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Man Walks into a Pub: A Sociable History of Beer
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Man Walks into a Pub: A Sociable History of Beer

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  222 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In Man Walks into a Pub, Pete Brown takes us on a journey through the amazing history of beer, from the first sacred sip of ancient Egyptian bouza to the last pint of lager on a Friday night. It’s an extraordinary tale of yeast-obsessed monks and teetotaling prime ministers; of exploding breweries, a bear in a yellow nylon jacket, and a Canadian who changed the drinking ha ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Pan Macmillan (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Tom Webster
I have read quite a few books on beer in the past and have found that typically they all have one thing in common: they are either monumentally dull or a total farce.

Weighty volumes that document the complete history of a particular brewery right down to what tiny changes were made to a particular recipe and when are all very well and good. No doubt they are of great interest to men with big bushy beards who wear cable knit jumpers and who carry note books around with them but they are a bit too
May 23, 2008 Chadwick rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: HRMA students, nightclub entrepreneurs
Shelves: food, drinking
Enh. Brown spends way too much time denying any pretensions to expertise or intellectualism, writes a well-researched, coherent history of beer drinking amongst the English, and generally manages to be interesting or amusing about half of the time. It only actually gets really worthwhile when he starts discussing marketing and advertising, where his background in those fields makes him a little more compelling. The chapter on chain theme pubs is actually thought-provoking if you actually care ab ...more
I read Pete Brown's second book first and it was a lot more fun than this one. The second book details his travels around the beer-drinking world - my kinda trip! This book is the history of beer and the pub - yawn. There were some interesting factoids - the Heineken special yeast was "kidnapped" and held hostage at one point - but mostly it was pretty boring stuff. Still, it made me want to pack up and head to England for more pub experiences. Mmmm, beer.
Kristi Thielen
Fun book, wittily written by a British adman with an extensive background in the beer industry. The breezy copy is punctuated with delightfully loopy footnotes which I found myself looking forward to.

Despite the humorous take on the subject, the author still provides a great deal of information about the ancient history of beer, the history of beer in Great Britain and the evolution of the pub. The latter - an institution in the UK - has undergone a number of renovations over the decades, someti
I first saw this book, fittingly, in a pub some years ago (Montreal's Burgundy Lion). Flipping through it interested me enough that I made a mental note to look for a copy. When I recently found a revised and updated second edition, that was all the incentive I needed to read it.

Man Walks into a Pub is a history of beer and pub culture in Britain (although it doesn't mention it in the title, the perspective is very UK-centric). It contains enough detail to show that it was well-researched, yet t
Tom Webster
Whilst the jokey, blokey tone can wear a tad thin on occasion,some of the jokes sound a bit too much like my Grandad made them. The engaging nature of Brown's writing works as a fine counterpoint to the near academic approach applied to the subject at hand by some of his contemporaries.

I am sure there is undoubtedly a large number of heavily bearded men in cardigans who need to know the precise output of Bass Charrington for Jan-March 1989, I am not one of them.

Neither are most of the people I k
Jakey Gee
A curate's egg and probably better if you do enjoy a chatty companion. His preface to the 2010 edition says how he's reined in the worst of the dad-joke footnotes, but I still found myself rolling my eyes at plenty of them (things like 'Don't ask me what that even means. Really' and 'As you do'). But they're well meant. I also got a bit wound up by the jingoism of some of the tone, which can feel a bit Clarksonian (lines like 'that's the French for you' and 'we're British, after all') - which, i ...more
Carla Coulston
This book was given to my husband for Christmas and I only picked it up because of a dire lack of anything to read at the time. Being a dyed-in-the-wool wine drinker, I have no interest whatsoever in beer, or the history of it; but it was a book, and it was the only option available at the time.
Well! I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. 90% of this book's charm is due to the author's funny and engaging style of writing, and I kept reading mostly for that; but as I found, the history of be
Daniel Etherington
Despite Brown writing the book in a jokey, blokey style, it's actually almost academic in its scope and thesis. So the thing that frustrates me most about this edition is the lack of index. There are so many fascinating pieces of information that it'd be good to be able to look them up. Similarly, although he packs the book with footnotes, these are generally funny asides. That's all well and good, and some of them made me laugh out loud, but I'd kinda like to have proper references for his sour ...more
Very casual tone belies a rather complex examination of the interaction of social mores, government regulation, desire, prudishness, and unintended consequences.
I love, love, love when someone writes a book that involves PhD-levels of research but presents it in an engaging way that's sort of an irreverently academic self-deprecating memoir. I especially love it when the thesis is as grandiose as: "Beer is the root cause behind the emergence of civilization." Bill Bryson-y, I guess, is the best way to describe this book. But later Bryson. After Into the Woods.
Rachel Knickmeyer
A fun read for anyone with a passion for beer and the places where we drink beer. I'd love to read a similar writeup of American drinking habits, but this peak into the English love affair with beer was entertaining even for this outsider.
Not knowing quite what to expect, I found the book to be a great read, very funny and full of quotable trivia. Although beer and beer culture are the focus, the author does a great job of using the topic to shine a light on cultural shifts and tensions. The book begins in the deep past, and is quite funny, becoming more serious as the account becomes more contemporary, reflecting, I believe, the authors passion for the subject. All in all, a worthwhile and recommended read.
John Welch
Quite an interesting book. It is a social history of beer and pubs in the UK. It's not an acedemic book, but a light hearted introduction to the complex relationship us Brits have had with beer and pubs.
Quite enjoyed this book. His jokes do wear a bit thin, but all round an interesting read
Rob Godfrey
The title says it all.
This is a very sociable book that explores the history of ale/beer and how we continue to consume it with relish, despite its all to evident unpleasant side effects.
Reading the introduction and the very long list of words we use for getting or being drunk brought tears of laughter to my eyes.
A thoroughly enjoyable book, although sometimes the 'laddish' commentary was sometimes a bit overused.
An enthralling, engaging and thoroughly researched journey around British beer and drinking habits. Pete Brown has a very down to earth style which he effectively employs to reveal a multitude of fascinating facts and dispel many myths over 5000 years of brewing and ale-supping. A must read for anyone interested in the history of beer!
Brett Parker
Over all a good book, I've actually got the Kindle edition which doesn't seem to be listed in the options - the only annoying thing is that 3rd level footnotes don't link to the right place - but there's only a few of those, and weirdly the 4th level works again (there's only one of those!). Fun read :)
Liv Walker
Enjoyable book with a host of quirky facts and stories about the National Obsession. I read the original version - would be interested to read his update - the resurgence of cider and microbreweries
humourous and funny look at the history of beer and also looking at the social and politics of the modern day world of the pub but well worth reading though
A bit dry! And not as interesting as Three Sheets. Having said that I will get and read the third beer book he wrote
Katherine Simmons
Engaging style of writing covering the origins of the pub and how social drinking has evolved.
Nice diversion from a man who respects and yet still doesn't quite understand his subject.
Allyson Shaw
A conversational history of beer by my favourite beer writer.
Paul Gallear
As informative as it was entertaining.
Diana marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2015
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Aug 09, 2015
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There is more than one author with this name

Pete Brown is an English writer who has written extensively on the subject of beer and drinking cultures around the world. He has written three books; Man Walks Into a Pub, Three Sheets to the Wind, and Hops and Glory. Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and now lives in London.

Above bio is from Wikipedia. Photo is from Flickr user epicbeer.
More about Pete Brown...
Three Sheets to the Wind: One Man's Quest for the Meaning of Beer Hops and Glory: One Man's Search for the Beer That Built the British Empire Shakespeare's Pub: A Barstool History of London as Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub - The George Inn In praise of hot liquors: the study of chocolate, coffee and tea-drinking 1600-1850 : an exhibition atFairfax House, York 1st September to 20th November 1994

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“In ancient Babylon King Hammurabi (the same bloke who decided barmaids could be drowned for serving short measures) decreed that the introduction of political debate into beer shops was an offence punishable by – you guessed it – death.” 0 likes
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