Beer book classic by Clive La Pensée

New release - e-book only. Not e-reader compatible. Print version soon.

The Historical Companion to House-Brewing


Clive La Pensée

History of Brewing – Historical Companion to House-Brewing. ‘One of the ten best ever beer books,' critics have said. 'Ideas wacky enough to last a lifetime of brewing,' another told me.

This book, not only got people brewing at home again, but inspired hobby brewers to turn professional. As such, it has contributed to the growth of micro-breweries in Europe and the US.

The author began his research, while working in Germany. The problem was, one couldn't in those days, get much other than Pilsner. ‘Brew your own, I told myself!’ But, in Germany, ingredients were unavailable for non-professional brewers and no books on the subject, because the breweries had achieved the monopoly that every business dreams of. Fortunately, Clive could get ingredients from GB, but that was only useful for yeast or the odd piece of equipment. Sacks of malt were impossible to send or carry. Then he had two strokes of luck. His wife found a monograph from the 19th century, on making malt at home, in a university library, and her aunt, a historian in the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen, found a bibliography of available brewing literature. The university library was able to source most of the historical literature and a traditional kitchen chore was reborn as a hobby. Brewing beer at home, using only best ingredients, growing hops in the garden, drying them in the loft and making malts, many of which were no longer available.

Writing the book turned out to be the easy bit. Clive gave up on publishers, with their preconceived ideas, and became the one of the early indie publishers, using the name Montag Publications - a nod at his illustrator, John Munday. John also realised a dream of a lifetime – to illustrate a book, without constraints. Hence, it looked before its time – OK. It is a history book and John reworked old diagrams of machinery and techniques. Now his diagrams, so timely in the 90s, look dated no and now it reflects history of brewing and history of publishing. Hopefully, one day it will be the history of history.

Finally, after years of successful print runs, sales throughout the world and a demanding beer-blog schedule, a publisher said, 'I want it!' They then sat on it for 10 years and did nothing.

I have all rights back and this e-book version is my first attempt at republishing the fully revised version. Gyles are in four formats for UK, European and US brewers, SGs have been revised after the printer’s worm managed to sabotage the original print runs. Let’s see if the beer brewing public are still thirsting for the knowledge.