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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Gary Gillman -

Good thoughts Alan. In fact, I am just old enough to remember that in the pre-craft era, beer fans felt just as enthusiastic and had as many variegated experiences.

What seems uniform today (all big brewers' beers were alike) did not seem so at the time. There was Bock to look forward to in the Spring, Molson made a Super-Bock as I recall, tan-coloured, a little malty, different enough that we noticed. You could find Molson Porter in Hawkesbury. You could buy books (pre-Jackson) on beer, e.g. John Porter's A Book On Beer, Michael Weiner's world guide (very readable), and a series of popular histories by a gent called Will Anderson - I wonder if he is still with us?

Guinness was available in the pubs - a few anyway - and Labatt was making the bottled version that is still produced. Stateside visits produced a plethora of different beers: lightish, corny lagers, Ballantine IPA (amazing and an unexplained loss to American brewing), Penn State porters, Maximus Super from West End Brewing in Utica (now F.X. Matt), the hoppy Schlitz, the Piels Draft, the cream ales of Genessee and some other places. And Michelob, Andeker, and Augsburger, good versions albeit lighter of European lager styles.

Finally there were a few bottled imports: Whitbread made a grainy pale ale of light gravity, Bass was around in stubbies, Tuborg too which was delicious when fresh. and MacEwan's Scotch Ale with its smoky tang from roasted barley.

People held beer tastings, information was around. The palate range was much less than today but it seemed wide enough especially if you searched out beers.

In other words, there is a certain relativeness to the matter, I think it must be said. It is always a golden age, no pun intended. :)


Gary Gillman -

Memory plays funny tricks and I want to correct one thing: it was Schaefer, archetypal New York State beer at the time, that had a hoppy edge, not Schlitz. Indeed Schlitz was still going through what might be called a dumb period. (The formulation was changed in the late 60's and it started losing market shar

There are still enough surviving examples of these beers that a pre-craft tasting could be usefully organised Alan. Indeed you are well-placed geographically to find many of these for a U.S.-focused tasting, e.g., Piels (made by Pabst), Schlitz ditto (now to the original, or at least early 1960's, recipe), the Narragansett revival, Maximus Super and Utica Club, Yuengling porter, Genessee Cream Ale or the restored Genny 12 Horse, Ballantine XXX, and some of the mid-70's imports like St. Pauli Girl, MacEwan's Scoth Ale or Whitbread Pale Ale, and, well it goes on. If you ever can do this Alan let me know I'll come down!


P.S. I would set myself a project of trying to find something locally that is close to Ballantine IPA. Granite Best Bitter is quite close, I could bring a couple of jugs. I'm thinking possibly that this beer, blended with Wells IPA, might be the ticket.


Win Bassett -

Wonderful post, and I could not agree with you more re: "My life and the bits that include beer are too good to worry about perfection. I want not. The beer has been just fine so far. I have met too many good people, read too many good ideas and sipped too many tasty drinks to not be fine with how things are working out."

Tiffany -

Years ago I opened accounts on beer review websites only to leave them in neglect. To rate and score, to compare the beers to established standards, to research and evaluate.... I found decreased my enjoyment.

I love that you brought to light that the times, people, and places with the beer make it "the perfect beer." This is something I also feel true. There have been times where sharing beer, no matter how good or bad it tastes, it was the perfect beer for the occasion, creating indelible memories that still warms my heart and brings a smile to my face.