This book is a bit of a strange one when you first set eyes on it. It’s a hardback, but the content inside is spiral-bound which I feel makes it appear a little cheap. Thankfully, the information printed on the pages is pure gold.
The book’s author – Ron Patterson, is the blogger behind Shut Up About Barclay Perkins and is now regarded as a bit of a beer historian. The premise for this book was to unearth beer recipes from the bygone years by trawling through the dusty archives of numerous long-standing British breweries, giving us a glimpse of how some of the beer styles that we love and enjoy today have evolved over the last few hundred years. It was interesting to read how the ABV of certain styles changed as methods, ingredients, laws and even the drinker’s tastes changed over the years.
The book covers the brewing methods and equipment used way back when and includes over 100 hundred recipes. Thankfully these recipes, whilst keeping as true to the original as possible, have been translated into modern brewing methods…I mean who has a slate Yorkshire square fermentation vessel in their garage nowadays?
There’s two recipes to a page with the bare bones of information you’d need to pull off the brew, which an experienced homebrewer should have no trouble executing. The book has even garnered a bit of attention from well known brewers such as De Molen and Pretty Things, who have expressed interest in brewing some of the ye olde beers that adorn it’s pages, and even Kernel’s excellent Imperial Brown Stout London 1856 is based on a recipe in this very book. Even if you don’t attempt any of the recipes, the book is a seriously interesting read.