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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Jordan St.John -

Community is good. There is also much to be said for quietly reading a book by the pool in the sun.

Joe Stange -

Oh, it's anti-community Alan again.

OK. A transnational community may be in the best interests of thousands of for-profit companies and yet still exist. You and I may not like the rah-rah evangelism aspects of said community, and how it uncritically encourages mediocrity, but it does not take away the feeling of community within those people who believe they belong to it. Geographic proximity is not strictly requires and is a relative thing in any case.

And don't you think colleagues getting blitzed together further fosters that community identity? What is community, if not collective identity?

Alan -

I am so pro-community that I protect it against infiltration by the forces of non-communities seeking the benefits of community without taking on any of the obligations.

Colleagues getting blitzed together further fosters fun and anticipation of the next opportunity colleagues may have to get blitzed together. To allocate more to the function is to encourage the false allocation of other unearned elements of community. The feeling you describe is the movable drinking feast that are these fests and the pleasure of merry familiar company who share an interest brings. Why sully such an excellent thing with the label "community"?

Ethan -

I think Mr. St. John and I would say, of this post, that our mutual pal Alan is remarkably avuncular yet cynical :)

I avoided being drunk for three days straight, it wasn't hard at all, actually. And I met a bunch of people, including the aforementioned, which was great and I believe might legitimately constitute 'creating community' The technical sessions were incredibly informative, AND I even blew off the Sat pm sessions to go see and old friend and the beach. So, you know, to each their own conference.

I would suggest the twitter sample you are citing probably includes a lot of bloggers, n00bs, and 20-somethings (v. brewers, veterans and 30-somethings)... but I can't imagine you wouldn't enjoy the CBC if you were to go. I know you tend to prefer the outside-looking-in perspective, but I would love to see you in DC next year.

Mark -

It all started by calling forward for beer to be a community as opposed to an industry and I think that that's exactly right. It may be an industry sector, but why can't it be seen as a community instead - friendship, helping others out, offering advice, socialising together. And consider that lots of people combine to create a community and each has their own role which help to strengthen it or define. In our local community it might be the baker, the doctor, the mechanic. In beer it might be the lager brewer, the extreme beer brewer, the designer, the bottle manufacturer. Both communities have the relaxing, socialising side of things. And it's possible to do that without getting hammered.

And community just sounds a little more fun and open than 'industry'. Which is exactly right for beer.

Alan -

I don't mind the concept of creating teams and, like moment, am more thinking of the nature of "conference" and "community" than beer. I have my own fill of conferences so bear that burden. Yes, I am sure I would enjoy it. I can't imagine how I will ever get to one. Sponsor me.

I do think there is a better word waiting to be had to describe asymmetrical distanced team making for ad hoc projects that instil a sense of friendship. For example, I believe there is one body of writing about beer and many writers. I mentioned this to Josh Rubin the other week when I saw him in Toronto at this event and he raised my OCB wiki entry on his entry for "Canada" in the actual OCB. Had he not written that short piece and triggered my interest in early Canadian beer, I would not have dug around and found they were brewing in the Arctic in the 1600s and maybe in Newfoundland in the 1500s. We build upon each other's work. But we do not see each other collegiately or meet in community. There needs to be another word.

Ethan -

'tis no cheap conference, indeed; but few are. I don't know what the Media pass costs v. others, and I know you can't just make money appear out of nowhere.... but I'd argue that you get your money's worth, or at least I feel I did. At least DC is drive-able, and itself offers plenty of other activities, many themselves inexpensive or free (memorials, the Smithsonian, cherry blossoms).

As far as a much shorter term for "asymmetrical distanced team making for ad hoc projects that instil a sense of friendship," well... to me at least, community fits just fine. Perhaps I am a semantic simpleton, else, I'm missing your meaning. Is not a virtual, technology-enabled community still a community? Why not?

Alan -

Communities are not homogeneous and have to deal with a complete range of topics many in conflict and many in complete isolation from the other. Narrower topically focused associations like beer fans are something else.

Alan -

Here is a good description of what makes community the opposite of the experience of shared pre-determined interest.


Ethan -

I'll check that out and get back to you... in the meanwhile, mission accomplished w/r/t bottles coming your way: slainté!