Best beer books of 2019

Unmissable beer knowledge from 2019


A Beer in the Loire by Tommy Barnes

Muswell Press, £8.99

Have you ever dreamed of giving up the rat race, moving to France and starting a brewery? For Tommy, his girlfriend Rose, son Albert and Burt the dog it all came true. This is a very well written, highly amusing account of how they moved to Braslou, Indre-et-Loire, France. They live in an old house, start brewing their own beer and eventually become accepted as part of the local community and even make a living selling beer in a wine growing area.

A Natural History of Beer by Rob DeSalle & Ian Tattersall

Yale University Press, £20

If you have studied science and want to know more about how beer and its ingredients have evolved then this is a fascinating read. There is quite a bit on beer in ancient times, the evolution of barley and hops, the DNA of yeasts and fermentation. It is not a book about the chemistry of brewing but rather a detailed scientific study of everything about beer including how alcohol alters our senses and how we develop beer bellies.

Brand Crafted by David Colley & Gavin Joynt

Brand Crafted Creative £15

This book is the latest contribution to the growing genre of beer tourism books. It takes the reader on a trip around the world stopping off at the best breweries, bars, beer towns and

beer festivals. Mark takes us on a beer journey around the craft beer cities of the USA and the UK. We also go to Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic before touching on Australasia, Asia, Africa and South America. Mark is a young beer writer who spends a lot of time travelling the globe researching beer tourism, and he writes with great enthusiasm about what is clearly a labour of love.

30 Second Beer by Sophie Atherton

Ivy Books £14.99

This well illustrated book covers 50 beer related topics each of which is explained in around 200 words. The short articles are written by some of our best known beer writers including: Pete Brown, Jeff Evans and Roger Protz as well as Sophie Atherton. The book is divided into seven chapters: Basics, History, Brewing, Beer Styles, Beer Culture, Beer Industry and Beer Appreciation. We learn about the individual ingredients of beer: water, malt, yeast and hops as well as the main beer styles. There are entries on beer people, home brewing, pubs, beer tasting, storage and beer festivals. 

The Beer Lover’s Table by Clare Bullen & Jen Ferguson

Dog n Bone. £16.99

This is not a book about cooking with beer or a pub grub recipe book. Rather it tries to introduce the reader to the varied styles of beer that are available today and pair them up with some innovative recipes. The book is divided into five chapters each of which looks at a particular style of beer and then gives around 12 recipes that would go with these beers. The recipes are beautifully illustrated and most of the dishes are what you would expect to find in a top end bistro or restaurant.

It’s the Beer Talking by Ian Clayton

Route Publishing. £12.99

Ian Clayton is a welcome newcomer to the world of beer writing. He is an experienced writer and broadcaster who has written about music, Rugby League and Northern life. Initially I expected this book to be in the Pete Brown/Bill Bryson style of gentle, humorous, observational writing but it is in fact a gritty memoir of a lost world of rough West Yorkshire pubs, Rugby League, mining villages and working men’s clubs. The book is part memoir, part eulogy to a world that came to an end in the 1980s with the Miners’ Strike and the eventual closure of Britain’s coal mining industry. Ian is a fine writer who paints a vivid picture of working class life in the North of England as reflected through the prism of a beer glass.

The Pub Manifesto by James Dowdeswell

CAMRA. £12.99

The Pub Manifesto represents quite a change for CAMRA. Firstly, it is not just another pub guide and secondly, it is written by someone outside of the magic circle of established beer writers. James Dowdeswell is a comedian, actor and wine expert. He was brought up in his parent’s pub. The book is a miscellany of pub information with snippets about the highest pub in the UK, gluten free beer, pub clocks and cider. We also go off on a tangent with chapters about gin and whisky. Some of the book is based on one of his stage acts where he tries to work out what constitutes the perfect pub.

Beer Enthusiast’s Manual by Tim Hampson

Haynes. £14.99

This is a large format, illustrated book which is in four parts. Parts one, two and three cover the history of beer, beer styles and beer tasting. Part four is a practical guide to home brewing with a step to step guide and comprehensive fault finding tables. A good buy if you are contemplating brewing your own beer.

The Beer Kitchen by Melissa Cole

Hardie Grant. £20

Melissa is an expert on beer and food matching. The book includes 70 recipes which involve beer, together with much useful information about tasting and the chemistry of beer .The section on the most useful pieces of kit to have in the kitchen and store cupboard essentials is well worth reading if you are a novice chef.

1001 Beers to try before you die by Adrian Tierney-Jones

Cassell. £20

The beers are divided into sections: Amber, Blonde, White, Dark and Speciality with each beer getting a write-up on its history and background. It is a global selection of beers with not all being available in the UK. The book is well illustrated. It would be quite fun to try and tick off as many as possible of these beers although some you may only find on holiday.

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