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oxford companion to beer


read 8739 times • 89 replies • posted 10/19/2011 3:25:56 PM

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SaintMatty 5195:225
Reading this article, it seems that the book has a number of errors in it, at least concerning brewing in the UK.

http://zythophile.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/the-oxford-companion-to-beer-a-dreadful-disaster/
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SamGamgee 2452:182
I guess Iíll wait for the second edition then.
10/19/2011 3:46:35 PM

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fredandboboflo 1570:62
I clicked the link expecting to be underwhelmed by the complaint, but some of the issues do sound potentially dreadful...
10/19/2011 4:03:56 PM

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OldStyleCubFan 77:15
Wait...the dude wrote the article complaining about the facts in the book but hasnít read or picked it up yet. Heís basing the article on second hand Internet accounts.

Isnít that sort of like writing a book without doing proper research? It seems like the same thing heís accusing the Oxford Companion of doing.

Maybe write the article AFTER you have the book.
10/19/2011 4:16:49 PM

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SaintMatty 5195:225
Originally posted by OldStyleCubFan
Wait...the dude wrote the article complaining about the facts in the book but hasnít read or picked it up yet. Heís basing the article on second hand Internet accounts.

Isnít that sort of like writing a book without doing proper research? It seems like the same thing heís accusing the Oxford Companion of doing.

Maybe write the article AFTER you have the book.


I think he has read some of the book by using the function on the Amazon site that enables you to read some pages.
10/19/2011 4:29:14 PM

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kmweaver 3207:116
I just made this point over on Facebook, but historians generally only get attention when they disagree with things.

Iím not going to go up against Martynís historical knowledge, but Iíll certainly go up against his reasoning regarding the evidence he presents. To take historical minutiae and ramp it up into the suggestion that The Oxford Companion to Beer is "a dreadful disaster" is shameful and ultimately self-referential.

Historical accuracy is important, but the relevancy of most of those details is essentially limited to those wishing to out-geek one another. (Glad to see Alanís keeping track of corrections, though.)
10/19/2011 4:39:28 PM

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JK 4401:279
Originally posted by kmweaver
I just made this point over on Facebook, but historians generally only get attention when they disagree with things.

Iím not going to go up against Martynís historical knowledge, but Iíll certainly go up against his reasoning regarding the evidence he presents. To take historical minutiae and ramp it up into the suggestion that The Oxford Companion to Beer is "a dreadful disaster" is shameful and ultimately self-referential.

Historical accuracy is important, but the relevancy of most of those details is essentially limited to those wishing to out-geek one another. (Glad to see Alanís keeping track of corrections, though.)


Did you read his article? These not not minor accuracies, but total fabrications with no basis in fact.
10/19/2011 4:43:14 PM

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kmweaver 3207:116
Originally posted by JK
Originally posted by kmweaver
I just made this point over on Facebook, but historians generally only get attention when they disagree with things.

Iím not going to go up against Martynís historical knowledge, but Iíll certainly go up against his reasoning regarding the evidence he presents. To take historical minutiae and ramp it up into the suggestion that The Oxford Companion to Beer is "a dreadful disaster" is shameful and ultimately self-referential.

Historical accuracy is important, but the relevancy of most of those details is essentially limited to those wishing to out-geek one another. (Glad to see Alanís keeping track of corrections, though.)


Did you read his article? These not not minor accuracies, but total fabrications with no basis in fact.


Did you read his article?

Because I read a lot of umbrage and a lot of minutiae.

ďÖ Arthur Guinness was a Dublin brewer who adopted porter after seeing its popularity in London.Ē

This is just made-up rubbish, again, when the facts are in numerous books about the history of Guinness: the St Jamesís Gate brewery started brewing porter, as did other Dublin brewers, because imported porter from England was taking an increasing share of the Dublin market. The Irish House of Commons set up a committee in 1773 to inquire into the decline of the countryís brewing industry, and heard that ďthe London brewers have now nearly engrossed the whole trade in Dublin.Ē That is why Guinness moved into porter brewing.


Thatís not a convincing argument to me at all. Seriously: read it. Whether his statements are true or not, it doesnít really matter. It doesnít actually refute anything in the statement. Iím sure heís right on most of these things. But heís nitpicking and the postís overall conclusion is just sensationalism for getting more hits and argument. I donít blog anymore for this reason.
10/19/2011 4:59:21 PM

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fredandboboflo 1570:62
Nitpicking or not, I think the full story carries a meaningfully different tone on the history of Guinness, and the history of porter for that matter. Much of beer history may seem like minutiae, so if you start to ignore this minutia and that minutia, you may as well not talk about the history of beer. And even while the point on Guinness may not seem to totally contradict the OCB, the issues regarding the more ancient period of brewing seem undeniably big to me. Maybe none of it matters to the modern beer drinker. But again, if youíre talking about the history of beer, to cut out centuries of its existence is just no good at all.
10/19/2011 5:18:05 PM

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Oakes 12398:649
Originally posted by kmweaver

Did you read his article?

Because I read a lot of umbrage and a lot of minutiae.

ďÖ Arthur Guinness was a Dublin brewer who adopted porter after seeing its popularity in London.Ē

This is just made-up rubbish, again, when the facts are in numerous books about the history of Guinness: the St Jamesís Gate brewery started brewing porter, as did other Dublin brewers, because imported porter from England was taking an increasing share of the Dublin market. The Irish House of Commons set up a committee in 1773 to inquire into the decline of the countryís brewing industry, and heard that ďthe London brewers have now nearly engrossed the whole trade in Dublin.Ē That is why Guinness moved into porter brewing.


Thatís not a convincing argument to me at all. Seriously: read it. Whether his statements are true or not, it doesnít really matter. It doesnít actually refute anything in the statement. Iím sure heís right on most of these things. But heís nitpicking and the postís overall conclusion is just sensationalism for getting more hits and argument. I donít blog anymore for this reason.


Not quite - he refutes the assertion directly. He just does it with an assertion of his own (an assumption based on the fact presented, which is more ammunition than the original assertion presented).

It might well be nit-picking, but his and Pattinsonís complaints go beyond nit-picking and hit at fairly major points, both in terms of facts and in terms of writing style. Scholarly writing should not include random unsubstantiated assertions, and these two critics repeatedly point out examples where such assertions exist. It doesnít really matter if the assertions are central to the argument or not, they shouldnít be there. I think thatís a fair challenge.

Something like the OCB should not read like a blog post. And most beer writers are incapable of elevating their writing and/or researching beyond that level. (Of course, we can always question the inclusion/exclusion of specific writers as well).
10/19/2011 5:26:51 PM

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kmweaver 3207:116
Originally posted by Oakes
Originally posted by kmweaver

Did you read his article?

Because I read a lot of umbrage and a lot of minutiae.

ďÖ Arthur Guinness was a Dublin brewer who adopted porter after seeing its popularity in London.Ē

This is just made-up rubbish, again, when the facts are in numerous books about the history of Guinness: the St Jamesís Gate brewery started brewing porter, as did other Dublin brewers, because imported porter from England was taking an increasing share of the Dublin market. The Irish House of Commons set up a committee in 1773 to inquire into the decline of the countryís brewing industry, and heard that ďthe London brewers have now nearly engrossed the whole trade in Dublin.Ē That is why Guinness moved into porter brewing.


Thatís not a convincing argument to me at all. Seriously: read it. Whether his statements are true or not, it doesnít really matter. It doesnít actually refute anything in the statement. Iím sure heís right on most of these things. But heís nitpicking and the postís overall conclusion is just sensationalism for getting more hits and argument. I donít blog anymore for this reason.


Not quite - he refutes the assertion directly. He just does it with an assertion of his own (an assumption based on the fact presented, which is more ammunition than the original assertion presented).


Perhaps Iím nit-picking now as well, but what heís really refuting is the statement, "Arthur Guinness was a Dublin brewer who adopted porter due to seeing its popularity in London." Some of that stuff is, as you said, a question of precise academic writing style.

Again, Iím pretty sure heís right on most of these things. But thereís the professional way to go about critiquing something like the OCB, and then thereís the completely predictable ornery-historian-blogging way that gets you a bunch of hits and makes everyone mad. I mean, we are talking about someone whoís arguing about how people parse pretty amorphous and mistake-prone historical data. Iíve often wished Martyn would resist the hyperbolic fuming, as Iíd have an easier time fully trusting in his rebuttals in situations like this.
10/19/2011 5:59:17 PM

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