It’s likely that some people are shaking their head violently while reading this and, depending on the season, drinking exactly what the temperature dictates. This book is dedicated to these wonderful people, but also aimed at those who have not discovered the joy of seasonal drinking. Because making a connection between the world around us and the beer we drink is a powerful revelation. Seasonally drinking might not be a thing, but wouldn’t it be brilliant if it was?Publication date: 27 September 2021 ISBN: 9781852493721 RRP: £15.99 Format: Paperback Dimensions: 170 x 230 mm (P) Extent: 256 pp Illustrations: Fully illustrated in colour throughout Subjects: Cider; Beer; Travel – Uk BIC Classifications: Beer (WBXD2); British Isles – London (1DBKESL)
A Year in Beer, a beer lovers guide to the seasons
For many, the end of summer is something to be lamented. The days get colder, the evenings shorter, our clothes heavier. But for me, the start of autumn is a magical time. The fresh snap of the morning, the golden sun lounging lower in the sky, the warmth of winter coats we haven’t worn for months.
For beer geeks there is no better time of year. Not only is there the chance of my first fireside ale, there’s also the greatest beer festival of all – Oktoberfest – and the glut of caramel-tinged Festbiers that comes with it. I’m yet to find a British version of Oktoberfest that reaches the euphoric highs of the beer, food and family festival held in Munich each year, but for now having the official imported beers and the increasingly excellent British varieties transports me.
More beer is drunk in the month of December than the rest of the year combined. That’s not an official statistic, that’s just how it is in my house. I’m sure we’re not alone either, as people all over the world use the phrase ‘it’s Christmas’ to justify that extra spoonful, that cheeky upgrade, or that one for the road.
The greatest gift of Christmas is the freedom it brings. Most of our lives are spent abiding by rules both real and imagined, but at Christmas we throw them all out. It means going to the pub at four on a Friday, eating chocolate at breakfast, staying up late to watch bad movies. In fact, we only really consider the careless bliss of December in January, when we’re counting the cost of it on our wallets and waistlines.
March is the official start of spring, and an important month in the history of beer. As the world around us wakes from hibernation we’re surrounded by the colourful sights and sounds of new life, including delicious early season vegetables and, of course, lamb – though that life is often cut rather short in the name of the Sunday Roast. This traditional meal has become synonymous with the British pub and historic beer styles like Porter, which sees a spike in sales along with Stout thanks to St Patrick’s Day.
The British summer is roughly ten days long, broken up by much longer periods of humid, breezy and pretty drizzly weeks. So when the sun does come out, we’re famous worldwide for making the most of it. That usually translates into red faces, t-shirt suntans, mile-long lines at the ice cream van, and pint after pint of Lager.
These beers were first brewed in the hotter climes of central Europe, where Lager yeasts were the dominant natural fermenting microbe. There’s been lots of academic research into why such yeasts, which prefer to ferment cold, should be so ascendant in a region with fiercely hot summers.
A Year in Beer – a beer lover’s guide to the seasons
“Going well beyond Pilsner when it’s hot and Stout when it’s cold, A Year in Beer is a bold and exciting new look at beer, encouraging drinkers to reconnect our favourite beverage with the world around us.Taking us through the hop and malt harvests of late summer, the joyful fireside drinks and slow cooking of Autumn, the glut of Christmas beers and a cheese boards of winter, and the wild and fresh burst of new life and brewing in spring, A Year in Beer explains why drinking seasonally might just teach us more about what we drink and why.The book is peppered with delicious food recipes, explorations of the UK’s modern brewing scene and deep dives into the histories and unlikely origins of our favourite styles – all bringing it back to the context in which we enjoy them – not just the season, not just the weather, but the people and the places that make them unique.Written by 2019 Beer Writer of the Year Jonny Garrett this book will change how we look at brewing and drinking beer, and increase our enjoyment of both.”