Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Notes on a Beermat: Drinking and Why It's Necessary

Notes on a Beermat: Drinking and Why It’s Necessary

Author Nicholas Pashley’s original work of art was first published by Polar Bear Press back in 2001, but it wasn’t until July of 2006 that I discovered it in the dusty stacks of the Halifax public library. I ended up reading it, then checking it out again and again until I finally obtained not one, but two copies that Christmas. Signed by Pashley himself no less.

Since that time, I’ve moved to Toronto, met Pashley, and shared numerous pints and stories with the humorous, quick witted and delightful chap. The man is a firm believer in quality pubs and craft beer, and meshes the two great things together in his book, while throwing in the odd sarcastic snipe or sharp joke.

In keeping in touch with Pashley, I learned that a revised edition of Notes on a Beermat: Drinking and Why It’s Necessary was recently thrust upon us, just in time for our Christmas wish list. Armed with a fancy new cover that includes a new layout, graphics and new stories about some of our favourite pubs here in Toronto; 2008’s Notes on a Beermat scores another coup. Author Bill Bryson’s original foreword appears again and sets the tone for the entire story.

There are many beer books in circulation that focus on the business end of running or starting a brewery, and many on how to accentuate your food by adding beer to the table; but Pashley’s entertaining tales about pub life cater to anyone who enjoys supping a pint in the company and joy of others.

Creative chapter titles range from the Impossible Dream: Looking for the Perfect Pub, to Who Owns Your Pub, to one of my favourites in Play That Funky Music Barkeep. Chapter by chapter you’ll develop an appreciation for Pashley’s writing, in fact, he’ll make you feel as though your right there beside him tucked away in a cozy pub living in his passion. And that was his intended goal. When he shares his story about the famous Blue Jay pub crawl he iniaited many years ago, you’ll picture yourself as one of his drinking mates and cheer him on along the way.

For those of us situated in the Big Smoke, Pashley has included new stories on Volo’s Cask Days, going as far as naming Volo owner Ralph Morana the King of Cask for Toronto. Cass Enright and his Bar Towel website also get some page space as Pashley describes his views on the site. For those residing elsewhere in Canada, Pashley spins tales about trips to the west coast, the east coast and anywhere and everywhere in between.

This new and re-vised copy is everything the first one was and more, and it’s highly recommended that you add it to your own beer library. And why wouldn’t you? At $16.95it’s a bargain.

Keep an eye out here for further information about a reading that Pashley will perform sometime in November at Volo.

*Side note*
Mr. Pashley is one person I can look to if pointing blame at getting me involved in the beer writing business. Shortly after reading his original book for the third time, I decided to start a pub journal during my travels through Canada’s eastern provinces. And when I moved back to Ontario I started this blog.

1 comment:

Rumrunner said...

Just reading it now. It's an enjoyable read. Thanks for recommending it!.

I like the bottle of Koningshoeven behind the book. Good choice. I tried that one just a week ago and liked it.

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