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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-researched review of brewing history, 2 Sep 2010
By 
L. G. Howarth "Les Howarth" (Saffron Walden, England) - See all my reviews
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I added this book to my Amazon wish list because it looked somewhat interesting... I then bought it when I was given Amazon gift vouchers for my birthday and I've now almost finished reading it. I am so glad I did because it is way more than "somewhat interesting"! It is a very well-researched and easy to read review of the history of brewing.

Even though I thought I knew most things about beer and brewing (and I've even written a book about beer myself - The Home Brewer's Recipe Database), I learned several new (to me) facts from reading this book. If asked, I'd have assumed that "Burton Ale" was a strong pale ale such as Inde Coope Burton Ale but this book shows that I'd have been wrong. Not only is Burton Ale a stronger, darker brew than any pale ale but I've actually drank several examples of the style and thoroughly enjoyed them!

Martyn also dispels some often-repeated myths about the origins of Porter, IPA and other styles. This is very refreshing (pun intended). It is perhaps not surprising that many changes in brewing practice were driven by changes in government tax legislation.

The chapter on use of herbs in brewing is fascinating - I never realised how many of the weeds growing my garden contained hallucinogens! These probably added to the experience of drinking ales brewing using them during history. Brewers probably didn't stop brewing with herbs because of any issues with beer quality - it was because it was banned by the government. Hops were taxed, herbs weren't.

This book has been a huge inspiration for brewing my own beers with a better informed knowledge of the history of brewing that allows me to not only develop new recipes but also a story behind the recipe. I'm sure that this is going to become one of the most useful books in my brewing library and I'll refer to it frequently while thinking up recipe designs. I'm sure that this book will be of interest to anyone interested in beer and its history, even if they aren't a brewer. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - History of British Beer, 25 Mar 2014
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I love it

This book is very good and highly recommended. If you only have one British Beer book...have this one!

It is well written; in a very easy to read manner, without 'dumbing down' for its' readers.

Pros:
1. Good research (backed up by facts)
2. Dispels many myths of the CAMRA and other 'authors' concerning British Beer (eg: history of IPA)...also check out his Zythophile Web Blog
3. Easy too read... specific chapters on each beer style
4. Interesting (eg: history of Lager brewing in UK and explains the Burton Style of beer and where the term 'gone for a Burton' comes from.
5. Humourous style (eg: did you know there was musical dedicated to Bitter Beer in the 1800s)
6. Concise...the chapters are not too long or short...an easy read but full of information
7. Provide good backgroud for brewers searching for ideas about historical beers (ie: what would a 1790s porter taste like)
8. Best explaination I have read concerning evolution of Stout.

Cons
1. Maybe a few more pictures (personal view..does not detract from the book)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a few essential beer books, 14 Jun 2013
By 
This review is from: Amber, Gold and Black (Kindle Edition)
The history of how various beer 'styles' evolved is murky and complicated which is why, for many years, certain myths have come to be endlessly repeated by lazy writers looking for a snappy story.

Cornell's book goes back to original sources and questions every aspect of those myths to give the most reliable account of the development of old English styles such as IPA and porter currently available.

It's fairly readable, though his commitment to facts, figures and evidence mean that, in places, the detail might be too much for some. As a reference, however, it's hard to beat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 19 July 2012
This a great book if you have more than a passing interest in British (& Irish!) beer. It's extensively researched with plenty of interesting facts and stories and would be suitable as a reference for students of British social and colonial history as well, as it examines brewing alongside changes in our social and cultural past ( & right up to present day). It's a bit 'academic' at times, with plenty of detail about brewing methods and ingredients, but if you're a casual reader don't let this put you off as there's lots to learn! Recommended. Now, where's that bottle opener...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 16 May 2014
By 
N. Dodd (England) - See all my reviews
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A really thorough account of our most important beers...and a few that perhaps aren't so important. I learned a lot from this. The author has clearly done his research, and it's generally readable and very informative. There's a large focus on the history of the beer, which was very interesting, including the ingredients and proportions thereof used in those days. Occasionally I might have wished for measurements in modern-day units, but that's a very small quibble. There were very occasional typos and other things the editor / proof-reader failed to catch, but overall it's an excellent book and a very enjoyable read.

Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 31 Oct 2013
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Book was all I expected and more. Martyn has done some phenomenal research and has covered many areas it would have taken me years to cover. Furthermore, he cuts through the myths that have arisen and only uses material that can be backed up - something many authors do not bother to do, trotting out the same old stories. Has distilled the information in a readable and easily-understood way. Would recommend it to anyone interested in the history of why our beers are the way they are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive overview of British beers and brewing history, 27 Oct 2013
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This book is well-written and entertaining. Anyone interested in beer will enjoy the solid ground work done here.
Beer is an important part of British history and this book gives the reader an oppurtunity to study history from dofferent angels, such as economical, technological and social.
Sverre
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent little book for beer addict., 23 May 2013
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Makes interesting reading about the history of beer. Bought for my husband for Christmas, I enjoyed reading it too. Passed it around a few friends too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, 23 Mar 2013
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This is a must read for anyone who is studying or just interested in beer and brewing. Provides great detail on the vast number of beer styles available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amber Gold and Black, 11 Jan 2012
By 
John Buchanan "John Buchanan" (Kent England) - See all my reviews
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Martyn Cornell's journey through the different types on ales and beers is superb and is educational and entertaining for Beer Affectionados and Beginers who wish to learn about our National Beverage. An easy read which encourages you to sample the ales and beers in a moderate fashion
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Amber, Gold and Black by Martyn Cornell
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