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Fantasy Beer Dinner #8: Alan McLeod

Alan McLeod, Mr. Beer BlogFor more about what this is part of look here.

Alan McLeod has been writing about beer at A Good Beer Blog since 2003, “allowing the world to follow the highs and lows of his beery education in real time.” In addition to writing a few articles for trade magazines, this year he was asked to join in the writing of “Beer & Philosophy,” contributing a chapter entitled “Beer and Autonomy” that asks one question: why the heck is the law of beer like it is? In the rest of his life he is dad and husband, foster dad and sports fan and in-house municipal lawyer in just about that order.

In case you forgot, the questions are: If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

It’s a funny thing about me and all this writing I’ve done about beer as, while it is as convivial a thing in life there is, for me it is a bit of a solitary obsession – me, my computer and a cold room in the basement filled with beer. If I am honest, my interests and influences are more English than North American but I seem to be far more fascinated by the great craft beers of America than anything I have had from elsewhere. That may be the classic Canadian compromise.

1. David Line. This 1960s-70s star of the UK home brewing scene was my introduction to making my own beer and appreciating the great beers out there waiting for me. I find the pre-Jacksonian, pre-CAMRA era of beer writing refreshing in that there was much individuality but no hint of snobbery. Recipes were as likely to be for a beet beer as an authentic imperial stout on the wood and the writing was plain. Line’s writings speak of a genial soul, happy to teach and happy not to be that worried about modern concerns for weekly units or extreme beer. I think he would make an excellent table companion.

Beer: cask London Pride, circa 1978, his desert island beer according to his Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy published in that year.

2. Timothy Finn: author of the 1975 book Pub Games of England. I have this idea that drinking beer was more of a side aspect to the life of an English pub compared to the other activities that went on. Being able to go to a pub and hurl massive round wooden cheese at stout pins in a game of London Skittles or playing an elegant if mantis-like game of lawn billiards would surely over-whelm the finer points of the chosen malt or hop in this bitter or that.

Beer: local ordinary bitter on cask, a 3.2% drink that would leave the lawn billiards cue steady.

3. Martyn Cornell. I wanted to pick one contemporary beer writer and I could have picked any one of many but I picked Martyn due to his incredible obsession to both detail and accuracy. His blog, The Zythophile, displays a commitment to drilling down to the actual while following stories not covered by the pack. I wonder how much Line and Finn would be able to teach him?

Beer: I have no idea but maybe a good thick 1700s West Country white beer as a stand alone first course would get the conversation going.

4. The me of 1985 when I was 22. Fresh out of undergrad I think I recollect that I knew a bit about beer but I was too obsessed with the nightlife in Halifax to take advantage of the opportunities to the point that when I went to Belgium in 1986, I stuck to Guinness. Sad. One evening of Line, Finn and Cornell would have given the him that was me a great head start in this interest of mine.

Beer: Just one draft Keith’s followed by a range of Belgian dubbels just to teach the ignorant wee mopey bastard good from bad.

More Fantasy Beer Dinners.


3 Responses to Fantasy Beer Dinner #8: Alan McLeod

  1. Alan December 5, 2007 at 11:39 am #

    That’s me doing my Alstrom brother impersonation back in 2002, by the way.

  2. Stan Hieronymus December 5, 2007 at 2:44 pm #

    Alan – We all need to have heroes.

  3. The Zythophile December 5, 2007 at 6:19 pm #

    Thanks, mate. When I get to Canada – you’re on!

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