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Man Walks into a Pub: A Sociable History of Beer Paperback – 6 Jun 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (6 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140500553X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405005531
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 12.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,434,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pete Brown used to advertise lager for a living, until he realized that writing books about beer was even more fun, and entailed drinking even more beer. He appears regularly on television as a beer expert, writes on beer for a variety of publications and is the author of Man Walks into a Pub and the award-winning travel book Three Sheets to the Wind. He was recently named the British Guild of Beer Writers Beer Writer of the Year 2009. He lives in London.

Product Description

Review

"Packed with bar-room bet-winning facts and entertaining digressions... a book into which every pub-goer will want to dip." -- Daily Express, 21 June 2003

...so much history and information... with such wit, entertaining personal insights and occasional laddish crudity. -- Yorkshire Post, June 2003

A clever bloke who understands his subject. -- Sunday Telegraph, June 2003

About the Author

Pete Brown was born in 1968 in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Since 1991 he has worked in advertising, specialising in 'beer' accounts such as Heineken and Stella Artois. He has appeared regularly on television as a beer expert and writes for the beer industry press.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By John Harley, Chief Executive, Budweiser Budvar UK Limited on 9 Aug 2003
Format: Paperback
Man Walks into a Pub is a social history of beer, beer drinking and the places where beer is consumed that takes us from ancient Egypt to the present day, and it’s a wonderful journey. The author, Pete Brown has a knack for keeping the reader engaged by using everyday language. So much so you could almost imagine you and he were in the pub enjoying a pint so relaxingly convincing is his prose, and his abuse of footnotes can be hilarious.
Informative, satisfying and ultimately entertaining, this book sways wildly from acerbic wit to erudite scholarliness without pausing for breath, but always tackles the serious business of telling the story of one of the most important aspects of Britain’s social history with reverence and affection.
The extent of Browns research is evident as the reader learns the beer-soaked etymology of recognisable phrases such as ‘taking him down a peg or two’, ‘enjoying the fruits of their labours scot-free’ and ‘tosse-pot’. The stories are engaging and plentiful, the book is punctuated by major events such as the two world wars, the birth of the super-brand etc. and these stories integrate wonderfully so that the reader is left with a weight of knowledge that is as broad as it is amusing – you could dine out on some of these tales for years.
If you have ever walked into a pub (be you man or woman), have any interest in beer, or just want a damn good read I urge you to read this book.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Greig VINE VOICE on 11 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
An excellent and entertaining history of beer drinking in the UK that contains absolutely hundreds of interesting facts. The history seems well researched and the author's style is very informal. There are chapters on the ancient Britons and the influences of the various invaders the UK has had in history, right through to the modern day mega-brands and how they came about.
Some people might find the informal style annoying but I found it made the book easier to read. One minor gripe would be the number of footnotes* as it can spoil the flow of the book slightly and most are childish comments rather than background information.
* they get everywhere!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dave Barter on 17 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback
I was given this book as a Christmas present and dived into it in January, typically my month of abstinence. This was a mistake as the author wrote affectionately and passionately concerning beer. I have yet to find a history book that has acted as a proper page turner..until this book landed in my stocking. Every chapter held my interest and the book had just the right amount of flicking around the place to stall any potential for monotony. Pete Brown's writing is accessible and to the point. I enjoyed the humour and passion within the text and even let him get away with his own personal views that occasionally intrude upon the narrative.

In summary, I left this book with an urge to get down my local and support it. It has refuelled my passion for beer in a good way. Well done to Pete for writing such an interesting and informative book, but next time bring the footnotes into the main text!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are lots of books about beer, but most of them are about how it's made, or about beers (and places to drink them) that are currently on the market. This book is far more interesting, a history of we English and our beer.

Some of it will be well-known to many people, but much of it, especially how our drinking habits have changed over time and more importantly why they changed and what were the social motivators for those changes will not be familiar to many. Brown makes legislation and the economics of beer and drinking interesting, and I would recommend this book based on that alone.

But he does a lot more, skewering several sacred cows and roasting them for us: he makes sense of pub architecture and provides what I think is a very fair view of CAMRA who manage to be at the same time both champions of great beer and enemies of innovative beer; champions of the great pub and enemies of any attempt to design pubs relevant to modern lifestyles and economic circumstance.

If there is one significant problem with the book it is that its coverage of the Beer Orders and the changes resulting from them is woefully incomplete, for which I deduct one star. There is little, for example, on how pubs' supposedly free choice of "guest" beer are now limited by shady discounting tied to rent. At least some of this shadiness was apparent by 2003 when the book was first published, although its effects have become even more prevalent in the succeeding decade. But then, I write that with the benefit of hindsight. Writing the history of what has only recently happened is always tricky because you can't tell what's a significant long-term change and what's just a minor abberation that will disappear shortly. I read the first edition. There is now a second edition (published in 2010). I have made a note in my diary to look for a third edition in about 2020.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J R Lenox on 27 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
As an American who is living in England and enjoys a good pint - this book was a great read. It was packed with trivia, history, culture, humour, and even though the whole book was about beer .. I never tired of reading it.
After reading the book I have a greater appreciation of the hand pumped pint and the unique atmosphere of my local - Thank you
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