This chronicle of Britain's favourite drink is a river that stretches back to the sacred brews of the first Neolithic farmers and forward another six millennia to today's megabreweries. It tells the story of our national obsession with brewing and answers such questions as: when did bitter and mild originate? What is the true story of porter and stout? What herbs did medieval brewers use before hops? How did lager get to be the most popular beer in Britain, rising from 2 per cent of sales to nearly 50 per cent in just 40 years? What was a Victorian brewery like? And what are the stories behind the great breweries? The British Isles have always had a beer culture, with beer drunk everywhere from ploughman's hut to princely palace and this book aims to do justice to this venerable story.
"Cornell has the rare gift of being able to combine witty, accessible writing with a historian's obsession with detail and documentation." Toronto Star
Martyn Cornell has been a journalist on national newspapers and magazines, in the UK and abroad, and a writer for more than 30 years, and first began writing about beer in 1980. Beer is far from the most important thing in his life (that would be his family first, music second and Queens Park Rangers third) but he enjoys beer greatly, and he enjoy talking about it and and writing about it, and exploring its many and varied ways. He was born on the site of an old pub - the Upper Flask, in Hampstead, North London, which vanished some time in the 18th century - and went to school in a building that had been an old coaching inn where Samuel Pepys once stayed on his way north, so perhaps he absorbed beery history from those walls. He can remember clearly his first pint, at the age of *hem*teen, in the garden of a Fremlins pub in Kent, not far from Whitstable, and being shocked at how amazingly, deliciously hoppy it tasted. Thousands of pubs, and many tens of thousands of beers later, he still looks forward to each new pint. Learning about beer, and the history of beer, has been a journey that has taken him around the world, and made him a huge number of friends. He was a founder member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and has won four Guild awards, including Beer Writer of the Year and Beer Blogger of the Year. He invented the word zythophilia, meaning 'love of beer', and his blog, zythophile.wordpress.com, is one of the most popular beer blogs in Britain.