Thursday 25 March 2010

The evolution of a beer writer

Having enjoyed reading Pete Brown's Three Sheets To The Wind after my mate Brian lent it to me, and Hops and Glory after I got it for christmas I decided to fork out for his first book Man Walks into a Pub. I was a bit miffed when shortly after I'd ordered it I saw that he's re-writing it.

But once the book had arrived I soon shifted it to the top of my reading pile and very entertaining it's proved to be. There are laugh out loud funny parts to it, but as a beer nerd who's read his other books some of the content is an engrossing read for other reasons. Unlike the impressively accurate Hops and Glory in Man Walks into a Pub it seems the full gamut of Zythophiles beer myths are reported as fact. The author's beer tastes also show that he was just starting down the road to full on beer nerdery: singing the praises of Stella and Caffrey's but slagging off lambics as undrinkable.

He has now reached the dizzying pinnacle of being beer writer of the year and I'm sure his opinions and beer tastes have changed from when the book was published in 2003. The problem is I'm now curious to see how he's changed the book for the second edition which will mean forking out more of my hard earned cash! A consolation is that he does have the advantage over most of us beer bloggers in that he can actually write well so I'm sure it will still be a good read.


  1. Ha! Thanks for an entirely fair and accurate summary, Ed. Yes, the main reason I felt a rewrite was necessary was that I had a ghostly Zythophile sitting on my shoulder tutting and shaking his head whenever I thought about Man Walks... The most glaring errors are now gone. Where the story is too good to lose, I've qualified it with clauses like 'the popular myth is...' so I can have my cake and eat it.

    Main changes are history of IPA and porter, and the bit about how brilliant Stella is (look, it was back then. It's the beer that's changed, not me, honest) plus updating it to cover impact of progressive beer duty and subsequent revival of real ale, and rise of neo-prohibitionism.

    Book is out June 4.


  2. Moi? Sit on anyone's shoulder and go "tut!"? Not at all … MWIAP was an excellent and much needed analysis of what was wrong with the British beer scene at that time, as well as a very good introduction to the joys of beer and the complications and fascinations of its history, and if the history side needed a tweak or two that's fine, it left room for history nerds like me to provide our own accounts. I very much welcome the updated version (particularly as this time I've managed to get my new book out first …)