On the bookshelf

I'm working my way through a stack of beer-related books that were either Christmas presents or library loans.

Santa brought me a hopback-full of goodies;

- The Brewmaster's Table, Garret Oliver
- Beer Is Proof God Loves Us. Charles Bamforth
- Amber, Gold & Black, Martyn Cornell
- Tasting Beer / Radical Brewing, Randy Mosher

And the library came up trumps with;

- Man Walks Into A Pub, Pete Brown
- Brewery Railways of Burton Upon Trent, Cliff Shepherd
- The Brewing Industry in England 1700-1830, Peter Mathius
- The British Brewing Industry 1830-1980, Gourvish and Wilson
- A Life On The Hop, Roger Protz
- The Brewer's Tale, Frank Priestley
- British breweries : an architectural history, Lynn Pearson
- Froth! : The Science of Beer, Mark Denny
- The beer lover's guide to cricket, Roger Protz
- Beer : tap into the art and science of brewing, Charles Bamforth

(in fact, the last one is so good I've just bought the updated version)

Two things have impressed me: in a world of wikis and blogs, nothing can replace a well-written, well-referenced, sturdy printed tome. And there are some truly useful and entertaining beer books out there.

Make that three things: I love libraries. I spent ten minutes browsing Amazon for 'beer books' and then another ten minutes searching my public library's online catalogue for a dozen-and-a-half titles. I found a dozen of them, reserved them for free and had them delivered to my village library.

In a world of here-today-gone-later-today Tweets, status updates and blogs, of over-edited wikis and rambling forum posts, of eye strain and backache, nothing beats the feeling of slumping in an easy chair and relishing a good book. Even moreso when it's one that you can no longer buy in the shops; when taxpayers before you and the enlightened collection policy of your local library today ensures that some gems survive, slightly worn with a creased sleeve but otherwise In Good Condition.

I know a fair few people who love beer but don't read books. T'internet ramblings, yes. Big papery things tied up with string, no.

Everybody should. It help you form a world view and, hopefully, makes you think. Thinking is so important, Baldrick.

And if 40% off in the Amazon sale isn't good enough for you, try your local library and see what they have on the shelf / in the collection / in a nuclear bunker store. You may be pleasantly surprised.