Monday 8 November 2021


I've not been quite as prolific in producing new books in the last couple of years. Gone are the times when I might bash out three or four in 12 months. I blame myself.

"Blitzkrieg!" has taken a few years to finish off. The original plan was to release it in May 2020 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Too much and too little information has been my problem. The section on beer styles is way bigger than in previous books in my BAML series. Over 500 recipes, too. While I struggled to find enough on one really important aspect of the book: brewing restrictions.

That's all sorted know. I have a pretty much complete manuscript. No, I have a more than complete manuscript. I've just got sidetracked into adding more about wartime brewing in Holland. Stuff which I hadn't intended including. I just got my hands on so much new data from the Amsterdam archives that I couldn't resist including it.

Then there's the cover problem. Or rather covers. Weighing in at almost 1,000 pages, it's much longer than the Lulu maximum of 740 pages. I'll split it into two volumes: one with the history stuff, the other with the recipes. Alexei is difficult enough to motivate to produce one let alone two covers. Some pathetic excuse about needing to study.

You may have noticed that I'm already working on the next volume of BAML - "Free!", covering 1880 to 1914. Over 20,000 words are already in the bag. Mostly in the form of recipes. Though I've filled in a few bits of the general text, too. 

I've had a few requests to put out another book like "1909 Beer Style Guide". A 1959 version seemed quite popular. A few weeks back I even laid down its keel. Ironically, that's put me off completing it. I realised that to a large degree it was going to duplicate "Austerity!". Which would make it easy for me to bash, but made it seem somewhat redundant.

Not that it stopped me knocking out more style definitions which it would include. Then I had another idea. Rather than going for a UK-wide style guide for a specific period, why not do one just for London, but for several time periods.

"London Beer Style Guide 1805 - 1973" - would anyone be interested in that? Like the 1909 guide, it would consist of style definitions and example recipes.

I'd like to know if there's any interest before I commit my valuable time. (Valuable because I've nio idea how many more years I have left in me.)


Unknown said...

May be it's bvecause I'm a Londoner. but I love the idea of the London beer books …

Kevin said...

As I was reading this post I was thinking "why just a single time frame" for a beer style book and then two sentences later that's what you propose. Yes! Do that.

chuck said...

we all need more history

Anonymous said...

Yes please, a real slice through history

Mike in NSW said...

Flame suit on right now.

In the early 1970s when I was in my early 20s a lot of traditional cask was being deliberately watered down and replaced by keg.

While there were obvious horrors like Harp, some of that keg wasn't actually all that bad and some of it like Courage Tavern or even (shock horror) Double Diamond was refreshing, surprisingly flavourful and I believe fairly highish ABV for the era compared to the 3.5% slop that the majors were trying to consign to history.

Lamot strong lager brewed BUL by Bass was an eye opener and even the original Stella for the Fellas was a nice drink back then.

Yes I was an early CAMRA member.

An exploration of beers into the 70s including keg and tank would be fascinating, if brewery records exist for the era.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mike in NSW,

a lot of that is covered in "Austerity!". It has recipes for things like Watney's Red Barrel and Drybrough Keg Light and Keg Heavy.

Mike in NSW said...

Wow didn't know.

I'll order it!!!!!

Raoul Duke said...

I love the idea of a 'london style guide"...great idea..!!
Also looking forward to 'Blitzkrieg!'...Buy Alexei a pint to speed things up..!! ;-)

Cheers Peter

Yann said...

I'd be interested too!