Santa brought me some lovely gifts this year and one that I've been playing with ever since I received it is a hefty slab of a book called '1001 Beers you must try before you die'. It really is a cracking good read, so much so that my eyes and hands have been glued to it for the past fortnight.
It stretches to 960 pages, is meticulously researched, entertainingly written, and contains the beery selections of over 40 of the most respected beer minds out there. Among them, people whose beer opinions, judgements and tastes I trust and value. When you have contributors of the calibre as Zac Avery, Jeff Pickthall, Stan Hieronymus and Melissa Cole all pulled together by Adrian Tierney-Jones' skillful editing then you can expect that it will be a knowledgeable, eclectic and informative read.
I knew that I was in for an enjoyable ale experience of a read when I caught Tierney-Jones' passionate justification of the criteria for each beers inclusion in the book. He states -
"My team of writers and I have chosen these beers because they are superb examples of brewing craftmanship, are wonderful to taste, and will remind people time after time why beer is the best drink in the world: the drink that brings people together, inspires sociability, and quarries forth a whole new dimension of sensory contemplation. They have also been chosen because they represent the devotion, innovation, inspiration, and sheer joie de vivre that brewers bring to their beers."
The book is split into five beer categories - Amber, Blond, White, Dark and Specialty. Each individual beer entry has concise yet detailed tasting notes and information on the origin, style, production process and even ideal serving temperature. There is also brewery history notes and often entertaining and amusing anecdotes relating to the beer or brewery. The book is well illustrated with over 800 mouth watering pictures of lovely, refreshing beer.
The book is a comprehensive guide to some of the best beers around the world. As you would expect U.S. craft brewers, UK Breweries, Belgian, Czech and German beers are all very well represented but there are also beers from all over the world that highlight and underscore the universal appeal of the world's best beverage. There are beers from Egypt, Estonia, Indonesia, Israel and even the Palestinian Territories.
With a book of over a thousand beer entries there is inevitably going to be one or two entries that make you scratch your head and ask yourself "Why?". The inclusion of Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser and Morrissey Fox Brewery's Blonde made me do that but only two beers out of 1001 is very good going, I'd say.
This is a cracking book that has, for myself, become an indispensible and comprehensive guide to the tastiest and loveliest beers being made around the globe today. It has become my refreshment reference guide and one that I turn to not just to tease and tantalise my tastebuds but also to plan my future beer drinking.
It's more than a book about beer. It's 2011's Encyclopedia Beeranica.