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Amber, Gold & Black: The History of Britain's Great Beers Hardcover – June 1, 2010
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This is essential reading for anyone with an interest in beer as a drinker, a retailer or a brewer. --John Cryne, former chairman, Campaign for Real Ale, London Drinker
This book is absolutely brilliantly revelatory ... the painstaking research that has gone into this work is phenomenal This is definitely a books that belongs on any beer-lover's bookshelf. It is a must read. --Brewsnews.com.au
A wonderful job of laying out the history of bitter, mild, porter and IPA based on research, not myth, and styles you may have only heard about such as Burton Ale and Stingo, as well as those news to me, such as Gale Ale. --beerwineandwhisky.com
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Top Customer Reviews
Even though I thought I knew most things about beer and brewing (and I've even written a book about beer myself - The Home Brewer's Recipe Database), I learned several new (to me) facts from reading this book. If asked, I'd have assumed that "Burton Ale" was a strong pale ale such as Inde Coope Burton Ale but this book shows that I'd have been wrong. Not only is Burton Ale a stronger, darker brew than any pale ale but I've actually drank several examples of the style and thoroughly enjoyed them!
Martyn also dispels some often-repeated myths about the origins of Porter, IPA and other styles. This is very refreshing (pun intended). It is perhaps not surprising that many changes in brewing practice were driven by changes in government tax legislation.
The chapter on use of herbs in brewing is fascinating - I never realised how many of the weeds growing my garden contained hallucinogens! These probably added to the experience of drinking ales brewing using them during history. Brewers probably didn't stop brewing with herbs because of any issues with beer quality - it was because it was banned by the government. Hops were taxed, herbs weren't.
Although this book is focussed on British brewing history, there are some connection with other country's beers.Read more ›
As a professional brewer myself, I'm happy to report that he's included enough technical information (i.e. gravities, etc.) to make the book very useful. At the same time, the information is just put out there and a layman can either skim past it, or use it as a general comparison.
Any home-brewer who has an interest in English ales should definitely look into it; and I'm hoping that it will help to champion a wide range of British beers that are currently falling below the radar for many as the United States (and others: Brew Dog & Mikkeler, for example) push towards and promote bigger and bolder, more overwhelming ales and lagers.
More importantly, he writes quite well and it reads smoothly, and without side-treks. He takes the reader down a clear track, covering all of the bases (some of which I was even unaware of - wheat beer, chapter 10!). It's easy and entertaining to the point that almost anyone who has any interest in beer might find it worthwhile.
In conclusion, I'll bow my head and take a moment of silence before I write this as I knew Michael myself, but I feel that Martyn Cornell has taken the baton that Michael Jackson handed him and he's running with it. Check out his blog as well - there's even more crazy stuff there!
I do not rate beers, not make them, but I love learning about various ideas and stories. This book is a definite reference material guide that you can read a chapter at a time, and ultimately learn about the basic mechanics of beers we drink.
Cornell is one of the key beer writers of our time and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend spending the $10 on book that you can refer back to when required. I referenced this book in writing my own e-book on Craft Beer Trends.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nicely written and it seems well researched. I only gave it four stars because it uses no type of citations, so you have no way of knowing exactly where he got his wealth of... Read morePublished 19 months ago by History grad
This is a very thorough volume on British beer styles. Although dense with names and a bit dry (at times), the book is great for those seeking a deeper knowledge of what they are... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mac
Martyn Cornell is perhaps the finest, most accurate British beer writer there is. A must for any British beer history buff, homebrewer, or craft brewer.Published on November 8, 2013 by Neil Spake
The book is very well researched and provides a great deal of insight into the history and evolution of beers in Britain. Read morePublished on November 5, 2013 by Michael Retzlaff