Pulp non-fiction

I’ve never felt any compulsion to collect them. In fact, in the past I’ve been more inclined to tear them apart as a way to do something with my hands while my mates took the more dangerous option of smoking.

But all the while I have taken note of the designs on them and admired the imagery that has subconsciously become part of my life down the pub. We’re talking beer mats. These bits of cardboard have been a mainstay of pubs during my lifetime regardless of what changes have befallen the public house. And there have certainly been many changes. But the humble beer mat has simply soaked it all up and retained its orderly place on the bar and pub table.

Anybody of a certain vintage who picks up a copy of Beer Stained Pulp (by Adam Kimberley), published by Unicorn Publishing, will be instantly transported back to glorious times in the pub. You’ll recognise certain beer mats illustrated in this high quality publication and recall the products and messaging they convey.

Seeing the Double Diamond mat immediately prompted me to hear those words ‘…works wonders’ while the Stones Best Bitter mat is always going to mean ‘…goes down great guns’ to me from my teenage years.

The book is rightly described as a massive hit of nostalgia, making you reminisce about nights down the pub, yearn for long gone breweries, recall weird and wonderful advertising campaigns and commemorate moments in British culture.

The beer mats included in Beer Stained Pulp reflect only part of the collection of Kimberley, which begs the question – when is volume two going to be heading off the printing presses. Nostalgia demands it.

Glynn Davis, editor, Beer Insider