DBB Text Banner

Blog posts dedicated to my bitching and moaning. Get Off My Lawn!

Purity, skin in the game, and when Capitalism spits on you

I recently had a brief conversation with a person who is intimately acquainted with a local brewery here in Fort Wayne, IN, and whose livelihood is dependent upon selling the beer that said brewery produces. That's a bit of an awkward way to describe this person I know, but it frames things in such a way that it maintains their anonymity. Nothing that follows is particularly controversial, but if I do things this way it simply means that people will keep talking openly to me about the local...

read more

Legacy drinkers and the assault on
Belgium, England and Germany

I *think* that I coined the term legacy drinker. I never remember hearing it anywhere else. If that's not true, apologies. So, what does 'legacy drinker' mean? My definition varies from day to day but the general meaning is that of a drinker who mostly enjoys, and drinks perhaps almost exclusively, the classic, well-established styles. Another way to put it is in the negative, i.e., a drinker who eschews fake (kettle) sours, pastry stouts, milkshake IPAs, NEIPAs etc. You get the general idea....

read more

Ambivalence, indifference, me, evolution, and Stone in 2015

Before you read this please know that I'm not really sure what I am trying to convey here, so I think this post is more likely to turn out to be a stream of consciousness rather than anything particularly coherent - apologies in advance. Yesterday I was at Stone's Brewery, Tap Room and Bistro, in Escondido, CA. Many years ago, those words alone would have sent shivers up my spine and sent me into a little bit of a fan-boy, pant-wetting moment. Unconnected to my visit, those beer geek days are...

read more

Session #94 – The Round-up

As usual with The Session, some posts are more interesting than others. Here's the round-up for #94 in no particular order. Miguel gives us this post at Amante De La Buena Cerveza. Unfortunately I don't speak a word of Spanish, so I literally have no idea what he said and cannot comment on it. David at Beer Tinted Spectacles describes himself as a Zealot! At first that sounds a little negative to me, with a danger of getting into beer evangelism (something that I am not keen on), but the tone...

read more

Atlanta Cask Ale (#ACAT) 2014

So here I am, on the morning of another Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting (#ACAT), but this time I am not getting ready to head to the event later in the day. The #ACAT of 2014 will be the first one that I have not attended since the inaugural gathering. The reasons for my decision not to attend today, are outlined in this post that I wrote on this same morning, 12 months ago. I vowed not to return in 2014 and I am good to my word. The post from 12 months ago summed up the whole situation for me then,...

read more

Pant-wetting fanboys and the US beer scene

Last night I got into a bit of a clumsy discussion on Twitter that ended very unsatisfactorily for me. Frankly it was my own fault, and I wanted to clear up my thoughts a little. In a nutshell, I responded to this article in the NYT by sending the Tweet below to @HillFarmstead. I'm rather proud of that tweet since I think it sums up a significant sector, and a very large part of the mentality that holds back the American beer scene. I stand by it and I think that it is actually a pretty...

read more

Ding’s Christmas Wish List 2013

Here I go again with my annual Christmas wish list. The things I want Santa to deliver to my beer world. It goes without saying (I think), that the old chestnuts of me wanting the abuse of cask beer via the addition of crap (i.e., treating a cask as a Randall), and the misuse of the term @sessionbeer, remain front and center for me, and as such I decided to leave them out of the list this year. They are not seasonal or fleeting 'wants', rather they are ubiquitous. Also, I've decided to leave...

read more

Me on (in) Draft (Magazine)

Last Wednesday I received an email from Chris Staten. Chris is an editor at Draft magazine. He asked me to respond to a few, simple questions about my public beer persona for an article that he was putting together. I didn't think much about it, was happy to respond and help, and shot-off some quick answers a couple of days later. Given the relatively trivial nature of the request (and my associated fairly simple response), I was more than a little surprised to see his article on Monday of...

read more

Twisted South – the article that never was

In February of this year I was asked by a person that follows me on Twitter to write a counter-point article for Twisted South magazine. After 0ver 9 months of being told that 'it will be published soon', I've given up. Here's what I wrote all that time ago. ‘The South’ and ‘beer culture’ in the same sentence? It’s counter intuitive to me, and I might even say oxymoronic. I suppose that I should examine what I consider to be ‘beer culture’ before moving on. This isn’t an easy thing to do....

read more

Why I’ve stopped going to The Brick Store

After my decision last January not to attend Atlanta Cask Ale ’14 this coming January, the very event that I thought would be the one that kept me sane in terms of real ale in America, I started to reflect upon my role in the Atlanta beer scene in general. Ten months on and as we are approach that time of year again, my reflection has continued and deepened. While I have been contemplating where I stand, I found myself thinking about the time I have spent at The Brick Store over the years. As...

read more

Hypocrisy, FRESH and on tap!

It's always heart-warming to be reminded from time to time that there are so many of us out there that belong to the, 'mistreated by beeradvocate.com', club. My own story is well-documented, and unsurprisingly there are many, many others that are similar and equally disappointing - and it's STILL going on, even years AFTER this. I think there's a pattern emerging here, guys! So, this morning was a good one. I woke up to read Chad's Beer Nut column at timesunion.com where he details, and...

read more

Session #80 – The Craft Beer Bubble

The first Friday in October '13 brings us Session #80, where Derek Harrison at It's Not Just The Alcohol Talking asks, 'Is Craft Beer a Bubble?'. I'm no economist, and in any case economics is a soft science at best, so I guess it doesn't matter, but here's my take. No matter what the relative competence of a brewery in terms of what they brew, or indeed competence in terms of their business plan, infrastructure, finances and strategies, as long as their beer actually SELLS, then it's entirely...

read more

Session #79 – The round up and a few rebuttals

OK, Session #79 is now over and the thoughts of many have been recorded for posterity. There weren't quite as many posts as I was expecting, and some of the writing wasn't very good, but here's my summary. If I have left you out it was NOT intentional. My apologies, and if you contact me I will gladly correct my oversight. The first thing that I want to comment on is my own Session #79 post. Frankly, even after a lot of time and consideration I was still left a little dissatisfied with what I...

read more

Session #79 – USA versus Old World Beer Culture

OK, here we go with the blog post that you've read before. Why do I say that? Well essentially this is a post that I've written umpteen times over, just in varying guises. In those past posts I have generally focused on one particular aspect of the cultural divide, and by doing so I have been able to hone in on one facet of US beer 'culture' that I find deficient. For example, you may have read such classics as, Americans and Cask Ale, Americans and The Beer Middle Class or Americans and...

read more

Session #79 – The announcement. Friday, Sept. 6th – USA versus Old World Beer Culture

The Session, a.k.a. 'Beer Blogging Friday', is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. Friday September 6th will see my turn to 'host' The Session, #79 in the series. Anyone with any inkling of my online, in-person...

read more

Session Beer Day. Reflections

Well that was fun. Actually it was surprisingly uneventful, but four interesting things came out of it. Firstly I was surprised that I didn't lose any Twitter followers, at least I didn't lose any when considering the net numbers. In fact, actually there was a net gain. Given that I was obviously way over my normal tweet quota for ranting about @sessionbeer with 171 tweets yesterday, I thought there would be some drop-off. Apparently not. Secondly the rich, beautiful, amazing and sweet irony...

read more

Session Beer Day 2013

So, it's here again, #sessionbeerday, this time on Sunday, April 7th, 2013. Mmmm, well it wouldn't be right for me to let the 2013 'event'* pass without comment (here's 2012's session beer day post), so here we go with the 2013 rendition of my thoughts. Before you read on, you really should read my definitive post on session beer. That post will give you the basis and the foundation of my position on session beer, and you should always bear that in mind and refer to it, when reading anything...

read more

ACAT 2013 – The follow up

OK, following yesterdays 2013 Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, and in the wake of this post, I wanted to follow up with a quick run down of the events and the beer as they unfolded. Firstly it was great to see so many people that I hadn't run into in quite a while. A lot of folk that I've come to be acquainted with over the years, and even some people that I actually like! Seriously, it's these folks that I'll miss as I put beer events in Atlanta behind me for the final time. On the downside the...

read more

My cask tears – Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting 2013

So, I'm writing this just a few hours before attending Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting of 2013. In fact, I'm writing as the judging for today's event is actually taking place and I'm texting one of the judges between paragraphs! This year is the ninth annual event, and I think that I have attended either seven or eight of these, missing only the first one or two. This years ATL cask ale will be the final beer event that I ever attend in Atlanta. Don't worry, I know that nobody in Atlanta (or probably...

read more

Ding’s Christmas Wish List 2012

Following last years Christmas wish list, here goes the 2012 version. 10. Fresh Cotleigh beer in the Atlanta area, please. 9. Death to all, 'Special' beer 'days' (e.g., 'IPA Day', 'Stout Day' etc.) 8. Breweries to think more carefully about limited release and special one-off beers. Far too many of these beers are ill-conceived and mediocre or even just poor. They are quite often horrendous value, too. Many opportunities are being missed. 7. A forlorn hope here. That US beer consumers become...

read more

Beer cellaring – a new perspective and a re-think

To be honest, I never had any interest in cellaring beer until about 2003-04. I read some articles about this relatively new idea, and also became acquainted with kp. Keith (kp) is a pretty interesting fellow, and it's a shame that I don't get to see him nearly as much as I used to, but anyone who is familiar with him, his history on Rate Beer, his 'cellaring antics' and his general demeanor, would appreciate how a person deeply interested in beer (me), could begin to acquire an interest in...

read more

The search is over, and at the same time, just beginning

Yesterday was a pretty significant day in my little beer world. Was it a day that was characterized by me finding a long sought after bottle? No. Was it a day that I tasted and reviewed a super-rare beer? No. Was it a day when I reached some memorable milestone of some description? No. So what? Yesterday, the close to 3000 digital reviews that I have from my days on beeradvocate, became fully searchable in my own mySQL database on dingsbeerblog.com! With a pretty significant amount of work on...

read more

Growler Stores, Place Reviews, Competition, Cumbaya and Boycotts

In my beeradvocate days, before the unforgivable debacle, I took pride in reviewing just about every beer venue that I traveled to. My view at the time was that I was doing the web site and community a huge favor by adding to the database, and giving information about the various places that I passed through on my travels. Pictures were taken if they were missing from the database, and I was pleased to have close to 300 reviews in my time over there (of course, the pictures are still being...

read more

‘Craft’ beer – what the hell is it and does it matter?

Warning: A Stream of Consciousness follows, that may or may not make much sense! A pretty lively and interesting conversation got thrown up on Twitter yesterday, and as usual it was an event (in this case that very 'conversation'), that helped me to precipitate a bunch of thoughts that have been percolating in my head for many years. It all started when Zak Avery (@zakavery), 2008 Beer Writer of the Year in the UK and owner of Beer-Ritz in Leeds, England (I've been there and it's a fantastic...

read more

The dearth of an American, ‘Beer Middle Class’

Most people reading this will be more than familiar with my opinions about the lack of beer culture here in the USA. My thoughts are well documented, and boil down to the fact that I do not see alcohol (and in particular good, high quality beer), seamlessly integrated into the fabric of everyday life amongst a wide audience, in the manner that it is in Europe, and in particular in the UK. I've touched upon this subject over and over again, but wanted to expand on it a bit, here. Sometimes it...

read more

Beer Blogging – what the hell are people thinking?

This post has been on my mind for some time, and like most of my thoughts on a particular subject, they tend to require a whole bunch of things to come together before critical mass is achieved and I think I've got something substantial to say. (Remember the phrase, 'I think I've got something substantial to say', it will be important later on in this post). So, a few days ago I tweeted these questions (as part of a longer conversation) out to a number of professional beer writers in the...

read more

Me, Lew, session beer and ‘session day’

OK, this post is not a rant about session beer (at least not a FULL rant about session beer), but rather some reflections about Lew's quest and the subsequent creation of 'session day' on April 7th of this year. I want to say the right off the top I am 100% AGAINST all of these ridiculous attempts to generate interest in beer such as IPA Day, Stout Day and now Session Day. To me, these are nothing more than trumped-up, marketing exercises that expose a true lack of fundamental, underlying beer...

read more

Beer Snobbery

This is an important post. I'm tired of experience, discernment and real knowledge being mistaken for 'snobbery', and people considering all opinions to be equal and all beer knowledge to be subjective - they simply are NOT. For many years a debate has raged in the craft beer community about what constitutes beer snobbery, and what does not. In issue #61 of BeerAdvocate magazine, the Alström Bros define it in the following terms, and I comment on each. 1. You think your palate is better than...

read more

Hopslam – it’s an annual annoyance, but for a new reason this year

It's January and I was expecting the hype machine surrounding Bell's Hopslam to piss me off (again) this year, but didn't really anticipate it aggravating me in the manner that it did. I was expecting the general, stupid hype of this particular beer to annoy me - and it did - and I was expecting the 'how long before it goes downhill' comments to piss me off - and they did - but this year brought a new irritation. Hopslam on cask. Let's get a couple of things absolutely clear; 1. I think...

read more

Ding’s Christmas Wish List 2011

Dear Father Christmas, Here is my wish list for this year. I hope that you can help me with some of these, I would love to find them under my tree. Your friend, Ding. I wish........ 10. That frozen glassware could be banished forever. 9. That the archaic, asinine tipping 'system' in US bars would disappear overnight (it's not a 'system' at all and not even people that have lived here all their lives know what to do with it). 8. That the few, missing place reviews from my old beeradvocate.com...

read more

‘Top 10’ myths that the US craft beer fad has perpetuated amongst the newbs, and (most disappointingly), even…

...amongst those that should know better. It's the time of year when many people reflect on the 12 months gone by, and often those reflections take the form of 'Top 10' lists. Such lists, whilst trivial, are usually good fun, so why not do one myself? Well actually this one has nothing to do with looking back on the last year in particular, but it is in the form of a 'Top 10', and I suppose that some of these have gained momentum during 2011, so here it is. 10. All craft (non-macro) beer is...

read more

An awakening confirmed, and then re-affirmed by (another) return to my roots

About four years ago I drove like a madman, across the city (Atlanta), visiting four or five beer stores in the quest to find a few bottles of a relatively uncommonly distributed beer. A week later I found myself doing exactly the same in order to get a 12 oz pour of a rare beer at a bar, that I don't like much and visit infrequently. That afternoon, as I left the bar, I had a sudden awakening. I was delighted that I did. It occurred to me that in the years between late 2004 and the spring of...

read more

It would be really interesting to have an off-the-record chat with Jason Alström over a beer…

...or even Todd, but I would draw the line at the acidic Candice! In the past couple of weeks I have received a whole bunch of electronic correspondence about the apparently continuing spiral of insanity that is occurring over at beeradvocate.com. I visit the site much less frequently these days, so am frankly a little out of the loop, but as you all probably know I have had a very special interest in such events in the past. If you are not familiar with why my interest lies there, take a look...

read more

In defence of the Oxford Companion to Beer (sort of….well, not really)…….

The much heralded arrival of 'the only beer book you'll ever need', AKA 'The Oxford Companion to Beer', has been characterized by some well respected folk (including a number of contributors to the book itself) systematically defrocking the work by exposing factual error, after factual error, after factual error. It should be noted that in at least one case, the book has still not yet undergone a nit-picky, line by line analysis (rather it has only been subject to some randomly chosen...

read more

Discretion. Where’s it gone? Actually, it was never here!

A little background: When I moved to Atlanta, GA in the summer of 2000, one of the first questions that I asked one of my new colleagues was, 'Where can I buy great beer in this town?'. Being a person who had lived here for many decades, he immediately replied, "Green's". Encouraged, I trotted off to Green's on Ponce de Leon Avenue with a sense of great excitement and anticipation. Much to my dismay, I was confronted with a bewildering selection of macro nonsense, and not at all the...

read more

A beer revolution? No thanks!

If you are really, really 'into' beer and live in the USA, there's no way in the world that you don't know what the (beer) abbreviation 'CBS' stands for. If you are really, really 'into' beer but live outside of the USA, there's a pretty strong probability that you won't have even heard of Canadian Breakfast Stout, or indeed of the brewery that makes this beer (Founders), here in Michigan. Trust me, you are infinitely better off remaining devoid of that knowledge. Here's why; By all accounts...

read more

I’ll be down the PUB; or will I??

DISCLAIMER: I don't know if this post will make much sense since I am trying to get a load of stuff whizzing around my head into focus, but for now this is my best effort. I hope it conveys something of what I am struggling with. 'I'll be down the pub'. A phrase that countless generations of British males have uttered to describe most of the waking hours that they devote to socializing, and a phrase that I intend to use extensively myself when I travel home to England later this month. This...

read more

No wonder I STILL can’t find any session beer in the USA (and, please re-run the numbers Ken)

Anyone who knows me, also knows that my constant bitching & moaning about the lack of session beer in the US is a feature as fundamental to my being as my 'Englishness', so it has become a bit of a joke in the beer circles that I move in; 'Oh, here comes '4% Ding', order him a session Russian Imperial Stout' etc. On the surface I laugh it off, but of course many of you know that this is a serious business to me and quite frankly those comments wear a little thin. Having said that, they are...

read more

Beer Thoughts

Two weeks solid vacation with some superb beer behind me, it's time to get back to blogging. Some of you may have gathered by now that this blog only exists as a result of me being ejected from beeradvocate.com. If you are familiar with the site, you will know that as part of each member profile page there is a 'free-write' section where one can add ones own 'Beer Thoughts'. Deep philosophical musings, rampant inane bullshit and all points in between appeared in my profile over the years, but...

read more

ABV’s & session beer; sanity & insanity – Part 2

Continuing my quest to highlight the misuse of the term session beer, here is part two of the 'Sanity & Insanity'. Read Part 1. References to Insanity William Bostwick in the Wall Street Journal gets it 100% wrong in his deluded piece entitled The Connoisseurs' Light Beer. Rate Beer's Top 50 American Session Beers is only 32%correct! Food Republic goes 0/5.  website here Click This Link found here online games for kids boommovie.org

read more

ABV’s & session beer; sanity & insanity – Part 1

Following Sunday's, Session Beer rant, I'm going to start listing 'References to Sanity' and 'References to Insanity' as I come across them on the web. Here's the first installment, much more to come! References to Sanity Wadworth's describe all of their beers here, and only ONE is described as a 'session beer' - at 3.6% Colchester CAMRA uses 'session' to describe many beers at their January '11 festival - all under 4%, with none of those over 4% listed as session beers. The same again from...

read more

Session Beer – an amalgamation of years and years of thoughts

OK, it's time to tackle the session beer post. Anyone that knows me (or has read my comments in beer cyberspace over the years), understands that this is a serious subject for me, and that I get really tired of the term 'session beer' being abused left, right and center in the USA. Here, I am going to attempt to bring the years and years of posts that became shunned on BA, plus all of the stuff that never made it to the web but simply resided in my head, together in one place and in a single...

read more

10 reasons why it was better when fewer people knew about good beer

1. When a limited beer was released it used to be possible to stroll leisurely down to the store, anytime within the first couple of weeks of it being out, and pick up as much as you wanted. Now one has to be monitoring Twitter, Facebook, beeradvocate.com and untappd constantly, and logistical nightmares ensue as plans have to be changed, journey's have to be made and store owners need to be befriended before one has a hope of even finding a single bottle. It's taken the joy out of it for me,...

read more

What’s in a style? And are you in ‘Raptures’ over them?

OK, as far as I can tell there was no Rapture yesterday, so since I am still able to, I thought I should go ahead and blog about the Rapture's relationship with beer styles - yes, there IS a relationship between the two - well, sort of! What's in a style? Well a bit like religion, that depends on who one asks. In the USA the BJCP identifies around 80 beer styles (plus Meads & Ciders), the Brewers Association identifies a bewildering list of close to 150 , beeradvocate.com identifies over...

read more

NOT a post about the ABV of session beer, but…..

...still me bitching and moaning about session beer! OK, I'm gonna hold the "correct ABV of session beer" rant for another post (that's going to be a long one!), but I just wanted to get this quick thing off my chest. In the USA it has now become 'trendy' to like/produce/talk about 'session beer' amongst a whole generation of beer geeks that have been brought up on quite the opposite. Frankly, many of these people wouldn't know a tasty, well-crafted, 3-5%, malt based brew if it bit them on the...

read more

A ‘golden age’ of brewing? My ass…and BTW, get off my lawn

As I travel both literally and virtually around the US beer scene, I am constantly reminded by those that purport to 'know' that we are currently enjoying a 'golden age' of brewing. I suppose, that if one were to look at the relatively recent past, AND restrict ones view to the USA, AND one were to simply look at numbers then one could see a grain of truth in the statement, but closer inspection of even that narrow view suggests that the 'golden age' is being exaggerated a great deal....

read more