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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Pivní Filosof -

I think that rather than overrated breweries there are overrated beers (if a brewery produces too many of them, then it becomes overrated, too). Quite often a beer becomes overrated not because its maker so wants, but because of a loud minority, the best example of that, IMO is Westvleteren 12.

On the other hand, many "craftophiles" are very much like indie music fans. Once the object of their affection somehow breaks into the mainstream they accuse it of "selling out", etc, almost as if they resented its success. Quite pathetic behaviour, actually.

That said. Calagione's response was silly at best.

Bailey -

As it happens, we've been pondering on this, too. (Just posted.) Object to the idea that if we as consumers don't unquestioningly support craft beer, or even all beer, we're traitors of some kind.

And, yes, when breweries get big, consumers stop mollycoddling them, because they're all growed up. Why is anyone (especially brewers...) surprised by that?

Stephen Beaumont -

I read Sam's post much differently, Mr. McL. I don't think he was so much espousing the "we're all in this together" approach as countering the kind of "you're too big to be cool" attitude Max references above.

Jeremy -

It seems like criticism from the inane to the well-thought-out is anathema in the craft beer world. This reaction is a bit over the top for what started out as a silly/trolling forum post. It actually reminds me of Garret Olivers reaction to the criticism of the OCB. Have these "beer clebs" become so used to people loving everything they do that the slightest negative statement results in a sharp counterpoint that suggests that if you don't agree with them you must not be part of the true craft beer community?

Alan -

I might agree with you, Mr. B., if he were not also stating this:"

Even if attitudes toward cans are changing, many people don’t like the idea of craft beer cozying into containers whose cultural status has long been defined by Bud, beans and Spam. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione, for example, says his focus has been to elevate beer to the level of wine, a mission best served by gravitating toward 750-milliliter bottles, not 12-ounce aluminum tubes.

See, I take "dare to grow" to include "dare to move to a $15 caged cork bottle." I entirely agree with the idea that the BAer's cited having lost perspective but there are also brewers to my mind who have lost perspective, too, with their focus on an over priced market point leveraging branding and "rock star" associations beyond what is in the glass.

Keep in mind the advice I got from a senior lawyer when I was a fresh grad: make sure you bill them well as no one respects advice on a serious matter that comes with an inexpensive account.

Stephen Beaumont -

Oh, Mr. McL, using a paraphrased, out-of-context statement from a completely different and almost entirely unrelated article as the basis for interpreting and, it needs be added, fundamentally altering the meaning of Sam's statement?! No judge in the world would let you get away with that one!

Alan -

Well, here is my problem. I like to understand context and am seeing a wee bit more than enough of "supply side" thinking in responses to criticism these days. To test that, to determine if that is true, in law, we use many tools including a little thing we like to call of as "prior inconsistent statement"!! ;-)

Joe Stange -

Well, you guys are both basically right. He doesn't explicitly use the "we're all in this together, right community?" shtick. But it's implied, I think, in his reminding us all that craft still has just 5% of the market.

Alan -

Who ever came up with the "We re the 5%!!" craft beer t-shirt made me gak like a cat with a fur ball.

Craig -

Haters gonna hate—deal with it.

Sam refers to his stuff being in the "most popular" category and then complains that people are badmouthing his brew. Sorry Sam, I hated the good-looking, star quarterback, who nailed all the cheerleaders, too—I'm human, sue me. He might want to use this as a wake up call—maybe DFH is overrated. Perhaps the people have spoken. As far as the BAers go, think of it this way—a person is smart, people are stupid. Don't you think that the previous review might have had some influence on the review after it. Compound that by a hundred or a thousand reviews. Right or wrong, people want to fit in, and if bashing DFH on BA makes some dude on his computer happy, no one is going to change that with some pro-craft beer, occupy-a-pint-glass rebuke. By the way, nothing gets me going more than a rich guy acting like he's not rich. You might lose a bit of street cred as a "brewer of the people" when you're tag-teaming with Discovery, Google and Pearl Jam to sell beer—appearance is everything.

Sam T -

It's all marketing speak. Sam is really good at it, and much better at it than at actually making beer (not that he's bad at that part, but his marketing skill is almost unparalleled in the industry).

For a brewery of their size, Beer Advocate is insignificant. Sure, they play along with the fests and such to market a bit and have fun, but their consumer base is vastly larger than those who bitch on forums. He didn't need to make that post and probably shouldn't have.

You can't really take anything said in the Beer Advocate thread too seriously to begin with (the very idea and practical definition of "over-rated brewery" makes it futile) but Sam basically came in and told everyone that their opinions didn't matter and they needed to fall into the party line. That disturbs me a little bit. What if the offending opinions had been more eloquently and respectfully articulated?

It's hard to see amidst the ocean of noise, but clearly there are consumers that are dissatisfied with many popular producers right now. In the end, they will vote with their wallets and the complaints will either ring true or be drowned by masses of supporters who are still ready to stand in line for the next specialty release. As long as Dogfish or any other brewery is selling their beer and making money, why would they change? To make a few whiners happy? Better to just ignore them and keep following your passion.

Alan -

So passion = bottom line. Thanks for clearing up what I have long suspected.

Sean Inman -

I do not want to return to a time with little to no choices in beer. So I will support any brewery that "dares" itself and the customer. And by support, I mean tasting the beer and giving my honest opinion either on my blog, on RateBeer or with my wallet. I will also support any brewery that makes a great brown ale or ESB too.

I do not care what the size of the brewery is, how cool or uncool the brewer is, whether it is ultra-hoppy or barrel aged or all of the above. If that makes me a "patsy" or a hypnotized member of Team Craft Beer then the "I am the 5% shirt" fits.

I fear there are too many out there who enjoy the vitriol and thrive on bad news. I choose to find and associate with the good people of beer (and they are legion) and not with the people who would squelch experimentation or claim that passion is a thing to be mocked.

Alan -

Well, just as long as you are also not being taken to the cleaners along the way. With respect, passion is a euphemism for a lot of things. And there are a lot of boring people in the world of beer, too. About exactly the same proportion that you find in any walk of life. Beer's not always good so I will point that out whenever I see it.

Ethan -

Honestly, anyone who gets involved in a thread about "overrated breweries" is a tool, a simpleton, or both. I would never have even known about that thread if Sam C. had not jumped on it--and/or BeerNews.com or you not blogged about it--and that's how I like it.

It is certainly also worth making the point that the ratings themselves and the fora around them are two different beasts; one need not participate in both. (Or either, natch).

Alan -

I think someone agrees with me.

Alan -

I had no idea there were so many ways to be unctuous.