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 have received free samples from breweries, which they are always welcome. I have also asked breweries for samples, I will not say I regret it, but it is something I will never do again.

I can understand why some breweries want to "court" bloggers, if I was in their shoes, I'd do exactly the same, but expecting that a blogger will become a brand ambassador just in exchange of a few beers is taking things a tad too far.

Bailey -

Some brewers, journalists, CAMRA officials and, yes, self-hating bloggers can't conceal the fact that they think all bloggers are, by definition, a bunch of wankers. We can deal with that.

But we do resent attempts to make us (as bloggers and consumers) perform for treats: follow and retweet for a chance to win a t-shirt (indirect spamming); tell us why you deserve a free bottle of beer in 1000 words or less (sit up and beg); you can have a 'scholarship' for the conference on the condition that you write a blog post (dangling cheque); and so on.

Creepy and insulting.

Magnus Bark -

I occasionally get free samples from breweries / distributors, but they have never required anything in return other than the implicit wish that I will review them in the near future.

And when reviewing, I always note that I have got the beer as a free sample.

In fact, when I look back on my old reviews, it seems like I am a bit more critical in my reviews of “free” beer than otherwise.

Despite this, I have from time to time been accused of favouring those beers/distributors/breweries. I guess it is some kind of plain envy.

Joe Stange -

I should keep my mouth shut. Not sure I want to dredge up the ethics-of-freebies debate again. Beer writing and blogging is a big tent, global in fact, with lots of room for different philosophies. My two humble suggestions for anyone trying to sort through his or her own would be (1) think it through and (2) whatever you decide, be transparent.

My shower comment was more a gut response to the name-dropping of better-known writers who had apparently shown little or no interest.

Joe Stange -

I might also note that I've heard little but good things about Hardknott beer and would happily pay for some to find out for myself, should it cross my path. Which I think it will, in the near future.

Craig -

I don't have to worry about any of this. No one ever sends me free beer. I choose to think it's the stinginess of the breweries rather than as a reflection of my writing—although It's probably not.

Whosisbrew -

"But you'll have to prove you deserve it."

Shouldn't they have to prove they deserve MY business?

PEI Beer Guy -

I had an interesting twist of this this past week. Our only local commercial brewery is releasing a new beer in a few weeks. They have a public Facebook page dedicated to it and a video of commercial outtakes on YouTube. I posted what information I knew (only the good stuff, too, as others have given me some negatives), along with a couple of pictures from the FB page as news on my site (as did G. Clow on his page). Within two days, I got a message from someone I know who works for them who was asked by their boss to ask me to remove the pictures from my page, at least until their "official" press release. If it's on FB and YT, isn't the cat already kind of out of the bag? Don't they want help with some news / hype? Weird.

Joe Stange -

PEI Beer Guy: What did you do? Sounds like you were perfectly correct and could have refused on principle... I'm curious about whether you agreed to do it to appease the local brewery.

I know some writers will see a difference between journalists/reporters and bloggers. But at some pint even a blogger has to decide if she wants to be useful to readers or simply useful to breweries.

Joe Stange -

Nevermind, PEI, I see it on your page. I like your artists' rendering better.

Craig Pinhey -

Samples for journalists (whether paid or not) is a normal part of the business, whether it is wine, beer, spirits, or many other products. The hard truth is that many of us could not make a living if we had to buy all of our products for review, or pay for our own trips to wine regions etc. If the producers and industry associations did not do this, then the only people writing about these products would be rich people with nothing better to do then travel around drinking (which is the way it used to be). Nowadays, reviews in magazines and newspapers are generally (not always) done by qualified people, not just those who can afford it. I think that is a good thing.

Alan -

But there is the obvious fact of "friends" in the vending side of the trade buying exciting coverage, too. Wouldn't the objective view of a filthy rich writer be purer, most trustworthy?