Looking for the ideal present for the beer lover in your life? Or maybe the beer lover in your life is you, and you want a simple, satisfying answer to that annual question from spouse/parent/child: “What do you want for Christmas this year, then, you awkward old get?” The Zythophile blog has the perfect answer: Amber Gold and Black, the history of Britain’s great beer styles, the first and only book to cover the story of every type of British beer from IPA to stout, from mild to porter. For Americans it’s available via here, if you’re in the UK you can get it here, and if you don’t want to use Amazon you can buy it from Beer Inn Print here.
Amber Gold and Black shows the routes each British beer type took as they evolved into the beers we know today, and details some of the top examples in each style. If you want to know just how the pint in your hand came to be the way it is, whatever it’s a pint of, Amber Gold and Black is the book to tell you.
The book reveals, among other fascinating stories, how bitter, regarded around the world today as the typical British working man’s pint, was born as a drink for snobs in the early years of Queen Victoria; how mild, the biggest-selling beer style in the country when the Beatles released their first LP, was originally strong and pale rather than weak and dark; how porter, the British beer style that once swept the world, owes its success to the 18th century equivalent of a Ferrari-driving City smoothie; how stout became “good for you“; how India Pale Ale was a lucky accident that came about because of the greed of several dozen ships’ captains; how Britain lost its wheat beer tradition because James II lost his throne; and how a weed that infests thousands of British lawns was once just one of dozens of herbal flavourings in British ales. It looks at the important role British brewers played in helping two young men from Munich and Vienna develop modern lager; it charts the invention and rise of golden ale and wood-aged beers, two of Britain’s newest beer styles; and it details long-vanished British beers such as broom ale, mum and West Country white ale.
Here’s a selection from some of the latest reviews of Amber Gold and Black:
“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 very well-researched and easy to read review of the history of brewing. I’m sure that this book will be of interest to anyone interested in beer and its history … highly recommended.”
Les Howarth, on Amazon.co.uk
“Amber Gold & Black is a really good read. It’s well-written and captivating throughout … would recommend it to anyone with an interest in British beer.”
” A wonderful piece of research” Irishcraftbrewer.com
And you can also find some more reviews here, from the merely highly enthusiastic (“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) to the superlatory (“Easily the best book ever written about British beer styles and their history” – Homebrewtalk.com.)
Many thanks to The Beer Prole for the image, btw, which I nicked and Photoshopped up a bit to make it look a little more arty …