbled across Workman, who pitched the Beer Bible back to me. Since it was a WAY better project, I was happy to scrap the regional book. But you're right--I think it's possible to find a focus in a regional guide that could make it fascinating reading.)