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Beer - The Story of the Pint: The History of Britain's Most Popular Drink [Hardcover]

Martyn Cornell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Aug 2003
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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (4 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755311647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755311644
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 704,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

"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,, is one of the most popular beer blogs in Britain.

Product Description


'A rollicking, densely fact-packed affair . . . Beer is a book for beer-lovers and they're in for a good time' -- Independent on Sunday

A fabulous book that no one should be without … A highly readable history of the Universe's Greatest Product -- Hampstead & Highgate Express 29 August 2003

A fascinating read … as refreshing as a pint of Adnams on a hot afternoon in Suffolk -- Manchester Evening News 9 August 2003

Highly recommended if you like a pint, or even if you have the remotest interest in social history -- Newcastle Journal 1 August 2003

Incredibly well-researched … a great story -- The List, Glasgow 7 August 2003

This is a magnificent contribution to the history of beer and should be on every aficionado's bookshelf. -- Roger Protz, What's Brewing, September 2003

About the Author

Martyn Cornell has been writing for 20 years on the history of beer, breweries and brewing for national newspapers and specialist beer publications. In 2000 he was the winner of the British Guild of Beer Writers Award. He is a regular judge in beer tastings for Tesco.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out: it'll make you thirsty! 3 Mar 2006
This is a quite wonderful book. Despite its slender size and its frankly rather poor cover, it is a serious and in-depth history of beer in Britain. No period is given too much or too little detail, and areas of contention or mystery, such as how the first beer was discovered and brewed and the origins of Porter, are dealt with. There's even a section at the back of brewing myths and a handy glossary. I made the mistake of reading it on the train into work each day, and longing for a lovely pint of strong, hoppy IPA at 7.25 is a strange experience! The sad tale of the distructive conglomerates in the mid-20th century obviously gets some coverage (and continues: see what's happening right now to George Gale & Co - established in 1847; closed down in 2006?), but let's hope CAMRA has saved Britain's favourite drink. A must-read book for beer drinkers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 13 Aug 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An entertaining and informative read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a "barrel" of a book!!!! 27 Dec 2004
By El Zahrul - Published on
The book touches lightly on the world history of beer and from then on plunges into the depts of beer making history of Britain.. the research is impeccable and will bowl you over!!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative, Well researched 19 April 2008
By Adam Hopkins - Published on
The author of this book certainly put in a lot of effort to research and organize his material for this extremely fascinating look at beer. Many interesting stories are brought into this book that make it a great read from cover to cover. I find myself constantly referring back to its pages ofr its great nuggets of information.
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