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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Bailey -

We've been struck lately by the tone of the CAMRA guide to East London and the City from 1986 which refers, in several places, to pubs which are popular with 'gays'. This is from the entry for the George IV in Poplar: 'This is a gays pub where membership of the set is nearly obligatory to obtain entry.' Sounds offensive to modern ears.

Jeff Alworth -

Wait, WAIT just a second. WRITER IN RESIDENCE FOR A BREWERY? How do I get this job? (And how sticky is this "residence" business?)

I suspect your memory of 1993 is pretty sharp, if it's like mine. That's the magic window--recent enough that it's not just all shadowy images and traumatic moments--but long enough ago that you were still storing stuff in long term memory. I remember 1993 far clearer than I remember 2010.

And incidentally, they had an IPA down in Boston in '93, apparently. Which does seem damned early, doesn't it?

Alan -

What US craft was I drinking in 1993? Maybe beers brought back from Portland Maine mainly. Shipyard Export? But I would be mainly drinking malty brews, first wave Ontario craft beers. Except for the old days of Kingston Brewing Dragon's Breath which had a decidedly sharp grapefruit rind flavour. Ontario's first US style IPA?

I will admit I made up the "in residence" bit except that he is a professional writer engaged by the brewery to do a weekly column for them. I think he's the only example of that I have heard of. And he is allowed to live a bit up the road, too.

Jeff Alworth -

By '93 things were humming in Oregon, but I've been racking the old wrecked brain to try to recall the arrivals of IPAs. The region was already well into its fascination with hops, but for some reason IPAs were not their substrate. BridgePort changed the market for IPA in 1996, but were they the first?

Oh, old brain, why do you hate me so?

Alan -

Weren't you just telling me that this was all pretty firmly in the brain cells because it was "long enough ago that you were still storing stuff in long term memory"? My mental marker is that I moved away from Ontario in the fall of 1997 so that any of this beer that I did have had to be from before that. This decidedly Web 0.5 site indicates that it was around in 1994.

Ian in Cowtown -

I am hardly a beer historian, but I was drinking beer in the 90s and distinctly remember Bert Grant as a pioneer of West Coast IPA. He opened Yakima Brewing and Malting in 1982 but I think his IPA came later - late 80s or early 90s would be my best guess, certainly by 1993. It had a reputation as being extremely bitter for the time. I imagine it would seem tame in our 100+ IBU world.

Bert Grant was quite a character, famously carrying a vial of hop oil to enliven pedestrian beers. He also brewed an early Russian Imperial Stout and Fresh Hop Ale.

Alan -

I will have to ask at the KBC about when they started up the hoppy version of Dragons Breath, how far into the early 90s.

Jeff Alworth -

Alan, what in the world is that amazing trove? Very very cool. And great blog fodder. In any case, I plead guilty. I have no idea what happened in the past. My recollections are at best bad.

Ian, I'm pretty sure it was nowhere near 100 iBUs--I may misremember a lot, but I drank a ton of that beer. It had a snicker doodle base and floral-citrus hopping and was actually fairly balanced. Jackson says 60 BUs.

Martyn Cornell -

I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year,
And I’ve spent all my money on whisky and beer.
But now I’m returning, with gold in great store,
And I never will play the wild rover no more.

And it's no, nay, never
No, nay, never no more
Will I play the wild rover
No never, no more

Alan -

Now, that was a big hit in the taverns of my youth come to think of it.