Ding’s Beer Blog

About & Contact DING

Hi. I’m a 45 year old Englishman, marooned in the beer culture desert that is The South of the USA.

Desperately missing cask ale, pubs and beer culture, www.dingsbeerblog.com is largely a stream of consciousness, but is also a lot of me bitching & moaning – it’s what I do best; well that, and drink beer.

I’ve been drinking, studying, reading about and generally immersed in (not literally!), high quality beer for approx. 30 years. The first 18-20 of those years in the UK, and that last 12 here in the USA. Because of my background I have experience and cultural reference points that are both uncommon amongst movers and shakers in the contemporary, American beer scene. This means that inevitably my opinions, ideas and vantage points are very often much different to most of the beer people that I interact with in the US; that makes for some pretty interesting and lively conversation. I hope to bring some of that rich flavor flavour to the dingsbeerblog.



The blog didn’t simply appear out of thin air. For well over 7 years (up until April of 2011) I had been contributing on a daily (in some cases hourly) basis at beeradvocate.com with thousands of beer & place reviews, forum posts and photo credits to my name. However, things changed a LOT on beeradvocate (I strongly encourage you to read the full story), and because of those changes I felt the need to start a completely independent record of my inner beer thoughts; hence dingsbeerblog.

At dingsbeerblog, censorship, overbearing moderation, inappropriate treatment of people and the general dampening down of dissent will NOT be in evidence!

Welcome along, grab something appropriate, kick back and enjoy – it should be fun!


Ding, October 2012.

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  1. Let me know of any outtings/tastings here locally. Cheers!

  2. Bing, Carroll County resident here. Good friend operates http://www.eleanorarms.co.uk/
    on Old Ford Road in London. Lived for 6 wks in Portadown, NI in 1996, returned for 2 wks in 2004. Love Sam Smiths Taddy Porter.

    Would like to be in touch.
    Tom Miller

  3. So the Bros are looking to use Kickstarter to fund their ‘highly touted’ Beer App. They said they did not want to borrow money nor did they want investors.

    Basically, they want BA users to fund the app, costing them no money, other than their ‘time’, then charge people for the app? Essentially it is all profit for them…Great Business if you can do! I will not be ‘donating’.

  4. Had a couple of these last night and thought of you http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/20680/77858


  5. Hey old friend – email me and let’s catch up! I don’t have your email address.

  6. Hey Ding! Glad to see you back online.

    Much like many, I initially thought that Ding was a one dimensional jerk. However he is simply steadfast with his opinions. He does defend them but in the end he agrees to disagree.

    I must say that in person he is perhaps one of the most gracious people I have ever met via BeerAdvocate and I will drink a beer with him anytime without reservation!

  7. Hello Ding. Glad everything seems to be alright for ya. Had Fullers 1845 the other day (yeah, yeah, I know it’s not cask)! and thought it was outstanding. Have a good one.

  8. The reasons I’ve been naughty:

    I opened a virtual bar on the UK board before the East Coast watershed time allowed and when it got shut downI complained about the policing of the site.

    Same reason I got banned before, questioned the commitment to non-US posters.

    All is well now though ( I think ).


  9. Forgot to say I had eight different pints of Real Ale last night and I’m off to watch The Town lose at Port Vale in the FA Cup this afternoon.

    Any time time you want really pissing off and reminding where you live don’t hesitate to get in touch!


    • I was back home for nine days last week – sheer heaven! Look out for more blog posts on that soon!

  10. Where has my fish gone?


  11. Hi Ding,

    How’s it hanging mate?

    I’m still on BA (just been re-instated after another mis-understanding), I still enjoy BA and the UK forums are getting busier again at last, some interesting threads too.

    You’ve always enjoyed sailing ‘close to the wind’ and stating your point/points, I was surprised you survived so long on BA.

    I’ll pop back onto your site now and again to see what you’re up to, good luck with it.


    • Why the hell did YOU get banned???? Seems like it’s totally out of control over there.

      • The story I heard was that he kept talking about some former, banned BA who was always going on about session beer. Just kidding. I’m surprised he got a time out before me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an offending BlackHaddock post whereas I’ve heard tell of questionable Traquairlover posts.

        • What IS going on over there? It seems like they are on an ‘alienation drive’ like one of their old ‘donation drives’!

  12. Hey Ding-

    Just wanted to say we miss you over on the BA forums. All kinds of member purging happened recently and your name was brought up at a BA tasting.


  13. Hey buddy, just wanted to say hi and let you know I miss your input on the BA forums. Just found your page and it seems great so far. Will definitely come to visit on a regular basis. Cheers and hope all is well.

  14. Ding,
    I am not asking this question with any malice or trying to be a smart ass but I was wondering that if you if you miss England so much and in particular seem to find the South unbearable why do you choose to live here?

    • Hi Michael – I don’t suppose that there is any malice in your question, or that you are trying to be a smart ass, in fact I am glad that you asked since it is such a common question, almost exclusively coming from Americans.

      It has a very simple answer, and one that I have given over and over again, over the course of many years each time that I have been asked. The answer is that I don’t CHOOSE to live here, rather my life circumstances have caused it to be the case. It’s a question of fate and things out of my control.

      That answer usually confuses Americans enormously, chiefly because of the bizarre, incomprehensible (to most non-Americans) notion that Americans have, that one has complete control over ones destiny, one can achieve whatever one wants, and one can choose to do whatever one wants – i.e. a simplistic idea of complete control over ones destiny, a sort of twisted version of the ‘American Dream’. I don’t believe it to be true, or that it ever has been, and that’s (another) root of the colossal cultural differences that reign over our collective situations!

      Does that answer your question?

      • It does and it sounds like you truly are not that happy to be here. For that I am sorry and I truly hope that one day that will change for you and that you will either find happiness here or be able to return to where you will find it.

        • Michael – given we are talking about beer here, I can confidently say that I will NEVER, EVER find ‘beer happiness’ in the USA, since from my perspective the beer culture/situation here is grossly inferior to what I was brought up in. Nothing compares. That’s an unfortunate reality.

          • Do not be so sure!

            I moved to GA also back in 1992 from Scotland and was completely miserable (as far as pub culture).

            In 2000 I moved to the Willamette Valley in Oregon and while its not the same it is much more ‘real” and I’m happy enough.

            There is a culture just taking hold here..after all its been 30 years now in the making. I doubt GA will ever get one, although there are some excellent places for beer.

      • You’ve nailed it there Ding. Unless a person has experienced these life circumstances (which have dictate where you live) then its impossible to understand. It explains why I actually live in the UK.

        Your point about the fantasty of ‘I will and forerver must be in control of every facet of my life’ is also well played. I find it quite an infantile idea and its one of those things which drives me crazy especially when I’m on BA. Its also one of the reasons why i hate canned beer as its a power symbol of everything which is wrong with American beer cuture. Any beer worthy of respect demands the drinker come to it in the appropriate circumstance in context. And its why the UK has real ale and pubs.

      • As an ‘murican, I totally agree with your assessment of the myth of the “self-made man.” That myth holds this country back from truly reaching its potential. I look forward to reading your beer thoughts.


        -I think about beer

  15. is there a way to reach you by email?

  16. Hey Ding! I wondered where you went. Glad to see you are doing well.

  17. Ding-
    Sorry to hear about your troubles w/the bros, or their sister, or whoever Candice is. The only other interaction I’ve really noticed from her was the Clown Shoes thing and…wow. ‘Nuff said. Anyway, a bunch of us do miss your curmudgeonly British rantings (me especially, as I am a self-professed Anglophile in terms of beer, sport, my career, and food). Keep on keeping on. I’m still quite active on BA, but mostly for homebrewing help/just to check reviews before buying beer. It’s become increasingly angry/juvenile at times.

  18. There’s a thread right now about most missed BAs and your name popped up at least 20 times. This is how I found your blog. Miss your comments on BA even if I didn’t always agree with you.

    • Interesting read. I was quite surprised that it was still there when I went to look! Thanks for the kind words.

  19. You might be surprised to hear this because we butt heads so often over the years, but I miss your posts on BeerAdvocate and always appreciated your very different point of view. It was foolish for them to ban you.

    Good luck with the blog, I will be checking in from time to time.

    • Thanks for the comments and the encouragement. Frankly, getting people to agree with me is not my goal, rather the Blog is just a place that allows me to sound off, and in the process I can remain sane!

  20. Great site Ding.
    Hugely enjoyable and interesting.

  21. Happy to find you again!
    Sad stuff with BA.
    I always enjoyed your reviews etc.
    Myself at one time was an ex-pat( Scot) in Atlanta from 1992-99
    So i know were you are coming from.
    Anyway cheers mate from Oregon.

  22. Growing beer circle on google+. Would be good to have you in the mix. Add me http://gplus.to/joelikesbeer

  23. Hey, Ding, I’ve got a question for you:

    If I send you some homebrewed bitters, could you give me some feedback?

    I live in the middle of Nowheres-ville Midwest as far as access to British beer goes and, though I like the bitter-styled beers I’ve brewed so far, I’d be interested in knowing how my beers vary from and/or stack up to the beers brewed by those who brew ’em and know ’em best.

    Obviously I can’t send you a cask but, if you can ignore the differences created by the different packaging methods, I CAN send you some bottle-conditioned American-made, British-inspired beers.

    If you’re interested, get ahold of me. I’d like to pick your brain and gain a little more insight in to British beer. You should have my email address from the “Email” field I had to complete before posting.



  24. Ding,

    I was recently banned from BA and many of my posts were deleted for defending freedom of speech or freedom of beer. I can’t understand what is going on with that site. They have become a dictatorship. Even though I didn’t always agree with you I appreciated your honesty.

    • Anyone that knows me knows that I appreciate strong, unswerving, opinionated comment, but there is a big difference between that and the kind of profanity laden, venom-spitting, misspelled deluge that we get from YKW on BA. There’s a degree of bitterness that is difficult to fathom, and sad disregard for many of the people that have built the site up to be what it is. It’s shortsighted.

  25. I know you probably can’t view this (http://beeradvocate.com/forum/read/3900201#3900317), but drop me a line and I’ll send you a PDF of it. I’m sure you’ll enjoy…

    • That thread was a trainwreck.

      Btw, it was locked the instant someone mentioned you Ding and the post containing the mention deleted.


  26. Excited to read your beer thoughts here, Ding. I always respected your opinions, and miss seeing your posts – and extremely helpful reviews – on BA. Take care.


    • Thanks! Eventually (in the VERY distant future) all the reviews will appear on the Blog. That’s a long term project though.

  27. Ding:

    Sorry to see you gone from BA. I have kind of moved away from there myself (not banned, but just gravitating away). I didn’t always agree with your opinions, but I loved your sincerity. I am also trying to explore drinks other than beer. I have always been a Scotch enthusiast, and could not stand Bourbon, but this week I finally got to sample the forgotten spirit of the world. Straight Rye Whiskey, which some people call a relic in a bottle. I have only sampled one so far (Wild Turkey Straight Rye 101), but this $20 bottle has simply blown me away. I don’t know if you have ever had a chance to try it, but I highly recommend it. If you are going to live in a savage and uncivilized place, might as well drink what the cowboys in the wild west drank.

  28. Ding,

    Glad to see you back in some kind of manner. Keep up the good work, I’ll be back to check the blog out on a regular basis.

  29. While we have had our agreements and disagreements, I’d agree that it’s rather absurd that you were banned.

    I do miss your posts. They tend to be well thought and constructive and contribute a refreshing perspective to what is a rather mundane cyberworld.


  30. Someone was recently banned (actually re-banned) from BA for posting your blog weblink.

    I’m surprised that you of all people Ding would speak periphrastically; you pissed Candice Alström off, which is why you were banned.
    “there is one influence that is skewing things violently” = Candice Alström.

    For some colorful history apropos Mrs. Alström, read this: http://www.beerinator.com/community/index.php?topic=2177

    To be fair, the thread’s commentary is obviously almost entirely one-sided. But the quotes speak for themselves.

    Your situation is most unfortunate Ding. I am finding less and less useful posts on the site worth reading. Remember the famous Apple computer commercial, during some Superbowl, that was like a scene from “1984”? That is what BA has come to, a bunch of drones and any disruption to the status quo is swiftly removed. Except you Ding, you weren’t swiftly removed!!!

    I’m glad to see that you are still doing what you do.


    • And for those who are unawares, Ding was banned from BA after getting into an argument with Mrs. Alström regarding whether craft beer enthusiasts ought to boycott viewing the Royal Wedding, because of media reports that beer was deemed unsuitable for the reception.

  31. Ding, I really enjoyed your contributions to BA, I’m sad to see you go. Cheers

  32. Ding,
    I think you’re a pompous ass, and don’t know what happened, *but* I don’t agree with you or others being banned for having different opinions. You are knowledgable about beer and its a loss for the site. I would love to know what happened.

  33. Ding, I am interested in seeing your thoughts on BA. The “incident” that supposedly led to your departure had been erased by the time I saw it, but much as I like salacious gossip, I imagine your commentary won’t focus much on that specifically. Nonetheless I’d like to see it.

    I am one of those on BA who often (though by no means always) agreed with your views, for the record, though I’m not leaving my BA handle on this comment due to a probably excessive sense of paranoia :)

  34. Looking forward to your 1st anti tipping thread. I miss beating up on you for your stupidity and bs

  35. Yeah, things have changed at BA…the bros finally got sick of your antics, and you were banned. Thank god…it’s a much better forum without you. Some things haven’t changed though. You’re still an Anti-American, prejudice, royalist douche bag with 30+ years of worthless opinion on beer.

    Good luck with your blog.

    • Shame you haven’t got the backbone to identify yourself – although I could guess! Increasingly typical though, so I’m not surprised. BA doesn’t need *me* per se, but it does need people *like* me. Way too many of the experienced, opinionated group have been driven away for no other reason than having a differing opinion. For now I think the Bros. have (for many reasons, but one in particular) slightly lost their way. Maybe they will get it back, maybe they won’t, but for now BA is being run like a power-crazed dictatorship. I have no beef with them as such, it’s their site and they can do as they choose, but there is one influence that is skewing things violently. We all know it’s never been a democracy at BA, but at the moment the lunatics seem to have taken over the asylum! More to follow from me in a subsequent, detailed post about me and BA in general, so why not subscribe to the blog and stay tuned so you can follow? Cheers.

      P.S. Nice job on the name calling, always a class-act and a sure sign of higher intelligence and winning the debate!

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