If you don’t know who Pete Brown is, you should. Named the “Beer Writer of the Year” in 2009 by the British Guild of Beer Writers*, Brown writes from a deep well of beerly knowledge with his trademark effortless, engaging prose. Even if you have little experience with the traditional British beer and real ale that he predominantly writes about, his talents as an author and storyteller make him a must-read. He’s written three full-length books thus far with his best being the brilliant Hops and Glory in which Brown actually sails from Burton-on-Trent, England (home of Bass Ale) to India with a barrel of IPA in order to retrace the historical journey of the ubiquitous and much-loved beer style. Of course, if you’d prefer not to plunk down cash on a book, you can always follow his blog for free at petebrown.blogspot.com. But before you make his far superior blog your homepage instead of Aleheads.com, remember that Brown’s not an American and therefore he hates our freedom and our football and our Krispy Kreme milkshakes.
*Why don’t we have an American Guild of Beer Writers? Or guilds in general for that matter?
One of my favorite recent aspects of the Pete Brown Experience has been his development of a monthly series of video blogs with Peter Amor, founder of the Wye Valley Brewery in Herefordshire. I love everything about these videos. I love learning about breweries and beers I’ve never heard of in tiny corners of the UK. I love how Brown seems uncomfortable in front of the camera until he has a few pints in him and then turns into a seasoned pro. I love that he worries about repeating himself when doing the video tasting notes (don’t worry, Pete…there are only so many ways you can really describe hop-flavored, fermented sugar-water). And I LOVE that his cohort, Peter Amor (who funded this project out of his own pocket), might be the most British man on Earth. He’s curmudgeonly, fond of wearing bowties and silly hats, and rants endlessly about the damn government interfering with his damn drinking. After watching this series of videos, Peter Amor immediately rose to the top of my list of “people I’d like to have a session with at a pub”.
Earlier this month, Brown wrote an op-ed piece in the Publican’s Morning Advertiser (Note: I have no idea what this is…British magazines have silly names) decrying the lack of interest in the vlog series. There seemed to be zero support for the videos from any British periodicals or industry insiders. Brown and Amor were even met with indifference if not outright scorn by CAMRA (Britain’s “CAMpaign for Real Ale” which is loved and hated in equal measures by British Aleheads). This is a shame. The videos are well produced, well executed, and full of great tidbits about British beer and British beer culture.
I realize that Aleheads focuses almost exclusively on the American craft beer movement, but I won’t sit idly by while a resource like Brown and Amor’s vlogs go unwatched. I know our small corner of the blogosphere probably won’t crash Brown’s servers with traffic, but if even a few dozen of our loyal readers check out these wonderful videos, I’ll be happy. So if you have a few minutes over the next few days and weeks, click on this link, scroll through a year’s worth of excellent vlogs, and bask in Pete Brown’s beer knowledge and Peter Amor’s unparalleled Britishness. Cheerio!