Session #95: An Unwritten Beer Book

sessionOn the first Friday of each month, bloggers all write a post on a subject picked by that month’s host. This is what The Session is.

The host of the first Session for 2015 is Alan at A Good Beer Blog. He’s chosen beer books as his topic; more specifically, what book which has yet to be written would you like to see published?

What is the book you would want to write about good beer? What book would you want to read? Is there a dream team of authors your would want to see gathered to make that “World Encyclopaedia of Beer and Brewing”? Or is there one person you would like to see on a life long generous pension to assure that the volumes flow from his or her pen?

As a book geek and a full-time journalist for donkey’s years, I’ve tried my hand at writing a book. In fact, I’ve finished three of them – and collected some rejection slips for two of them (I didn’t submit the third because that was a NaNoWriMo exercise I did for shits and giggles).

I’ve had some more success with writing and performing stand-up (did it once, got some laughs, figured I should stop while things were good) and penning two short plays that got performed at a local theatre. One was set in a retirement hope for superheroes, the other was about a guy living next door to Satan.
I’m too damned busy (or lazy, take your pick) to write anything like a book these days. But it doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas about them. I have heaps of ideas – and these days they’re all about beer.

One idea is pretty simple. I’d like to see an Australian version of Pete Brown’s Man Walks Into A Pub. While I’m a book geek I tend not to re-read books – too many new ones to read. But I’ve made an exception for this book. In fact I’ve read it three times.

I like it so much because it’s a lively, fun and entertaining history of beer. And not just the bare facts of brewing; Brown manages to tease out loads of unusual facts that make the book hugely interesting. While it does start out with an international focus, it pretty quickly zeroes in on the UK. Which is fair enough, that’s where Brown is based.

|But I’d like to read something like this with an Australian focus. There have been books about Australia’s beer history but they’ve either been encyclopaedic in nature (with listings for each brewery) or dry and business-focused (‘‘JA Smith began working with the company in 1954. He brought a new approach to ….. and I’m asleep’’).

I could write it myself but, as mentioned earlier, I’m too busy (read: lazy).

Another idea is to a travel narrative visiting loads of breweries around Australia. I’d like to do this one. Okay, I’d like to do the ‘‘research’’ for this one. I doubt I’d be able to write it well enough to make things interesting. That’s the thing with a pub crawl – they’re more fun for the people doing it than the people hearing about it.

A third idea? Okay, I’ll give you one more. You pick a load of different beers from Australia and devote short chapters to writing the history of each one. It would be more than a straight history of how the beer came to beer but also the era it came from, such as a beer that was drunk during the Six O’Clock Swill could talk about the social ramifications of that stupid law, a low-alcohol beer could be used to detail the origins of random breath-testing and the focus on drink-driving.

So the book could end up as a a bit of a social history about Australia as well as the story about our beers.

Okay, that’s me done. I could write more but I’m really busy (yes, I actually mean lazy).

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