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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Alan -

Perhaps the notes for very strong ale are at Duke or Michigan.

Bailey -

Later this week we're posting on the subject "why we brew"; one reason is certainly a reaction to the market place.

Steve Gates -

Alan, your opinion to the word "cheat" refers to the weak or substandard ale brewed by Kingston commercial brewers or does it refer to the prices demanded by those brewers? Barrie does lament about the 6 pence per gallon demanded by K-town brewers, what is it that you believe that causes Barrie to commence his own home brewing pursuits? Home brewing was most certainly not an uncommon act during this timeframe, I suggest that the esteemed Commodore Barrie was undoubtedly quite vociferous in his opinions of the skills and price gouging demonstrated by the Kingston commercial brewing industry and that is what they took umbrage with.

Alan -

After the 1838 attacks by the US militiamen, those held in Fort Henry complained that the food supplied by the well known John Counter was substandard. I expect that the cheat was the same you see following government institutions anywhere. Too low in quality for too high in price. As you say, the gouge. I would expect home brewing as we know it would not have been popular in the town as there were so many sources of supply - many small public houses providing their own beer. In his position, however, Barrie would not have been demonstrating the poor price asked of residents but of the military as a whole.

Steve Gates -

I have not encountered anything in print that definitively proves that a local publican brewed his own beer in Kingston. I have encountered proof that brewers have gained tavern licenses for the purpose of ensuring a tied house for the commercial retail of their beer. What have you found in this regard? Also, interestingly enough there is proof that tavern keepers in Napanee, Camden East and Belleville have brewed their own beer for on premis purchase, a smaller market perhaps is the most obvious difference between those communities and Kingston. Commodore Barrie sounds like a very interesting individual, both industrious and intelligent. My experience shows that this is the best combination of character traits for a Senior Officer, industrious and stupid being the worst.

Alan -

I have heard that there are heritage and archaeological reports to that end, that 1800s taverns are understood to have left room for in house brewing. That being said, it is anecdotal or at least hearsay. Now I need to go nail that down.

Steve Gates -

Is there anything written thus far, that you have encountered, that describes Kingston based taverns and inns during the pre-Confederation timeframe? I would be very interested in reading something like that. Any ideas as to where to find such a creature?

Mark O -

Is homebrewing really a reaction? I figured I'd caught some contagious disease...