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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Maureen Ogle -

Nice. Nice nice nice. Thanks.

Alan -

What? What so nice I do?

dave -

And the Sox win. Gansetts all around.

Bill -

I was very happy with the game Wed. night!

What follows is an opinion. You can disagree with it. What Horst Dornbusch seemed most upset about with the criticisms of the OCB was that many of the comments involved personal attacks on Garrett Oliver and himself. And what I remember is that when the posts on the book's shortcomings started appearing, a fair percentage of them weren't simply "entry x is wrong," but rather "entry x is wrong, but what would you expect from a book that has Horst Dornbusch as an editor?" You can try to say that all the discussion was solely to advance the cause of getting things right, but you'd be ignoring lots of evidence suggesting that many authorities treated Oliver and Dornbusch poorly not simply because of mistakes, but also because they didn't like Oliver and/or Dornbusch for personal or professional reasons. Some respected beer writers took public pleasure in the verbal beatings that one or both men took, and many of them jumped in willingly to add to the beatings. The scorn directed towards both went far beyond the shortcomings of the work, and their relatively calm and measured and polite responses stood in contrast to all those folks supposedly concerned solely with "getting things right."

I'm not sure what you see in Dornbusch's comments as "wildly sweeping and accusatory," but they don't hold a candle to what was said about him. I don't see his post as hara-kiri. I guess you could say it matches the definition -- a man accused of dishonor, and doing what his tradition dictates to be the way to make amends and restore honor. From where I sit, many folks weren't focused solely on fixing the work -- they were enjoying the chance to show up/cut down Dornbusch and Oliver. They couldn't separate personal issues from the book's quality. From where I sit, these folks could learn from Dornbusch and Oliver.

Alan -

Well, I do disagree but fortunately there is a way back machine to set the recond straight as I collected all the reviews of the OCB I could find two years ago and linked to them. You will see everything from fawning mindless shouts of hallelujah to strong and even foul condemnations. They are what they are.

But Horst took it upon himself now to insinuate a few things as he also drew back the curtain on the mess that was the editing process. Among them are:

"...no point in my giving a howling multitude more fodder..."

"...The high priests of the holy grail of anointed Monday morning quarterbacks who have railed against the makers of this book unfortunately base their criticism (and especially their invective) on a completely unrealistic, utopian view of how modern publishing works..."

"...they used the OCB as an opportunity to copiously stroke their own inflated egos..."

"...the Monday morning quarterbacks, not having played the game, decided it was not good enough..."

"....The critical blogosphere, riding on its high horse, and wallowing in self-indulgent rectitude..."

So, I really could not care less for Horst's views of how he was treated given his view of others. And remember this is built on the fact that, for my troubles, I was compared to a Nazi through this process by another beer writer, one I might now describe as another dinosaur cut off from perspective, filled with the satisfaction of his own status and little else given the apparent merit of his works.

Happy to learn from Garrett's class and outreach at the time and since. Others, not so much.

Jeff Alworth -

You had Lackey's shirt on?? Wow. That's serious fandom. (A gent of your vintage, I might have anticipated the name Martinez, Schilling, or even Wakefield.)

All is happy in Soxland. Only thing better would have been sweeping the Yanks somewhere along the line. (Every Sox fan's heart beats with a little Yankee hate.)

Alan -

Somewhere I have a Garciaparra. Likely in the Hall of Fame, the box in the basement of t-shirts too classic to be in general circulation.

Jeff Alworth -

Garciaparra was the star when I married a Mainer and thus emigrated into Red Sox nation. I am so, so glad I got to see Pedro pitch. He remains the best I've ever seen. (I happened to be in New England during that fateful Yankees ALCS when, hanging onto a lead in Game 6--I think--Grady Little sent Pedro back out in the 8th and he got hit hard. That was a bad place to be--and we were driving a rental with NY plates.)

On the Horst issue, I sympathize with his situation. But at publication, his name's on the book. The torrent came and he had to know it was headed his way. If (when) I screw up the Beer Bible, I'm going to have to suck it up and take the blows. It goes with the territory.

Bill -

If I understand you correctly, you're saying you're happy to learn from Oliver, but not just yet, and you don't need to learn from Dornbusch, because you already know how to act like you think he does? You post a bunch of reviews, many of which confirm my impressions and say "[t]hey are what they are." If anything, they suggest Dornbusch was being reticent in the heavily-ellipsed quotes you provided. Dornbusch's views of unnamed others were expressed years after he was personally attacked -- I'm not sure why you think he should be all sweetness and light to them after the fact. I'd think you'd give him credit for not naming names. I'm definitely unclear as to why the folks who attacked him get passes from you, but he gets pulled out as an example by you. I didn't think you were among the unfair attackers, but I guess I was mistaken.

Alan -

Well maybe I wasn't the target but if you are going to spray that widely and with such an ill manner - unlike Oliver - well, I don't care for such niceties, don't care to wonder if anything attaches to me. He is owed no credit from me as, to be honest, he is a stranger. Like you.

Giving passes? You'll have to read a bit more thoroughly if you are going to get any sense of this. But your impressions and understandings are your own which, had you a linked to one, you might further express at your own blog and not here.