Belgium Blogging and writing Germany The Session

Session #95: Beer Books Yet to Be Written

Once a month, under the leadership of Jay Brooks and Stan Hieronymus, beer bloggers worldwide write posts on the same topic chosen by one of their peers. This month, Alan ‘A Good Beer Blog’ McLeod is hosting and has asked us to consider: ‘What beer book which has yet to be written would you like to see published?’

We want books about beer to take us to places we haven’t been, and times out of reach.

We want them to introduce us to interesting and influential people and get beneath the surface while they’re at it.

We want them to explain how things came to be; to tell us things we don’t already know; and/or give us a trusted place to go when questions arise.

There are a couple of books that we’re hoping to write, so we won’t tell you about those, but here’s one we want to read that, as far as we know, doesn’t exist. (If we’re wrong, please let us know.)

Europe Legless, an imaginary book.

We don’t know what exactly Europe Legless: beer on the Continent 1945-2015 would cover — that’s why we need someone to write it — but, for example, we’d like to know what happened to the German beer industry when the country was partitioned in 1945. We’d like to know more about the great German, Dutch, Belgian and Scandinavian brewing dynasties — those aristocratic types you see wearing Alpine jackets or sashes and medals in portraits. How did the brewers of Cologne go about reinventing Kölsch and shoring it up as a protected local beer style in the 1960s? And why weren’t other speciality beer styles so lucky? What’s going on with ‘craft beer’ now, and is it a threat or an opportunity?

We’re not after tasting notes but words and a narrative, with reference to carefully sourced evidence. We can find bits and pieces of this information all over the web on various blogs and Wikipedia, but we need it tied together, in a single volume, that we can read on the bus.

Maybe there’s too much for just one book — Germany probably deserves a book of its own — or perhaps it’s just rude to lump these great brewing nations together as if they were a homogeneous blob. Perhaps the time frame is wrong — it could just as well start in the 1830s with the emergence of lager beer as we know it. But working out the boundaries and shape of the story is a job for the author or editor — we just want to read the thing.

Who should write it? Someone who speaks a couple of languages and knows their way around an archive; who is rigorous and intelligent, without being dry. (We value academic writing but often struggle to read it in large doses.) Evan Rail springs to mind, or maybe Tim Webb. Certainly Ron Pattinson ought to be on the team somewhere. And we’d feel it was in safe hands if Joe Stange was given the job.

We’re excited about this now — when we can we order a copy?

Thinking up titles is hard work so the one we’ve suggested, just to be clear, isn’t an entirely serious suggestion. The 3D book cover template came from here.

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