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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

What's new?

What's new?
Pledges for my new beer book - Miracle Brew - are now closed. Book is out 1st June and available for pre-order here.
I've been accused of attacking cask ale. Here's what I actually wrote - decide for yourselves.
News about my next books!
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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Book events this summer - and Stoke Newington LitFest this weekend!!

I'm doing lots of events this summer - starting closer to home, then going further away. Some of them must be near you, surely...



For the eighth year, my wife Liz has organised the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, which happens this weekend, 2nd to 4th June. This year there's a great line-up focusing on politics (there's a lot of it about at the moment), comedy, music and food and drink, with lots more stuff about every subject you can think of, including a children's programme featuring a Harry Potter birthday party and the chance to meet the actual Cat in the Hat, so there's where I'll be.

At least, that's where I'll be when I'm not doing my own events.

On Saturday afternoon at 4pm I'm chatting pubs with Kit Caless, author of the superb Spoon's Carpets, which is far more than the novelty gift book it might initially appear to be. It's a really great take on this love-em-or-hate-em institution.















We'll be chatting all things pubs, including the Wetherspoons Paradox, and signing our books afterwards.Then at 6pm I'll be kicking off an evening of beery fun at my It's The Drink Talking Litfest event. 

This is a loosely formatted beery chat show sometimes, and changes depending on what's happening and who's around. This year, the show is in two parts. In the first half, I'll be talking to Henry Jeffries about his book Empire of Booze, which is about how Britain invented all the best alcoholic drinks, including the French ones. 




Then, after the interval, I'll be presenting my new book, Miracle Brew, which is published on 1st June. I'll be talking hops, barley, yeast and water, with samples of beer and ingredients to savour. 

I'm writing this on my way to make my Hay Festival debut with Miracle Brew tonight. If you're in town, I'm also doing a signing at the fantastic Beer Revolution shop at 4pm. 

Then I'm doing events around the UK, in Holland, South Africa, with some to be announced in the United States! Please do come along. All confirmed events so far detailed below.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

'Miracle Brew' is coming - at last!

My first book about beer since 2009 hits UK shelves next week - and North America later this year.


It's been a long wait - nearly two and a half years - for those who pledged when I first announced that I was publishing my new beer book through crowd-funding publisher Unbound. 

Ironically, from announcing the book and opening pledges to the date of publication, its taken about a year less than any of my first three beers books took to research and write. Books like these take you down a long and lonely road. 

There was a degree of consternation over the decision to crowdfund a book. Did it mean I couldn't get published in a traditional way? (No.) What do investors get? (A book, for the price of a book, with your name listed in the back.) Was it vanity publishing? (No - in many ways, it's the opposite.) But quite quickly, enough people pledged - around 530 - so that Unbound could give it the green light. 

Those who did pledge should be receiving their copies this week. (If that's you, please tweet or post when you get it!) The book is also available to pre-order on Amazon,  and because Unbound have a distribution deal with Penguin Random House, it'll be in bookshops just like any other book from Thursday 1st June.

I did have a few readers in North America complain about the shipping cost when they tried to pledge for the book - for some, it was more than the book itself. The good news there is that Chelsea Green, a publisher that has produced some of my favourite food and drink books, has just bought the North American rights to Miracle Brew and they'll be publishing a slightly tweaked* edition in the autumn - sorry, fall - probably early October, and it looks like I'll be doing an American publicity tour to support it! Maybe see you at the Great American Beer Festival.

I'm enormously proud of this book. In terms of tone and content, it picks up on elements of Man Walks into a Pub, Three Sheets to the Wind and Hops & Glory, but also reflects the fact that I'm a decade older than when I wrote those books. The first was a history book about beer, the second a travel book about beer, and the third combined the two with a bit extra. Judged by the same standard, this is a science and nature book about beer, with a lot of travel and history, and plenty of extra, all thrown in. At 400 pages long it's a chunky bastard - just like its author these days...

I daresay I'll be writing more here about it soon. 

* Because references to a cheeky Nando's with the Archbishop of Banterbury still aren't travelling that well. 

Miracle Brew is published in the UK by Unbound on 1st June, hardback, RRP £16.99