Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Emerson’s Bookbinder

1) Most of the time you see a movie where a character orders a beer in a bar they ask for – and get – a beer that doesn’t really exist. That’s because movies like to use fake beer brands. I’ve never really understood why that’s the case, though I’ve assumed it has something to do with getting approval to use the brand onscreen. I presume that would mean a bit of paperwork and lots of lawyers. so it would be heaps easier to get someone in the props department to mock up a few beer bottles with a fake label. Then the character can also order the imaginary beer by name.

2) Well, that’s kind of how I felt about Emerson’s Bookbinder. I’d heard the name plenty of times, but had never once seen a bottle of the stuff. Inevitably it got to the stage where it just felt like the beer didn’t really exist. The source of the repeated name-checking was the Beer Diary podcast, with Phil Cook and George Langlands. They don’t make many new episodes these days – which I assume is a combination of life taking over and also the novelty wearing off (it can be hard to keep doing something like a podcast for nothing but the love of it).

3) If I remember correctly, Emerson’s Bookbinder was a gateway beer for George. Or maybe it was a favourite of Phil’s. Or maybe it was both. Whatever it was, it was reason enough for them to mention the beer at least every second episode. And so I would regularly hear this name but never saw the beer (though it now strikes me that I could have just Googled the name to see what it looked like – don’t know why I didn’t do that). That resulted in the beer achieving mythic status – I don’t mean mythic in terms of “awesome” but the real meaning ie “not real”.

4) But then I was trawling through the MoCu site – before it closed down obviously – and there was Bookbinder for sale. It was real. And it came in a mixed pack with five other Emerson’s beer, which includes the also-excellent 1812 hoppy pale ale and the Birddog IPA. So obviously I had to buy one. Just to taste it.

5) And it turns out Phil and George were right. It’s a bloody marvellous beer. A beautifully-made biscuity English ale, it comes in at 3.7 per cent. Which is unbelievable because there is not the slightest smidge of thinness in the palate that tends to come with lower alcohol beers. I just wish it was easy to get here.

Free or paid for: I bought this as part of a mixed sixer of Emerson’s beer from MoCu a while ago. I actually screwed up and ordered two mixed sixers, rather than one. Which was the best mistake I’ve made in quite a while.


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