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 -

Hello Alan,

I'm glad you've got the spirit of this poll. It's not whether you prefer "quality" beer, but whether you would be churlish towards others' hospitality. And my personal view is that, while Carling certainly would never be my drink of choice, it's a bland, tolerable, industrial product, not vile muck.

I've also pointed out in the comments that, if you reject Carling, but instead choose the mass-market equivalents in other drinks categories, you're not exactly being consistent.

Craig -

I was sitting hear trying to think of a comment about all this behavior, and it dawned on me why I was having a tough time coming up with something.

I have no time for douchebaggery.

I've had a number of party hosts actually apologize to me for not having better beer. My answer is universally the same. "No apology necessary. I will always be happy to drink your beer."

Steve Lamond -

Most parties I've been to are BYOB anyway, you must have gracious hosts over there. As I said over at mudge's I'd rather go without altogether, I don't need beer or alcohol to enjoy myself on an evening out. Good manners is only valid up to a point. If you were a vegetarian and your host cooked you steak, you wouldn't eat it would you? Why should you force yourself to have something you know you don't like. Just be discreet about it and not make a massive fuss.

Re: tasters in pubs. What Melissa is getting at is that most often the pubs that don't give tasters know the cask beer isn't up to scratch but want your money so are refusing it. Once you've paid it can be even harder to get the beer exchanged, unless its obviously vinegar...and even then some pubs get it checked by other regulars

Bailey -

Alan -- don't think we disagree -- see this post from before Christmas and remember that our scale of beer appreciation recognised the fault line between making exercising your right to choice (number 3) and being a pain in the bum (number 2).

I've just said this at Curmudgeon's blog: "Ah. I think, once again, we sort of agree, once all the qualifiers and modifiers have been shaken out of the question.

"So this isn't a big anonymous party where no-one is paying attention to what you're drinking? And, if you don't drink Carling, you have to drink wine or spirits (all of which are also not 'decent')? There are no soft drinks?

"And, if you refuse the Carling, the host will definitely be offended?

"Didn't get all of that in the question but, yeah, if those are the conditions, then you take the Carling, like Alan says, especially if, as he also suggests, you don't actually have to drink it, if you really don't like it."

Bailey -

Curmudgeon -- Carling might be tolerable to some and downright nasty to others -- matter of personal taste there, surely, just as with any beer?

Ron Pattinson -

I usually just take my own beer.

Bailey -

Ron -- don't you just get some Carling brewed to the 1950s recipe or something?

Alan -

On a cultural point, it is fairly high school over here to take drinks to a party then drink them just yourself. Drinks are gifts and maybe shared but, again, one would not want to monopolize conversation over one's own interests for fear of being a bore. The host has gone to a lot of effort and expense to have you all over. It's part of a guest job to be aware of that.

Steve: I take your point on the intention and that is clear from the text. I just don't think it represents good manners to enter into a pub as if wearing a hazmat suit, testing for biological nightmares. Buy a beer and then have the discussion. 99.8% of the time, there should be no issue to discuss.

Michael -

I think this is a great post. Good manners is a great way of trying to remember how to conduct ourselves around people who don't share our passion. When I first got into beer about eight years ago, I'm afraid I made a real snob of myself. Now with some time to mature, I realize that if you are a beer geek, pretty much every body knows it whether you tell them or not, and they will watch how we conduct ourselves. If you act like a jack ass, then they will think that this is how all beer geeks are, and you may lose the opportunity to win some one over to better beer.

Gary Gillman -


I agree, subject of course that if someone prefers a soft drink to a mass-produced beer, they should feel free to drink one.

By the way in rural Ontario, it is considered completely normal to bring your own beer to a party. In the large city, this happens much less, at least in my experience, unless it is a group of beer fans intent on trying different things. But I see nothing wrong with bringing one's own beer to any kind of private event. I think most hosts would find that normal since some people have particular preferences.


Stephen Beaumont -

I am Canadian, and therefore well-schooled in politeness. But I take issue with a couple of your points, Mr. McL.

First, you note the phrase in the original poll "...if you are at a party..." I note "Drink something other than beer." There is nothing impolite about choosing wine or whisky over beer. As a host, I regularly offer my guests a choice of what to drink, often I think too wide a choice, while as a guest I'm typically asked what I'd like to drink, not what beer I'd like to drink.

At a bar or pub, if I'm a little worried about what's on draught, I see nothing impolite about asking if I could have a taste of something on tap. They are free to say no, as I am free to say, "Well, I think I'll have a Beefeater and tonic, then." Or if I order a pint that turns out to not be to my taste, I can say (and have said) that I'll happily pay for it but would prefer something else. No feathers ruffled or impoliteness expressed, I believe.

Alan -

Those are all good refinements of where I was going. I do agree that all manner of drinks should be offered - even to those who bring their own. I do like there being some level of commitment to buying but as you say, Mr. B, it may well not be buying this. I am by the way quite happy to say that a pint has a funny taste and offering it back to the other side of the bar. It's that fear of engagement in the relationship with the first pint that I do find a bit fearless.