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Review

Champion of Britain's pubs and breweries

Added: Sunday, April 8th 2012

Beer Lover’s Britain by Jeff Evans (insidebeer.com)

British beer and pubs need all the help they can get. There are more than 900 breweries operating in Britain today but, despite the spirited revival of cask beer, volumes have fallen dramatically over the past 30 years.

And, under the onslaught of supermarket cheap beer and ever-increasing rates of duty, pubs are closing at the rate of 15 a week. Beer and pubs need all the help they can get and Jeff Evans has ridden to the rescue with this timely new edition of his e-book.

Jeff is a seasoned campaigner for beer and pubs. He was a fine editor of CAMRA’S Good Beer Guide in the 1990s and he has followed that with seven editions of the Good Bottled Beer Guide. As a result of his tireless work on the bottled guide, he has almost single-handedly saved and boosted a segment of the beer market that was in serious decline but now records welcome growth. He has added to these achievements an excellent website, insidebeer.com.

In Beer Lover’s Britain, Jeff takes by the hand visitors to these shores – and there will be no shortage of them this summer – and shows them the pleasures of our pubs and beer. But it’s not just overseas visitors who will benefit from the book. Britain may be a small country but differences in beer styles and thy way they are served mean that trips to north, south, east and west can be equally fascinating and rewarding for those who live here.

Jeff has many missions in the book. As well as listing good pubs throughout the country, he uses his love of beer to detail in layman’s language how beer is brewed. He explains the difference between ale and lager, and the different methods used to produce them, and details the ingredients common to both styles: barley malt and hops.

One of the most useful sections of the book is the list of all types of ale to be found in Britain. This will come as a shock to those who come from countries that are predominantly geared to just producing lager beer. In these small islands, beer lovers will find not only the beers we are famous for – pale ale and bitter – but the likes of mild, porter, stout, old ale, barley wine and golden ales.

Building on this description of styles, Jeff then directs users of the book to some of the best beers that will be found in the nation’s pubs. He spotlights breweries to look out for and those which are open to the public. As well as pubs, he details some of the key beer festivals staged in Britain, including the Great British Beer Festival in London, a major showcase for British cask beer. As a former member of the task group that helped save it from extinction, I’m delighted that he encourages people to visit the National Brewery Centre in Burton-on-Trent, home to the rich tapestry of British brewing history.

Jeff details the dramatic changes to the structure of both the pub trade and brewing industry in recent years. He shows how the rise of global brewers and giant pub companies at first restricted choice but relentless pressure by beer lovers has seen a greater diversity of beer emerge.

Written with quiet passion and devotion to the subject, Jeff will whet many appetites for a visit to British pubs and a taste of our unique beers. Don’t leave home without it!

*Beer Lover’s Britain is available on Kindle from: amazon.com; amazon.co.uk; amazon.de; amazon.it; amazon.fr; and amazon.es. See also: http://bit.ly/GRA102.  www.insidebeer.com.

Image: Butt & Oyster, Adnams’ pub at Pin Mill, Suffolk, on banks of River Orwell.

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