Man Walks into a Pub: A Sociable History of Beer by Pete Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have read quite a few books on beer in the past and have found that typically they all have one thing in common: they are either monumentally dull or a total farce.
Weighty volumes that document the complete history of a particular brewery right down to what tiny changes were made to a particular recipe and when are all very well and good. No doubt they are of great interest to men with big bushy beards who wear cable knit jumpers and who carry note books around with them but they are a bit too serious and stodgy for the more casual reader.
On the flip side of the coin I don’t want to read a book written by some tracksuit wearing chav who just wants to brag about how he can drink 20 pints of Stella, fight some rival football fans and still drive his barely legal Vauxhall Nova that should have been scrapped before he was born.
That is where Pete Brown has got things bang on the money, he treats the subject seriously and manages to convey a lot of useful information whilst keeping things light and smattered with humour throughout.
By choosing to focus more on the social history of beer brewing and drinking he avoids bogging the reader down with some of the useless minutiae that a lot of the more serious beer books pride themselves on.
I am also very impressed with the way that Pete Brown handles the often tricky real ale vs. lager issue. A lot of writers fall heavily on one side of the fence or the other and as such we often hear lager being decried as tasteless or a children’s drink or ale being slagged off for being a drink for fat, bearded weirdos who need to get out more.
Whilst I have my own views on the matter I realise no one really wants to hear them, and in return I don’t really want to hear their views rehashed over and over again either.
So it was certainly pleasant to come across an author who wasn’t using their book as a soapbox to take pot shots at their target of choice.
If you have anything more than a passing interest in beer and have ever considered reading more about beer and drinking then you could do an awful lot worse than to take this book as a starting point.
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