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We are fortunate to be living in a time where the British brewing industry is enjoying thriving success. New breweries are emerging everywhere, new beer styles are introduced frequently and older ones are continually reconsidered and revamped. For the beer enthusiast like me, it is sometimes overwhelming.
Britain’s Beer Revolution goes someway to aiding the reader make sense of it all. Written by acclaimed beer writers Roger Protz and Adrian Tierney-Jones, the book provides you with a good overview of the British brewing scene. I was made aware of smaller breweries I had previously not heard of. But most of all, the beers suggested to try sound simply scintillating.
The book is organised into a number of sections. It begins with an introduction to beer and the styles. It is highly readable and accessible to the beginner. It then goes through the history of beer in Britain succinctly paying particular attention to the changes since the dark days of the 1970s and the influence of the US craft beer revolution. Naturally, being a CAMRA book, their influence on the growth of real ale is not without mention. The influence of blogging and social media is also recognised. A strong feature in each regional section is the view of a local blogger/beer activist on that area’s scene.
Following this introduction the book is divided into the aforementioned regional sections. This begins with a comprehensive history of brewing in that region and also the health of the industry in each area. A particular strength of the book is the fact the breweries covered are all shapes and sizes. You have your Fullers, Shepherd Neame and Marstons but also (I’m picking some favourites here) features on North Norfolk’s Poppyland and Dunham Massey of the North West.
All the important information is listed on each brewery as well as interviews with brewers who share their passion and views on brewing. A range of beers to try from the brewer is also suggested to the reader. Each regional section finishes with a suggested range of pubs to try in that area.
Separating all this information are features such as articles on Brewpubs, Bottle conditioning and female Brewers, Malt, Hops and Barley. A feature on Brewdog is also effectively written and well-balanced, recognising the impact they have had on the industry.
So in conclusion this book is a worthwhile read for the beer enthusiast seeking to gain an increased understanding of breweries in each region of Great Britain. Naturally, every reader will feel they’ve missed something (from an East Anglian writer’s perspective, Grain and Humpty Dumpty’s absence was a shame). But this book really does make you want to find out much more.
To finish, here is a list of brewers whose beers I am now desperate to explore further than I have previously:
Bristol Beer Factory