behind the book

Natalya’s journey from her aha moment to published author

Where did the idea for the book come from?

This journey began nearly two years ago. In May 2018, I had just passed my Beer Sommelier exam and, rather relentless in the pursuit of my passion to help people discover beer, I started thinking about what to do next.

In the summer of 2017, after qualifying as a Certified Cicerone® earlier that year, I started hosting beer tastings here in London. I learned so many fascinating stories and fun facts during my studies and wanted to share them with, well, anyone who would listen, really!

After hosting two tastings on the history of beer, one focused on how beer changed during the 19th century, then (by request – thank you, Alix Shaw!) a follow-up on the 20th century, I knew there was something there and began exploring ways to share these stories with an audience beyond my in-person tasting events.

Inspired by my brilliant friend, Jessica Elliot Dennison, chef and author of not one but two cookbooks (Salad Feasts and Tin Can Magic — go buy them, they’re wonderful), I thought, if Jess can pen a book about her passion, why don’t I try to do the same for mine?

And so began countless hours of research and proposal writing until my vision became clear: I was going to write a taster’s guide through the history of beer.

Thankfully Joanna Copestick, Publisher at Kyle Books, believed in my idea and, with the help of her team, brought this book to life. It was brilliantly edited by Isabel Gonzalez-Prendergast at Kyle Books and by freelance drinks writer and Beer Sommelier Anthony Gladman, and beautifully illustrated by Sarah Greeno. By the time it’s published in March 2020, it will have been nearly two years in the making(!), so I really can’t wait to share it with you all.

So what can you expect from the book?

This book tells the story of how we got to our present-day boom-time for beer. You’ll learn which beer styles emerged when and how different beer styles have influenced each other.

First, we break down beer’s four main ingredients – malt, water, hops and yeast – and the brewing process, so we’re all on the same page about the importance of each ingredient, along with when and how they’re used in the brew.

Then we do a quick skim of beer’s history, from ancient times to the Industrial Age, where our story picks up. We also briefly discuss how beer styles are defined and the style guidelines I’ve used throughout the book.

Instead of one long timeline, each chapter is focused on one of beer’s four main ingredients. Chapter by chapter, you’ll learn about modernization of malt, water, hops, and yeast, and the new beer styles that these changes created along the way.

Within every chapter are several short sections, little stepping-stones through beer history, each with a recommended beer to taste. You’ll find the beer and brewery name, the beer’s style, strength and a few flavour descriptors, then any relevant notes on why this particular beer or brewery was chosen to help bring that section’s story to life.

I’ve tried to recommend beers that best represent each style, while also working to make sure they’re not too difficult to find at your local supermarket, bottle shop, or online. There are a few that I recognize are quite regional, but in most cases they’re the best example of a certain beer style – as they’ve helped to create it. If you’re really struggling, give me a shout and we’ll find an alternative.

I’ve attempted to keep each section short and sippable, but if you’ve found a story or a flavour you’d like to learn more about, check out the recommended reading in the back. I’ve also included a dozen of my favourite places to visit that help bring these stories to life even better.

Ready to order your copy?

Depending on where you’re based, you can follow one of the links below:

UK (released on March 19th): Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones

US (released on April 28th): Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Or contact me directly to buy a signed copy!

Finally, a quick look at how we got here

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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