A taste of the Ridings

I've always felt an affinity for Yorkshire, it feels similar in part to my home county of Somerset but with friendlier, more down to Earth people. After being welcomed with open arms to Leeds for the beer bloggers conference last year and numerous trips to York, I find myself wishing I were living there. One of the Leodesians playing a significant role in the organisation was Leigh Linley (of The Good Stuff) who ably led a group of maybe 40 thirsty beer bloggers around town on the Thursday evening; so when I heard he was writing a book on Yorkshire beer I knew it would be a great read.

The book!
After receiving Great Yorkshire Beer I can say I certainly wasn't disappointed. It perfectly catches Leigh's personality that's shown so well on his blog by providing a whirlwind tour around some of the choicier movers and shakers in the Yorkshire brewing scene, interspersed with beer reviews, food recipes and other choice tidbits. I'll definitely have to try the beer battered mussels which sound like a perfect beer snack.

Its great to have a "book-shaped" book after most of my last book purchases have been abnormal sizes and shapes...they're OK for coffee table usage but not practical to take in hand luggage! I like the pump clip design for the front cover and wonder when Leigh is going to turn his hand to brewing ;).

For me its interesting to hear some more of the back story for breweries I know and love, plenty of familiar faces of people I've shared pints with in the past but also the chance to put a face to a name for some of the other breweries I love. Alongside these better known brewers are people that not even I have heard of, which I'll try to rectify ASAP! This book is very much about the stories behind the beers and breweries with the tasting notes as an aside.

Leeds Brewery's Hellfire
There are also plenty of fantastic pictures throughout, and the font is a sensible size for all of you whose eyes have become weary over the years.I think Leigh's doen a great job at picking a variety of breweries to showcase the region and I'm on the look out for the beers as we speak - though if you're looking for an exhaustive tick list, look elsewhere.

There are a few layout bits I would have done differently, not least having the brewer contact details at the start of their sections as it took me a while to find them! Also, I was surprised to not find twitter names alongside the more traditional addresses, given what Leigh said about the breweries' use of social media. Not even his own account or blog link is given! Would have been good to include at least the postcodes of the pubs mentioned as well.  I think all of these data plus some handy Google maps could be included on the Great Yorkshire Beer page of Leigh's blog which would add some great functionality and allow for periodic updates in the same vein of Des De Moor's London pub guide. A few of the beer pictures/ pumpclips don't match up with the tasting notes opposite, which may cause confusion particularly if you're reading after sampling a few Great Yorkshire Brews...
Would also have been nice to have a beer index and bibliography/ further reading section, though that's probably the inner list geek in me speaking!

Beer taps at Magic Rock, Huddersfield
Overall a fantastic book and I'd love to see more regional efforts cataloguing the rise and rise of local brewing, that's a challenge to you, dear reader to get out and chronicle your own counties! You can pick up the book for the reasonable price of £10 post paid on the publisher's website or if you're within travelling distance the fantastic York Tap is hosting a launch party next Thursday 30th (details here).

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