Book Reviews

Book Review: Camra’s Good Bottled Beer Guide


Jeff Evans is an internationally known journalist and beer writer, and has been editing CAMRA”s books for many years.

CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) was founded in 1971 to promote authentic craft brewery ales.
The art and science of true ale brewing had started to deteriorate as huge beer conglomerates changed formulas, and attempted to promote their brews by advertising, while lowering quality.
CAMRA has been successful in achieving its objectives, and now boasts 164 000 members worldwide.
Since the founding of CAMRA, hundreds of craft breweries cam on stream in the Untied Kingdom, and the numbers are growing daily.

English pubs are unique establishments, and connect people in communities with their informal and friendly environments. Their beers are generally on tap, and in more traditional pubs, hand pulled. Yet, of late, bottled draught beers have made their appearance in British pubs. All are bottle conditioned.
The author claims to have tasted 1700 beers for this guide hundreds more than the previous editions

The book is divided into 13 distinct category sections:
Each section starts with a brief description of the style, alcohol content (ABV), recommended service temperature, and the most appropriate for the beers, followed by recommended brands.
The sections are:

Mild and brown ales (3 %– 3.5% ABV. Service temperature 12 C
Best with lamb stews, pates, BBQs, mushrooms, pizzas and chocolate puddings.
19 brands recommended.

Bitters (2/5% – 4.1% ABV). Service temperature 12 C.
Best with battered and deep-fried fish, cold cuts, sausages, pies and cheeses.
37 brands recommended.
Best bitters (4.2 %– 5 %ABV). Service temperature 12 C
Best with battered and deep-fried fish, roasted meats, sausages, pies, casseroles, BBQs, and cheeses.
63 brands recommended.

Golden ales (3% – 5% ABV). Service temperature 12 C
Best with all kinds of seafood, cold cuts, chicken, and salads
18 brands recommended.

Strong ales (5.1% ABV and upwards). Service temperature 12 C
Bets with game stews, meat roasts, casseroles, curries and other spicy foods, strong cheeses.
IPA (India Pale Ale) (4.8% ABV and upwards) Service temperature
12 C
Best with curries and other spicy foods grilled and roasted meats, and mature cheeses.
41 brands recommended.

Old Ales (4.5% ABV AND UPWARDS). SERVICE TEMPERATURE 12 C
BEST WITH MATURE CHEESES, FRUIT CAKES.
22 BRANDS RECOMMENDED
BARLEY WINES (7% ABV). Service temperature 12 C.
Best with mature cheeses, fruitcakes, Christmas pudding
16 brands recommended.

Stouts and Porters (3 % ABV, Imperial stouts start at around 7 % ABV). Service temperature 12 C
Best with shellfish BBQs, hams, mature cheeses, chocolate puddings
81 brands recommended

Winter and Christmas Beers (4 % ABV and upwards). Service temperature 12 C
Best with roasted meats, casseroles, fruit cakes, and puddings.
21 brands recommended.

Pale and dark lagers (3% ABV and upwards) Service temperature
8 C
Best with all kinds of seafood, chicken, white meats, sausages, spicy foods
Amber lagers – pizzas, cheese dishes.
Dark lagers – roasts, BBAs, mushrooms, and chocolate puddings.
12 brands recommended

Wheat beers (4% ABV and upwards). Service temperature 8 – 12 C.
Best with salads, seafood, chicken, white meats, sausages, spicy foods, goat’s cheese.
21 Brands recommended.

Specialty beers (5.5% ABV and upwards). Service temperatures varies
Best depends on style of beer.
88 brands recommended.
]
Beer aficionados in North America may have difficulty obtaining the recommended beers. New York City may be the most likely place to offer at least some of the recommended brands.
Beer enthusiasts who visit the United Kingdom frequently or those planning to are best advised to buy this book and find out which pubs in major cities carry some of the brands.
This is very detailed book based on personal research, and is highly recommended for beer enthusiasts, brewers, and home brewers.

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