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Amber, Gold and Black: The History of Britain's Great Beers Hardcover – 1 Apr 2010
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About the Author
MARTYN CORNELL is an award-wining author and journalist, a founder member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and a former Beer Writer of the Year. He is also the author of Beer: the Story of the Pint and Beer Memorabilia. He lives in Middlesex and has a blog: zythophile.wordpress.com
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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.
1. Maybe a few more pictures (personal view..does not detract from the book)
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.