I love reading and I have always done so. I am an excellent reader as I can comprehend pretty much anything in English regardless of subject or complexity and I will do it pretty quickly too. People are quite frequently amazed at how quickly I can accomplish reading anything and that I not only understand it but can reiterate what it said too. Now for a person so versed in the ways of the English language you think I would know all about the different ways and methods of learning to read etc but I’m always finding out new things about my abilities that I didn’t know before like the differences between intensive reading which is reading for quality and making sure that you know the meaning of each and every word that you come across and extensive reading. Extensive reading is for quantity and your skim reading an article to get the gist of it but you don’t fully understand the meaning that is contained in the sentences. Both kinds can be for pleasure although the former is more like the style I use and the latter is a more dyslexic style but is also useful in studying. I have found to help my learning style in Greek that I need to practice more extensive reading as its too difficult to intensively read at my current level. I’m not progressing as well as I would like which is disheartening considering the amount of time that I devote to my Greek studies. I have found a new source of reading material the Gutenberg website which was a previous issue as I couldn’t find anywhere to get any literature but there are lots out there. You just have to find out where its located as it’s not easily accessible if you don’t know what you are looking for. I would like to thank Steve Kaufmann for bringing this to my attention but also Kato Lomb as it was her that first advocated this approach of reading to acquire sufficient knowledge in a foreign language to be able to communicate in it.



It’s been a very long time since I have written on this. Too long in fact but a lot of progress has happened in my Greek language learning ability. I have recently undertaken the 3-month challenge that is espoused by Benny the Irish polyglot in his fluent in 3 months scheme. While I don’t think that is a realistic goal anymore then when I was jokingly challenged to become fluent in Greek in 2 weeks; I have improved tremendously and there is a lot more to learning a language than just being a walking dictionary which is my usual not particularly helpful approach. The most useful thing I have found is that LingQ have started doing Greek mini stories and this is good for me as I like reading and this is mainly how I pick things up. I like watching all of Steve Kaufmann’s videos about how he learns languages and his progress in the Greek language. Listening and reading are so very important in order to be able to understand the material that you come across because if you don’t have comprehension then you are not going to get anywhere. There is quite a lack of reading material online if you a) want something free and b) something that doesn’t cover dry boring topics like politics or the economy. If for example, I wanted to read a story book that wasn’t to teach children how to read, I have had to buy some books off Amazon. I choose the series that everyone uses but its difficult to find especially if you have no idea what you are looking for due to the fact they are Greek so don’t normally come up in search results.


Aspergers and language learning

Now on the face of it you would think that the two go together really well because really good memory, desire to learn, curiosity, appreciation of culture, history, word association and lots of time to devote to it plus the ability to search out all the resources that are free through the internet, print, audio etc. We might even devote sufficient time to write a book about acquiring these resources as languages are built upon other languages and if were really interested and go to a place frequently we can understand the need for permanent copies. The tricky thing is interacting with people and checking that what we have learned it correct. If your pronunciation is anything like mine its atrocious and I can’t even be understood in my own language let alone any other. This creates issues as how are you ever going to progress if all your doing is learning a language much like you did in school that consists of memorisation of words but no way of actually conversing with any one? How does one get over the innate shyness that is present with Aspergers and prevent yourself from becoming a laughing stock as you accidently said something extremely rude etc? This could be a common occurrence as there are words called false friends as they sound very similar but are completely different in meaning. Well I don’t know how to overcome this because while the safe subject to talk about after you have introduced yourself is the weather in the UK this doesn’t follow for most of the rest of the world. So do you talk about sports, politics, religion, current affairs? I tend to not really say anything which is really hampering my language development. I can order food, drink and ask base questions like what is your name, what time is it, where is ? but beyond that I’m a bit lost. My degree of comprehension varies depending on the language and I can read/understand a fair bit but talking forget about it. I’m just too shy which is very weird if you have ever heard me talk. I tend to be a bit extreme in details at times because the filtering process isn’t really there. Perhaps I should apply that approach to my own language lol. I guess it comes down to getting an interest in people’s lives so that I sufficiently relate to what there dealing with which is a difficulty in Aspergers becoming involved in the minutiae of daily social lives.

Eight per cent of British craft brewers have PhDs and other dubious statistics

Some fascinating facts about small (ish) British craft breweries. Tiny rebel and dark star among them that are mentioned and I’ve tasted.


I have a new book out, A Craft Beer Road Trip Around Britain, with snapshots of 40 of Britain’s top small breweries from Scotland to the South West. Don’t rush to try to buy it from Amazon/your favourite independent bookseller, however, because it’s only available via Beer 52, the craft beer club people, who are giving it away to people who sign up to their “case of beer a month” service. Putting it together was quite fun, but hard work: getting craft beer brewers to co-operate in supplying information about themselves and their beers turns out to be like trying to herd cats, and my deepest sympathy goes to anyone who has had to put together one of those 666 beer to try before you’re dragged off to Hell-style compilations.

Still, at the end I found I had ended up with a big enough stack of information…

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In which I give more badly written beer history a good kicking

Thanks for the corrections.


Why oh why am I still having to write lengthy corrections to articles about the history of India Pale Ale? Well, apparently because the Smithsonian magazine, the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution, is happy to print articles about the history of India Pale Ale without anybody doing any kind of fact-checking – and William Bostwick, beer critic for the Wall Street Journal, appears to be one of those writers who misinterpret, make stuff up and actively get their facts wrong.

The article Bostwick had published on earlier this week, “How the India Pale Ale Got Its Name”, is one of the worst I have ever read on the subject, crammed with at least 25 errors of fact and interpretation. It’s an excellent early contender for the Papazian Cup. I suppose I need to give you a link, so here it is, and below the…

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Joining the Classics Club

Joining the Classics Club.

This is an admirable list. I once had ambitions to read the classics until I found out how difficult they were actually to read. I have 1984 which is a book everyone should read and most do at school. I have also read Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, Brave New World and Clockwork Orange. On a lighter front I have read Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. I tried to read Jane Eyre but found it too sad and depressing. A Handmaids tale is another that I read but did not enjoy.