ISBN: 1-84527-048-7, £5.50 116 pages, colour and B&W photos
I know this book was published in 2006 but it has only just found its way to the Brew Wales book reviewer. Books on Welsh drinks are few and far between, we have the excellent Prince of Ales by Brian Glover (published 1993) and the odd Farmhouse Brewing (1974, republished in Welsh 1983) and apart from the occasional company histories (Brains 1982 & 2007) and pub guides, books on drinks in Wales are not that easy to find. It was only by chance I found The Thirsty Dragon in a Cardiff bookshop when I was looking for another book! Sorry Doc I'll get round to buying Eagles Rising another time.
Lyn Ebenezer devotes a chapter of the book to a particular part of Welsh drinking; Mead, Monastic brewing, Cidermaking, Welsh Whisky and Wrexham all deservedly have chapters devoted to them but for some reason the entire 6 pages of Chapter 13 are given over to a hagiography of Simon Buckley, late of Buckleys, Ushers and Tomos Watkin Breweries but of more recent times, Evan Evans Brewery. Lyn Ebenezer was clearly taken in by the slimy charms of this former stockbroker as any serious journalistic research would have involved interviews with members of the Brains board and former Tomos Watkin board members in order to produce an accurate and balanced account of Simon Buckley's part in Welsh brewing history. Instead we have the various rants of the Clown Prince of Welsh Brewing blaming everyone else for failures of his businesses in the past. For an account of the opening of the Tomos Watkin brewery in Llansamlet click here. Chapter 13 also has a very amusing photo of Simon Buckley stood in front of pallets of empty casks. The reason why this photo is amusing is that recently Simon has been suspended from his membership of SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, for using other brewers casks without their permission. In fact one Evans Evan delivery occurred to a pub using 'borrowed' casks which came as a surprise to another brewer who was sat in the pub watching his casks being unloaded from the Evan Evans dray!
The rest of the brewers in Wales have to share the remaining 7 pages and a whole chapter to themselves. The author even gets the name of one award-winning North Wales brewery wrong, it's Purple Moose, not Pink Moose as in the book!
All in all this is a rather disappointing book, let down by the poor standards of research and writing, not to mention the amateurish photographs. I'm not sorry I bought it, but was left with the feeling that the author could have done better. Reminds me of a beer I may try once in a pub but is not that good so will avoid it in future.