It's good to be back and I have some beers I want to tell you about. But first just a word about what I've been up to. Shortly after my last post here I hopped on an airplane for England where I spent the better part of the month of September wandering from pub to pub collecting life experience and developing a hearty thirst for Real Ale. I've written a few articles about some of these beery adventures in England elsewhere and even did a few "on the spot" recordings for my Slow Brew podcast. My Bible while hoofing my way across England was Pete Brown's Three Sheets to the Wind.
Three Sheets and Brown's earlier book Man Walks into a Pub have both been mentioned on this blog (thanks Alan). In fact it was through reading this blog that even knew about Pete Brown's beery literary efforts. I waited until I arrived in England to buy my copy of Three Sheets. I wanted to read Brown while I was in England (not sure why I thought this would be a more authentic experience, especially since Three Sheets is a globe trotting beer narrative). I picked up my copy of Three Sheets at Blackwell's in Oxford and shambled down the steps of The White Horse to find a comfortable spot to start reading.
This month marks my first anniversary as a hobbyist beer writer. I was reluctant to get into the beer writing game because I wasn't sure that I would be able to say anything original. After reading Michael Jackson, Stephen Beaumont, Fred Eckhardt, and a host of other beer writers, it seemed that they had the subject pretty much covered. I figured that I the best I could do would be to review the beers I liked and keep tabs on the Long Island beer scene. But in the last year I read Ken Wells's Travels with Barley (see my article "The Two Beer Cultures" and Alan's review here) and now Brown's books. I'm starting to realize that in the area of social and cultural observation, beer writing is a wide open field and there's plenty to comment on. What's more is that I'm finding the social and cultural aspects of beer and brewing to be more interesting than the chemistry and physical properties analysis of beer as a fluid object.
I have no idea what the market is for social and cultural beer commentary/narrative, but what I'm discovering in my beer travels is that we lovers of beer are some intelligent and thoughtful folks. More than a handful of us like to sip a pint of bitter with a good book. I suppose that I could read and reread Three Sheets and Travels, but my guess is that we've only seen the beginning of this kind of beer literature.