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THE BEST BEER BOOKS OF 2018 – REVIEW BY DAVID HARRIS

Guild member David Harris has compiled his annual review of beer books, which he kindly shares with us.

Any comments/questions, please contact David on mydogisfinn@gmail.com

David writes: “It has been a good year for beer books with many new titles being published plus some revised and reprinted editions of older books. Several of the titles listed are by Beer Guild members.”

 

ESSAYS ABOUT BEER

20th Century Pub by Boak R & Bailey J. Homewood Press. £16.99.

This is a social history of the pub which starts by offering a definition of a pub as a “third” place which is neither home nor the workplace. The book is well researched and provides very enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in how pubs have developed.

Think Beer, Drink Beer by John Holl. Basic Books (USA) £18.99

John is one of America’s leading beer writers and was editor of All About Beer magazine for some years. This book is a series of long essays about the growth of craft beer in the USA, the importance of really appreciating beer, and the need for diversity in beer. Although written for an American audience, British beer lovers could learn much from John’s wise words.

The Pub Manifesto by James Dowdeswell. CAMRA. £12.99

This book marks quite a departure for CAMRA in that it is not a pub guide and not by an established beer writer. James is a comedian who grew up in a pub and whose stage act makes reference to the perfect pub. Quite a humorous book with many good observations about pubs and pub life.

 

HOME BREWING

The Perfect Pint by Andy Hamilton. Bantam. £12.99

This is an encyclopaedia of beer covering everything from beer tasting, brewing, beer styles, growing your own ingredients and so on. It is written by a very knowledgeable home brewer who really imparts his passion for the subject. A great gift for any home brewer. (Previously published in 2013 as Brewing Britain)

Beer Enthusiasts’ Manual by Tim Hampson. Haynes £14.99

This is a large format, illustrated book which is in four parts. Parts one, two and three cover the history of beer, beer styles and beer tasting. Part four is a practical guide to home brewing with a step to step guide and comprehensive fault finding tables. (first published 2013)

Brewdog: Craft Beer for the People by Taylor R, Watt J & Dickie M. Octopus. £20

Craft Beer for the People is part corporate history, part style guide and part brew your own Brewdog beer brewing guide. It is a well-illustrated book aimed at Brewdog’s legions of fans. This book has 20 pages of recipes for those who might want to try their hand at brewing a 15% Imperial Stout or an IPA.

 

COOKING WITH BEER

The Beer Kitchen by Melissa Cole. Hardie Grant. £20.

Melissa is an expert on beer and food matching. The book includes 70 recipes which involve beer, together with much useful information about tasting and the chemistry of beer .The section on the most useful pieces of kit to have in the kitchen and store cupboard essentials is well worth reading if you are a novice chef.

Beer and Food Matching by Mark Dredge. Dog ‘n’ Bone. £9.99

This book provides an in-depth study of beer and food pairing. There is a comprehensive style guide and a section on matching specific dishes. The final section of the book consists of 50 pages of his own recipes for cooking with beer. This is a well written book by a writer who clearly understands food as well as beer.

(first published in 2014 as Beer and Food)

 

PUB DIRECTORIES

Where to Drink Beer by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso. Phaidon. £16.99

This is a big, hardback directory listing 1,600 bars in 70 countries and is compiled by 500 brewers, publicans and beer writers from around the world. The UK gets 115 entries of which 35 are in London. Entries are quite basic, listing address, phone number and opening hours.

Good Pub Guide 2019 (37th ed.) by Fiona Stapley. Ebury. £15.99.

This guide book lists the top 5,000 pubs for food and drink in the UK. The guide is strong on country pubs and those with a good food offer.

Good Beer Guide (46th ed.) 2019. CAMRA. £15.99.

This annual guide lists the top 4,500 pubs in the UK for Real Ale. This is the first time for many years that the guide has not been edited by Roger Protz. The CAMRA editorial committee have done a good job in keeping up the high standards that Roger set. It also contains a full listing of the 1750 breweries in the UK.

 

BEER TRAVEL GUIDES

The Beer Bucket List by Mark Dredge. Dog ‘n’ Bone. £16.99

The book kicks off with 60 pages on North America. The UK warrants 40 pages and Europe gets 56 pages with the lion’s share going to Germany and Belgium. Australasia get a respectable 26 pages of coverage. Craft beer and global travel are both very popular activities for younger people and this well illustrated book will provide much inspiration.

CAMRA’S Good Beer Guide Belgium (8th ed.) by Joe Strange & Tim Webb. CAMRA £14.99

This book has brief chapters on the history of Belgium, travelling to Belgium, Belgian food, how beer is made and Belgian beer styles. There are listings over 240 Belgian breweries, their history and ratings for their beers. There is also a comprehensive roundup of all the main beer cafes in Belgium by province and town.

Belgian Beer Trails by Erik Verdonck. Lannoo (Belgium) £25.27

If you are planning a beer holiday to Belgium how can you maximize the time you spend there in sampling the local brews? A good starting point is Belgian Beer Trails which divides the country up into nine areas and lists the breweries in each location together with tourist information about the area. The book is beautifully illustrated and contains full contact details for 195 breweries and 12 beer museums. There are also suggestions for nearby cafes and bars where local beers can be sampled.

Will Travel for Beer by Stephen Beaumont. Octopus. £14.99

This profusely illustrated book is based on the author’s 27 years of global beer writing in which he takes us on a trip around the world focusing on beer festivals, bars and breweries rather than specific beers. The book may provide inspiration for those who are planning a gap year and want to fit in some craft beer destinations as well as the usual tourist attractions.

Atlas of Beer by Hoalst –Pullen N & Patterson MW. National Geographic. £25.

If you like reading the National Geographic magazine, then this atlas of beer may be of interest. The book is full of diagrams, facts and figures, maps and beautiful colour photos. The authors visited 400 breweries in 28 countries in order to produce this striking study of world beers.

World’s Best Beers by McFarland B & Sandham T. Jacqui Small. £25.

The authors regularly tour the UK with their Thinking Drinkers show. The format of the book is to have brief reviews of beers from as many different craft breweries as is possible. There are longer articles about key breweries. The main countries covered include: UK, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic and the USA.

Unusual Pubs, Refreshment Rooms and Ale Trains by Bob Barton. Halsgrove. £16.99. This is a book of interest to lovers of trains, railway buildings and pubs. The bulk of the book is taken up with a gazetteer describing 76 railway pubs and refreshment rooms across the country. The book is beautifully illustrated with pictures of the pubs and rooms. The author has personally visited all of the sites and this really comes through in his enthusiastic writing. (first published in 2013)

 

STYLE GUIDES

1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die by Adrian Tierney-Jones. Cassell. £20.

The beers are divided into sections: Amber, Blonde, White, Dark and Speciality with each beer getting a write-up on its history and background. It is a global selection of beers with not all being available in the UK. The book is well illustrated.

(revised ed. First published 2010 and 2013)

Craft Beer Dictionary by Richard Croasdale. Octopus. £15.

This book contains comprehensive definitions of around 230 terms that are commonly found in the world of beer. There are also 100 full page arty beer-themed illustrations. The book absolutely up-to-date and includes NEIPA (New England or NorthEast IPA) an unfiltered, hazy, fruity, aromatic style of IPA which was only recognized as a distinct style in mid-2017.

Craft Beer by Dominic Roskrow. Collins. £6.99

This is a pocket sized book with illustrated reviews of 120 different craft beers. The beers are listed in alphabetical order rather than by style or country which is the format adopted by most other writers. Dominic’s selection is quite heavily weighted in favour of British beers with over half the entries coming from the UK.

Pocket Guide to Beer by Joe Dick & Nikki Welch. Birlinn. £7.99.

This is another slim, pocket guide to help one understand the myriad of styles which comprise the world of craft beer. What makes this book somewhat different is that it groups beers onto a tube map style graphic. The idea is that the different beer styles are like stations on the underground and each line takes one on a journey of discovery through the various categories of beer found within a style group.

Bluffers Guide to Beer by Jonathan Goodall. Haynes. £6.99.

The Bluffers Guides give one a brief overview of a subject with a lot of humour thrown in. The book has the short chapters on the history of beer, how beer is made, serving beer and tasting. We then move on to a series of chapters about beer producing countries and their national beers. It is up-to-date, reasonably comprehensive and is amusing to read without the humour being forced upon the reader.

The Scratch and Sniff Guide to Beer by Justin Kennedy. Harper Design. £15.99.

This is a very stylish, well-illustrated, American guide to craft beer. This book includes 10 scratch and sniff stickers which relate to aromas found in craft beers including: hops, cloves, pine, grapefruit, gooseberry and so on. The book is a comprehensive style guide to the most popular craft beer types plus some information on hops, glassware, food and beer pairing.

Stuff Every Beer Snob Should Know by Emma Goldstein. Quirk Books (USA) £7.99

The concept of the beer snob has only recently arrived in UK. In the USA the craft beer revolution took off in the 1990’s and there is now a whole generation of American beer fans for whom beer is the new rock ‘n’ roll. This clear, concise guide is a treasury of beer information.

Pocket Beer Book (3rd Ed.) Beaumont S & Webb T. Octopus. £12.99.

This is a pocket sized round-up of beers from around the world. The listing is by country with the UK getting 20 breweries and 100 beers mentioned. There are over 2,000 beers mentioned, with each getting a brief review.

 

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