The Real Ale Almanac Paperback – 25 Aug 1995
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"Intense smoky character in the mouth; toffee and coffee in the dry finish." No, it's not someone describing their favourite, purple-wrapped Quality Street. It's a dark ruby ale from Springhead Brewery in Newark as described by Roger Protz in his fifth edition of the Real Ale pocketbook.
There are, no doubt, thousands of beer lovers around the country and this is aimed at the enthusiast. Protz, who won the 1997 Glenfiddich Drink Writer of the Year award for his beer writing, lists around 300 breweries with helpful notes on each of their products. The listings are broken down into rather large regions (Scotland, Central England etc.) and one of the book's downfalls for travellers is a lack of even the most general map. A note of the whereabouts of the nearest decent pub to each brewery might also have been useful.
Having said that, if you fancy a trip around any part of Britain and want to take in a few breweries, the book is invaluable. There are details of guided tours and reception centres and, if you're a bit of a novice, there is a short introduction to what beer's all about. And you might just discover that particular brew with a "spicy orange hoppiness". --Nick Tarayan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Breweries are listed on a regional basis and all the details you might need are given. Apart from the obvious, like addresses and telephone numbers, there is information on things such as whether they do brewery tours. Alongside this, there are details of the beers they produce. And what details! We are given ABV details, lists of ingredients and wonderful tasting notes. All this wrapped up in a handy pocket sized bundle.
Now why would you want such a book? Well it's a treat for anyone who loves beer and wants to know more about it. It would also be a great beginning point for anyone who has not yet been converted to the joys of the world's greatest drink. I'd also recommend it as a present, as it is reasonably priced and fits snugly in your pocket.
Roger Protz is an accomplished beer writer who contributes regularly to the Guardian and the Observer. He is an expert in his field and his knowledge is on display here. Very impressive.
However, realising that there was quite a few ales missing from the guide, I had a look inside the front cover to check the date of publication. The last reprint of this book by NWP was in 1999, making the book 13 years old. Although the basic guide to what the hops, malts and barley does to the taste of ales is still useful, the rest of the guide is vastly out of date.
A number of brewers, that have started up since the books initial publication, do not appear in the book, leaving large gaps in the guide for ale drinkers.
There are other guides which are more up-to-date than this guide, which you would be better off buying.
This guide has gone flat.
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