I bought this book for my boyfriend, who likes a pint but doesn't really know that much about the technicalities of beer, real ale and so on. He looked a bit dismissive, flipped through it and then started reading a caption (just to humour me, I think). Two hours later he was still reading and he has had his nose in and out of it ever since. It's a lovely-looking book and very easy to drop in and out of - as the text is broken down into bite-sized chunks and almost features, with lots of pictures. It's written in a very easy, conversational style and I was surprised to find how fascinating beer really is. I learned tons about how it is made, why there are so many different styles and even more amazed to find you can team beer with food just as well as you can with wine (or even better as the author says). I never used to drink beer - very much a 'nice big glass of wine' person really. But I have been experimenting as some of the descriptions really sounded gorgeous. I have become a fan of fruit beer and porters, and now my boyfriend and I try different beers whenever we get the chance (there are a lot in supermarkets now as well as good pubs). What started out as a bit of a joke present has made me a convert. Just hope I don't get the beer belly to match (though apparently that's not to do with the beer as the Chinese takeaway that tends to go hand in glove with a drinking session!). Beer is even good for you! Anyhow, this is really just to say that this is a great book, particularly if you are new to the beer connoisseur game. It you want to find out what's what and what all those different types of beer are, this is the book for you! It makes a great present for 'tough to buy for' men too.
I really enjoyed this book. The writer has done a remarkable job alluding to the historic background to brewing and describing the remarkable variety of brews. I particularly liked the sections on 'local hostelries' around the country, this gave a good insight to the great diversity of beers throughout each region.
I am sure the Mr. Jones would make a great drinking partner in any situation!