A Virtual Beer Library

The Brewer: a familiar treatise on the art of brewing
The Brewer.

‘It is commonly supposed that Pale Ale and Bitter Beer of the finest quality cannot be brewed elsewhere than at Burton-on-Trent; but it will here be shown that with proper management, a minute attention to details, and the use of carefully-selected materials in the right proportions, it is within the power of any brewer, in whatever place his business may be carried on, to manufacture either of these popular malt-liquors of as good a quality in every respect as the renowned produce of Burton.’

Google Books

Noted Breweries of Great Britain & Ireland
COVER: Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland by Alfred Barnard.Alfred Barnard

All four volumes are available as PDFs from Ask About Ireland; volumes I and II only are also available via The Hathi Trust; and Google Books has Volume I with a handy hyper-linked contents page.

Volume I: Guinness, Bass, Allsopp, Truman, Barclay Perkins, Combe, Charrington, Watney, Mann Crossman & Paulin, Worthington, Meakin Bros.

Volume II: William Younger, Courage, Ind Coope, Reid, Peter Walker, A.B. Walker, Salt, Butler, Meux, Aitken, Whitbread, Eadie, Stansfield, Anglo-Bavarian, City of London Brewery, Rogers, Garton, Beamish & Crawford, Watkins, D’Arcy, Findlater, Jameson, Bindley, Marston, George Younger, Sharp and Baird.

Volume III: John Smith, Hoare & Co, Phoenix Porter Brewery, Joule’s, Bernard, Eldridge Pope, Ballingall, Barras, Groves & Whitnall, Tetley, Bentley, Metcalfe, Berry, Tennant Bros, Rawson, Marrian, Truswell, Hole, Warwick, Nottingham Brewery, Hanson, Alton, Savill Bros, Hanley, Brain, Cardiff Maltings, Buckley Bros, Watkins, Soames, Murphy and Plunkett Bros.

Volume IV: Simonds, Benskin, Bentley & Shaw, Fox & Sons, Hardy, City Brewery Co, Trent Valley, Robins, Dudney, Pike Spicer, Leney, Chapman, Halliwell, Magee & Marshall, Crook, Scott, A.H. Smith, Whitmarsh, J.L. Walker, Richards & Hearn, Wackrill, Pont-y-Capel, Nailsworth, Ford, Lane, Arnott, Hall & Woodhouse, East & Son, Fowler, Jeffrey, Edinburgh & Leith, Calder, Steel Coulson, Plews, Hepworth, Lees, Armstrong, Hudson, Segar Halsall, Flower, Thompson, Shipstone’s and Soames.

The Art of Brewing
David Booth

Contains contemporary descriptions of, e.g., Scotch Ale along with recipes, as well as commentary on, e.g., hops and the qualities of different varieties.

Google Books | Archive.org

Burton and Its Bitter Beer
John Stevenson Bushnan

A defence of Allsop in the face of accusations that they used strychnine to bitter their pale ales rather than, or as well as, hops, and an attempted history of brewing in Burton.

Archive.org | Google Books

The Art of Brewing India Pale Ale and Export Ale, Stock & Mild Ales, Porter & Stout
James Herbert

‘I am induced to write this small work on Brewing, through having a long and varied experience, both in London an different parts of England; and having practised the various systems, I have formed my own conclusion as to the best method of brewing practically to produce a good sounds article, combined with good keeping qualities.’

Google Books (1872 edn.)

Brewers’ Guardian

An increasing number of volumes of this journal are available in full online:

1871 (Hathi Trust | Google Books)

1873 (Hathi Trust | Google Books, with hyper-linked index).

1889 (Google Books)

1893 (Google Books)

Burton-on-Trent: Its History, Its Waters, and Its Breweries
William Molyneux

The section on breweries begins at p.213.

Bodleian (PDF) | Google Books

Essays and Reviews
George Orwell

George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950) wrote about pubs and beer on many occasions and two important pieces are available via the Orwell Prize website:

Hop Leaf Gazette cover, 1959.Hop Leaf Gazette
Simonds’ Brewery

Scanned and shared by Raymond Simonds, grandson of the last family chairman of H&G Simonds of Reading, these in-house magazines are a fantastic resource covering pubs, brewery technology and social goings on among the staff.

The complete archive is here.

N.B. Mr Simonds is seeking missing editions — get in touch with him if you can help.

How to Brew
John Palmer
1999 (1st edition)

Later editions of this book can be bought but the author has made this early version available in its entirety online.

How to Brew Good Beer
John Pitt

‘It is well known that there are comparatively few families in the habit of brewing their own beer, who have not often experience (and especially in summer) the disappointment and pecuniary loss consequent on their beer becoming cloudy, hard, or sour.’

The author was a household butler and brewer and the book contains many recipes adaptable by modern home brewers.

Google Books

Whitbread official history.Official History of Whitbread
Nicholas Barritt Redman

Written by the great brewing company’s official archivist and historian on the eve of its withdrawal from brewing after 250 years this type-written manuscript is not without errors but offers a comprehensive overview in readable style. It is available as a PDF from the University of Glasgow’s online collection of documents pertaining to business and industry.

The Theory and Practice of Brewing
Cover: Tizard.William Tizard

First published in 1843 this comprehensive practical guidebook offers a window into mid-19th century brewing practice, though it requires critical reading. Ron Pattinson says it is ‘full of both useful information and amusement’.

Hathi Trust (1845 edn.) | Google Books (1850) | Archive.org (1846)

On Beer: A Statistical Sketch
On Beer -- M. Vogel.Max Vogel

More interesting than it sounds, this short book by a Nuremberger includes notes on the beer styles of various German-speaking kingdoms, Britain, Norway, Sweden and Russia, as well as facts and figures on consumption and manufacturing.

Google Books | Archive.org

Journal of the Institute of Brewing

The archive hosted by Wiley isn’t especially easy to navigate, and the search function can be frustrating, but 125 years’-worth of technical writing on brewing is a real treasure trove.

London Drinker issue 1 from 1979.CAMRA Branch Newsletters

Newsletters published by branches of the Campaign for Real Ale throughout the real ale revolution of the 1970s, the microbrewery boom and bust of the 1980s, the rise of ‘craft’ in the 00s, and at every step in-between. (We’ve highlighted here only archives with pre-1980 issues available; there are many other branches with archives online.)


Licensed Victuallers directory 1874 (cover)London & Suburban Licensed Victuallers Directory

A complete listing of publicans and pubs in London and, as a bonus, of every brewer, maltster and distiller in Britain and Ireland.

Google Books

This list is not intended to be comprehensive but we do intend to keep adding to it. If there’s a book, magazine or newsletter collection that is freely available and that you think ought to be included, let us know by emailing contact@boakandbailey.com