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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The Professor -

Interesting stuff.
I see where you're coming from, but I'm not so sure about the idea of 'good' beer promoting temperance. In some quarters I don't see 'good beer' as even promoting _respect_ for beer. Especially true in an era where the trend is to package higher ABV beers in larger measures; strong beers of the type which were traditionally sold in 7 or 8 ounce bottles are now appearing on the shelves in 22 oz 'bombers' (an ironically accurate descriptor).

Even at my 'local', a college town bar which has featured multiple taps of excellent beer since the 1980's, the bartenders now routinely steer the clientele towards the higher ABV products which they serve by the pint. The ABV number has become the main selling point.
Certainly not seeing much temperance there.

Bailey -

Been processing this one. As I'm sure is becoming boring, we ended up looking at it through the prism of the development of CAMRA. The founders of the Campaign, when interviewed, talk about the fun they had 'getting tanked up'; it was born on a drunken weekend; and early meetings fell into disarray when everyone got drunk and punchy. The major focus of the first members wasn't the blandness of beer, though that did annoy them, but its diminishing strength.

These days, CAMRA's official line (as we read it) is that real ale is 'good' booze, while supermarket discounted strong cider and spirits are 'bad'. Its rhetoric is of responsible drinking. Something changed somewhere along the line.

So... that's as far as we've got with that thought.

Alan -

But your direction and steps along it are so determined and surprisingly un-travelled. Reminds me of Andy Crouch discovering no one had visited Michael Jackson's library of records at Oxford.

Jeff Alworth -

Alan, sorry for the slow response.

I don't dispute anything you say from a philosophical point of view. But this is public policy, not philosophy. The OLCC was set up simultaneously to sell booze (and raise revenue) and to limit and regulate it. Many of our convoluted laws arise from this confused mission. If you wanted to encourage a sane approach to booze (and we do want to!), you'd draft laws in a different way. 1934 was a long time ago and most laws from that era have aged badly.

As to Carrie Nation, no retractions. The "temperance" movement was an abstinence movement. It was the precursor to Prohibition, and the "temperance" of the title was pure political spin. The temperance gals hated booze and didn't want it tempered, they wanted it illegal.

For what it's worth, history is a little unkind to them. They were addressing a very serious issue, one that was by all accounts way out of hand. They didn't have the benefit of knowing that Prohibition would be born imperfectly or that it was unenforceable in any case. They were offering a decent solution to a terrible problem. I cut them a lot of breaks. But that doesn't mean I buy their spin.

Jeff Alworth -

I should say it doesn't mean I'm blind to their spin.

Alan -

I am not going to agree with this due mainly to its immediate undermining of my thesis: "The "temperance" movement was an abstinence movement."

My main thought is that old chestnut (which is, of course, itself an old chestnut) that the past is a foreign land. I think there is enough room for separate camps of alcohol abolitionists and temperance movement types. But there are any number of points of time between 1840 and 1940 for the two to move, morph, overlap and merge. Plus, what was happening in Maryland and Wisconsin would have greatly differed from the harder dry states.

That being the case, happily, we might both be right or have each enough fact to use for illustration purposes to give the appearance of being right.

Bailey -

Sign at CAMRA's 1979 Great British Beer Festival: "Avoid hangovers -- stay drunk!"