Monday, January 25, 2010

F$*k Beer Advocate - January 25th

EDIT 5: You should probably go HERE.

The craft beer community is a vast one. Hundreds of thousands, hell, maybe millions of people drink craft beer, brew their own, age premium beer, and just generally shoot the shit about excellent beer on a daily basis. The United States as seen a huge resurgence in beer interest or simply put, people caring about the flavor of their beer. A hundred years ago, there were maybe a HANDFUL of breweries in the United States. Now microbreweries are cropping up left and right; some are even attaining rock star status. It's pretty safe to say that craft beer is not just a hobby, it is a passion. And it is a universally shared passion throughout the group. Or so I thought.

Beer Advocate. I won't link their website because they don't deserve it. When I first entered the wide world of beer, it was my go-to site. It was easy to navigate and had the "beer 101" upfront and ready for a newbie's perusal and absorption. But one thing I noticed about the site itself is that it functioned more of a business, with heavily promoting their magazine subscriptions etc. This was fine, really. They need to pay for the site and if they want some scratch on the side, who am I to complain? As I delved headlong into the craft world, I started using their forums. Their forums, too, struck me as odd. Poorly moderated and obscenely unkempt, a lot of the senior users there were elitist and snobbish. Simple (but unanswered questions by the 101) were crushed savagely by either the Alstrom Bros (who run the site) or the older members. They were, in short and polite terms, ruthless. I thought "well, they're only two guys. They can't handle everything with grace and charm."

I now think differently. It is pretty fucking plain to see that the Alstrom brothers don't care at all about the community at large. They don't care about the passion behind beer anymore. Perhaps, at one point they did. Now it seems all they're in it for is the fame, free beer, and unique opportunities afforded to those who have a modicum of prestige in the beer industry. For god's sake, they've brewed beer with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head. A private label. But what, dear readers, caused me to blow my top? Simple as this: an unfollow on Twitter.

Ok, it seems petulant and asinine but it speaks volumes. I am a frequent user of Twitter (as you can see on the left). As I was perusing the daily feed after getting some work done, I saw a tiny quote by a friend of mine on Twitter. It was, roughly, that after a slightly disparaging comment on the Bro's Twitter activity, they were blocked from seeing their news feed. Yeah yeah, he said she said playground shit, but it's more important than that. After this happened and people commented, Beer Advocate started blocking more and more people. After awhile, 9 people were blocked in a matter of 20 minutes. What Beer Advocacy is that? If you can't take criticism you slide deep into your shell like a turtle, protecting yourself from the bad people by isolating the critics? Is this "Ostrich Syndrome" or something? A head in the sand and a "na-na-na-na poo poo" to all?

Readers, this is not Beer Advocacy. This is not Advocacy. This is just a piss-poor, childish move. The best part is that Beer Advocate is quite gung-ho about "independent news sources" and "opinions of the unwashed masses" that come in the form of blogs and small websites. But, at the same time, they're turning their back on what they are supposedly so supportive of. I, too, ended up getting blocked from their feed as well, just solely for asking what was going on. You can go look at my history, nothing overly harsh or critical of Beer Advocate was said on my part. Hell, I've been using Beer Advocate for years now. But now, since apparently nothing is sacred to them and they clearly don't wish to participate in the joy that is craft beer camaraderie, I write this. Friends, Romans, countrymen and women, lend me your ears. Boycott Beer Advocate. Once an uneventful source of beer knowledge and pride, its eyes have been clouded by fame and fortune. No longer do they care about the craft beer community. They just want to line their pockets and illuminate their names with neon. They have become the wayward sons, blinded by riches and fame. It is time to show them that if they won't support us then we in turn will not support them.

EDIT: I have been IP banned from the Beer Advocate forums.
EDIT 2: They also deleted my account, which had about 20ish reviews that I didn't have anywhere else. Woohoo. Thanks for being so petty.
EDIT 3: Thanks for all the comments, everyone. In case you didn't know, all comments are approved by me. I dunno why I keep allowing the one-word retorts like "retard" but I suppose a fair venue of discussion is in order. So keep 'em coming in. I'd like to hear from the Jason and Todd about this but it's probably not going to happen. They're striving to cover things up pretty well.
EDIT 4: I'm amazed at how low they're stooping.

EDIT 5: You should probably go HERE.

60 comments:

  1. Hehe ... suck it BA, Scott FTW!!!

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  2. Seems like some pretty silly pettiness there -- I just don't pay attention to unfollows (don't get e-mails) -- I know I twit a lot and not everyone likes that.

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  3. The Alstroms are known for being petulant little children. They are, according to those who've known them prior to BA, losers. They were barely functional societal rejects. They got a great idea and now it's gone to their head. I got the magazine as a gift.. I asked the person who got it for me to not re-up. Their worthless fart sniffing behavior is the antithesis to what beer, and more importantly craft beer, is all about. Yes indeed.. fuck them.

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  4. It may well be that, in person, the bosses at BeerAdvocate are perfectly nice guys who'd be great to have a beer with. But everything I see, online and in print, increasingly points to them being arrogant asses.

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  5. www.thebeerspot.com

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  6. I agree with you about BA being a bunch of arrogant a-holes. I used to use the forums a lot.

    That said, by coincidence I happened to unfollow you on Twitter yesterday because I routinely unfollow people who don't follow me back. Nothing personal, I just like to keep my feed clean.

    Also, there were WAY more than a "handful" of breweries a hundred years ago. Only recently did the number of breweries in the US reach the number (around 1,500) it was at a hundred years ago. There were around 3,200 breweries in the mid-1800's.

    See: www.chicagonew.com/blogs/chicago-beer-travelers/2010/01/beer-in-america-brief-history.html

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  7. Oddly after last night, which I was part of at the beginning Jason Alstrom started following me. I also haven't been blocked from @BA. So, if anyone needs a spy let me know ;)


    -Hoptrollop

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  8. Most of this started after they switched the format of the magazine from nice quality paper to something I wouldn't even wipe my ass with. They have since fixed some of the issues, but it's still not the same quality it used to be. They started banning people for complaining about the quality in their forums. Then I learned that they were banning people for stuff they said outside of BA. These are people who are paying customers.

    I also know a lot of this started when the wife started to really get involved on the site, moderating it like the gestapo and just banning people willy nilly.

    The fact remains, if you want to be a public figure like this, you need to be able to take the heat. If you have paying customers, you should accept their constructive criticism and not treat it as something silly. Their magazine is not cheap by magazine standards at $30/year. They kept the price the same and lowered the quality of the paper and print. They claim it was in the name of being "green" and said it was not to save them money.

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  9. Can't believe anyone would want to follow that jackass on twitter. The recent posting of a private email from an employee of a brewery was a low blow. Serious case of narcissistic personality disorder there.

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  10. Scott, I'm curious, how did they get your IP address? Is that somehow linked to one's Twitter and/or Blogger activity?

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  11. I don't understand their thought process with how they run things with their business. That is, if there is any thought...

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  12. Brad: Since I use StatTracker I can check the IP logs of all the hits on the website. It doesn't say who's who but it gives an IP address and a rough location, including internet provider. Oh, the wonders of the web.

    Anonymous: That's fine if you un-followed me. I respect the "keeping Twitter clean" thing. You did it for a reason and you shared your reason. I respect that. What I don't respect is being arrogantly handled for asking a simple question, then getting IP banned and having my account deleted for criticism. As far as the breweries, I wrote this in a rage so I technically meant to say post-prohibition but the link you posted is pretty cool regardless.

    As for everyone else, thanks for the response and support. I was in contact with Jason last night on Twitter and I would like to get a response from him but other than a few comments regarding what kind of car he drives and how the internet is mean, he hasn't said much since. A shame.

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  13. Wah, wah, wah! Someone else does not think of Twitter the same way I do, so I am taking my ball and going home! Go ahead and cut off your nose to spite your face if you want to turn your back on one of the best beer resources in the world (BeerAdvocate).

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  14. Anonymous (the new one): The truth of the matter is I DON'T want to turn my back on them. I've been giving them the benefit of the doubt for many years. I've been referencing them for 3 years and I've had an account since my 21st birthday. Don't think I want to do this but this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I wouldn't mind as much if they were just complacent to not interact but to go so far as to be petty, that's just insulting. But, regardless, thank you for the comment.

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  15. I'm not so sure BA is one of the best beer resources on the web.

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  16. (I was the anonymous above, "keeping Twitter feed clean").

    Thanks for your reply, and for not mis-reading my tone (I realized that it could've come off the wrong way).

    That is insane that they blocked you like that. They've been deleting accounts like crazy lately. Istopped going on the forums for months after getting sick of the douchebaggery. Last week I was on for a few days, only to be reminded of why I left by the cliquish, douchebag attitudes of many on there. I'm done wasting my time on that crappy site.

    Your post helped to convince me not to renew my subscription to the magazine (up for renewal in March). Sick of their crap. Think I'll subscribe to Brew Your Own instead--much better publication for my purposes.

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  17. Made the switch to TheBeerSpot.com Much better crowd and no egotistical Bros banning and deleting anything that isn't flattering of them.

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  18. Scott, actually I was curious how they connected the dots to ban your IP address from the forums and delete your account based on Twitter activity.

    BeerAdvocate needs the beer community, not the other way around. They'd be wise to keep this in mind.

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  19. There were over 1000 breweries before probhition.

    Nice article nonetheless.

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  20. On the whole, I agree. There were definitely more than a "handful" of breweries a hundred years ago. 35 years ago -- yes. There were over 3,200 in 1870, but these were small and usually only produced one or two beers.

    For some reason this box doesn't allow copy and paste, but here is the correct url:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-beer-travelers/2010/01/beer-in-america-brief-history.html

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  21. Very well put, Scott. They are a scourge on our great microbrew community of passionate hobbyists. FUCK THAT SHIT. Also, candyass Candace is the worst of the bunch...she's the reason why Todd acts the way he does (his balls being in a jar on her shelf and all). Fuck that bitch and her two bald, fat minions know as the alstroms.

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  22. For a much friendlier, tight knit, super knowledgeable beer community I would highly recommend that anyone sick of the 2 Bros and 1 Ho and their BS website check out www.thebeerspot.com

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  23. I have my own negative experiences with the BA admins: I made a critical comment to one of the brothers concerning what I thought was an unnecessary and belligerent closing of a thread, and *both* of them spewed gallons of ire and venom at me through private messages. When I called them out on how unprofessional that was, they responded with "lol just kidding, bustin ur chops man" - the classic internet backpedal.

    The forums have also been suffering from extreme connectivity issues for at least a year, with threads basically not loading at all during business hours as the servers are hammered. The Alstroms refuse to upgrade them until they have the money, an apparently purely hypothetical amount they refuse to disclose. While they're not required to maintain free forums, it's a big middle finger to the users to basically abandon the usability of the site while still being as petulant and petty as ever as moderators.

    And if it's true that they're deleting comments and blocking users over legitimate concerns about product quality, then that's not only unprofessional but unethical and directly antagonistic towards their customers. Nobody who does business like that should be allowed to thrive, no matter how small the market is.

    I look forward to being banned from BA by later tonight. :)

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  24. Yet another anonymous. Let it be known that this post is being linked in online brewing resources and from brewing clubs, so the word is spreading. I occaisionally find myself on BA, and have found the resource useful from time to time.
    I do also though completely believe in and support the power of the consumer to vote with their wallet. I will keep this information in mind when dealing with products where some profit may be going to BA. If it looks like a trend (and it certainly sounds that way from these descriptions) then my wallet will vote no, and I will continue to spread the word.

    There are plenty of alternative meaningful resources who still remember the spirit of small scale and home brewing where I would glady drop some sheckles from time to time.

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  25. Scandalous CandiceJanuary 25, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Hey Scott, I'm the "ho" that d0b was referring to in "2 bros and 1 ho." I write about 50 blogs, which you definitely haven't read considering that you're not named Candice Alström or Todd Alström. Speaking of which, retard, it's Alström, not Alstrom, you idiot. Don't you dare ever forget that umlaut again or we'll super-extra-double-ban you from our site! My interests include posting a ridiculous amount of shit that nobody cares about on the internet, defending BMC beers because they're good for the style, and reviewing chocolate bars on 20n20s.com. Speaking of which, you should really try Amano Madagascar 70%. It has a really amazing snap, which is why I gave it a score of 99/100 in that category. Snap for a chocolate bar is like appearance for a beer...it's the most important thing ever, in the whole world!

    Anyhoo I was wondering...what your BA name was when you were on the site? I was just curious. BTW you are a mean, mean man and so is d0b. Please read my blogs though, I'm begging you. Somebody, anybody. OK GTG TTYL.

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  26. No way is that the real "Candace". Not enough cuss words or impotent name-calling. Nice try though.

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  27. Also funny how those servers are still seizing and yet they find the time, and money, to take a long and expensive tour of Alaskan breweies.

    And since when do they tweet? I thought they only had an account so that they could alert the members that the site is down again. Again. Again.

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  28. The real Candace is too much of a coward to reply to any direct criticism, harsh or polite, even on the internet. I can't wait to give her and her loser boy toys Jason and Todd a good earful when they come to Chicago...along side about 15-20 other current/former BAs who can't stand them. Smart money is on they hi-tail it out of whatever bar we find them at in 5 seconds flat after realizing what they got themselves into. In fact, if they were smart they wouldn't come to Chicago at all because their egos are going to take a ripe old beating from many-a pissed off people round here.

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  29. Brad, if they can put 2 and 2 together, they can probably figure out his BA username, especially if his email addy is posted somewhere. I'm sure their site (like most) logs the IP address of each person who logs into the site. It's really not that difficult if they know his username or email addy.

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  30. Good golly... when are they coming to Chicago? I certainly hope it will not be for one of the First Thursday of the month meetings at Goose Island...

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  31. When the BA people continue to bring American Ale and Fat Tire to the Chicago Beer Society Thirst Fursday meeting, you know something is wrong. The meeting used to be a wonderful gathering of homebrewers and pro's, enjoying an evening of good beer, good friends, and brewing talk. Now it's full of jackasses who know nothing about good beer and only want to drink the beers listed in the latest issue. The best part of the meetings now is when they leave and all the homebrewers get to share thier craft with fellow brewers. F*ck BA.

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  32. Jim, yeah I figured that was probably the mechanism (Twitter feed links to blog post, blog has e-mail address posted on the side, e-mail linked to BA login, IP captured from BA sessions). I was kind of wondering, in a general sense, whether a third party can figure your IP address based stricly on Twitter activity or something you post via blogger... Hopefully not.

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  33. Great piece about BA. I was on Twitter tweeting with a number of the great beer folks who got banned during this entire fiasco. The brothers need to come down to earth a bit and realize that we are what makes BA what it is...or, in my case, what it was, since I severed all connection with them. There are plenty of other great craft beer sites out there that BA would not be missed! Great job again!

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  34. Becareful Scott ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/blog#defamation_or_liability

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  35. You guys are not better than what you think about the Alstroms ... I highly doubt anyone here has the balls talk like this in public. What a sad bunch you all are.

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  36. Anonymous, I haven't seen anybody bringing either of those beers to the Thirst Fursday meetings, and I've known plenty of BA folks who've become part of the CBS fold - including myself. I now identify far more with the CBS community than that of BA, but I might not have found CBS without it. I also haven't seen anybody being rude, boorish or ignorant during the meetings, and everybody I've met there seems to appreciate the good stuff, so I personally think you're a bit off base.

    But I agree that it's the homebrewers, pros and longtime enthusiasts who really make the meetings enjoyable, and I never miss a meeting or fail to bring some homebrew for folks. :)

    And hilariously, my account HAS been locked on BA. That didn't take long!

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  37. The only advice I can offer in all of this is document, document document. Things are easily deleted and hidden, so take screen shots and save things. Print them, too. Trust me, if this escalates (which I hear that it is), you'll be happy you did.

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  38. Scandalous CandiceJanuary 26, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Mwahhahhahahaha!!! You have been crushed by my iron fist of doom, Ubik! Try and stop me, I dare you! Todd and I shall rule the world!

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  39. @ "You guys are not better than what you think about the Alstroms ... I highly doubt anyone here has the balls talk like this in public. What a sad bunch you all are."


    You obviously don't know me, I am always free with my speech (as we all should be)...and I'm itching at the chance to meet those 3 asshats that are ruining such a great community of beer folks.

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  40. I, too, dislike the snobbery and elitism that discourages people who are new to beer. You should join the first batch of us at beervoice and help us make a truly unique and friendly beer community :)

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  41. All of this is ridiculous.Get a life. Worry about something other than your own petty bullshit.

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  42. Anonymous: I am rather worried about hearing back from grad. schools; thanks for your concern. How's life in Flying Horse Country Club? Looks quite nice, I must admit. You must have succeeded quite handily to be living there, I congratulate you.

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  43. On a personal level, I've no fear about posting here. Regrettably however, as an employee of a brewery in Beer Advocate's niche, I must post anonymously.

    I've encountered the BA staff multiple times in my professional capacity, on-line, on the phone and face to face.

    My real life experience confirms a wide-spread arrogance/inflated sense of importance at BA. Maybe its just an occupational hazard. (The result of a few too many "atta-boys" from devoted fans?) But its as real as gravity.

    Note, I came to this observation well before this thread appeared.

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  44. Latest Anonymous: Email me. Links on the left under About Me. Let's chat.

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  45. A BA member for over 4 years. I haven't posted on the forum for almost a year mainly because I quit having fun and found myself engaging in exactly the same sort of behavior that pissed me off in other people. Secondly, I quit because of their unprofessionalism and will not be renewing my magazine subscription for the same reason (btw, I am a founding suscriber).

    In a magazine supposedly designed to promote or "advocate" beer, the sporadic use of profanity is not amusing, it can be very off putting to many neophyte enthusiasts. Don't get me wrong, I can be given to much profanity but when you are reaching out and trying to make a good first impression, it is down right stupid.

    I even donated money (talk about stupid), not much, but actually gave them money and didn't receive even an acknowledgement let alone a note of thanks.

    One thing that really got me is when I had put a lot of effort in a "beer fly" review only to have it deleted. It was a good, positive, legitimate review. They still used the picture of the place that I sent.

    I want to remain a member, I like to go there on occasion when I'm curious about a beer or something. I am just no longer a enthusiastic participant.

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  46. omg! this thread is great! I was just recently blocked.....lol....they are SOOO anoying! god help you if you say anything BAD about a beer.....they must live behind rose colord glasses.....every beer is great to them(well as long as its a paying sponsor I guess)....I agree this forum was so easy to navigate, but dayum...the users are just brutal.....snobby freaks who use a thesaurus to write beer reviews....look, I dont care if it has banana notes.....or clove! or friggin mango!!! ITS BEER!!!! drink it and shut your piehole freaks!
    Luv2bbq

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  47. If I got to not have a real job, travel around the world drinking beer paid for by a website operating on user generated content . . .

    I would probably be happy enough with my station in life to have a sense of humor as opposed to being a tyrannical account locking and deleting loser.

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  48. I've been banned 4 times and always by that fat piece of shit, Todd Alstrom. He runs that forum like he was Tipper Gore.

    Each ban was based on something trivial, such as cracking a joke he didn't like...or using the word cunt, pussy or fuck.

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    Replies
    1. I got a content removal notice this morning for posting the "I see what you did there" internet meme with Fry from Futurama in response to a comment I thought was funny.

      When I replied to express my frustration at being told I might have my access restricted because of the post, the response I got was "Not as frustrating as dealing with people who can't follow simple rules and derail threads with nonsense". I guess I could understand that kind of an asshole response if I was spamming threads or attacking people, but my removed post was my second comment to that same thread, and the first one had been a contribution to the thread's topic/question. To me, my "off-topic" post was your standard online forum banter.

      The nature of the response seemed a little vitriolic for normal frustration for dealing with users on a website, so I decided to Google "are the alstrom brothers assholes?" and found a few posts referring specifically to Todd Alstrom's generally crappy behavior.

      Well, guess who my DM came from? Yep, Todd Alstrom.

      Anyway, I'm doing some serious soul-searching as to whether I want to remain on BA, or schlep my ratings and reviews over to a new site that performs a similar function. I'm going to send out one more reply, but based on what I've read about the quick banhammer, I've printed my personal 'beers had' pages to PDF for reference. I plan on pulling my written reviews for safekeeping as well.

      Just seems a little ridiculous that I would feel the need to safeguard my content after 6 months of posting in good standing, because I don't see eye-to-eye with how I was spoken to about a harmless post without any profanity or vulgarity. But based on what I've read, my feelings are warranted.

      Anyway, thanks for the additional perspectives to everyone who contributed to this thread.

      Delete
  49. Too bad you didn't see my video about this I had made a few months before this incident. You could've heeded my advice - Boycott Beer Advocate before it's too late!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrh52BIPz5c

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  50. I found this page off of twitter. And I have no clue if it is still monitored. Check out Candice's twitter. She and Todd must not have been "respecting beer" on Thursday night. Her and Todd got belligerently drunk and had a fight. Candice tweeted it.

    I don't hold a personal grudge, but I find it hilarious that they are all three alcoholics that hide behind the motto "respect beer".

    I am kind of jealous. I need a job like that.

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  51. lol @ the fact that Candice is a hardcore liberal yet runs that site like Joseph Stalin.

    go eat more donuts you fat c*nt

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  52. @Anon "I found this page off of twitter. And I have no clue if it is still monitored. Check out Candice's twitter. She and Todd must not have been "respecting beer" on Thursday night. Her and Todd got belligerently drunk and had a fight. Candice tweeted it."

    Do you have any of those tweets she removed? The only ones I see are:

    "5h · Candice Alstrom ‏@cfahooligan. What my husband says to me: you will be on your knees sucking dick b/c you're an useless cunt."

    "Husband is now throwing my shit around and telling me to fuck off. That its not mine and i am a fucking cunt for asking."

    "4h · Candice Alstrom ‏@cfahooligan. No one is responding or tweeting me back. I assume you think I'm stupid, drunk, or team todd."

    No surprise nobody replied to her, since she's an illiterate moron. She calls everyone she bands childish yet feels the need to post her personal relationship problems on Twitter. Todd's an idiot for marrying that woman.

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  53. 4h · Candice Alstrom ‏@cfahooligan. Apparently everyone had my back tonight but i am such psycho whore i am too stupid to notice

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  54. ive been banned 3 times once for calling the moderators (the asshole brothers) uptight assholes who keep deleting my threads. everyone knows i was the best, most real, reviewer on the site. ive read so much bullshit on the site, its amazing to me the snobbery; and i agree with luv2bbq, its a frigging beer, no matter how goos it us.

    and the constant bashing of big companies, AB and all its hugeness, now own absolutely by far the best beer in the world. that would be Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout.

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  55. Make no mistake, Todd and Candice were picked on and beat up in their youth. They compensate by being ignorant when online. They can't act that way in person. That's why Todd tucked his tail and ran when confronted in person last month when he came to Chico. Pussy can't back up his mouth in person. Any of that "we take constructive criticism" bullshit they say in interviews couldn't be any further from the truth. They hate anyone who does not worship them. I won't go out of my way to support any brewery that deals with them, they're that bad.

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  56. That website is terrible...extreme bias on every level...FUCK BA!!!

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